Emma Watson, 23: ‘I’ve never been in a terrible rush to be seen as a woman’

I was all prepared to dislike Emma Watson’s W Magazine pictorial (photographs by Michael Thompson), but I actually think it works. Emma’s styled as an old-school screen siren, and while I would be rolling my eyes if the magazine tried to make her look like Marilyn Monroe, they succeeded in making her look sort of like Barbara Stanwyck or Jennifer Jones (two criminally underrated stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era). Anyway, Emma is promoting The Bling Ring (which she’s currently promoting in Cannes), and you can read her full W Mag piece here. Some highlights (this is most of the interview):

W: What is the first movie you remember seeing?
EW: Pretty Woman. I was 7, which was way, way too young. That was when I started loving Julia Roberts and American movies. As a child, I loved being onstage. I loved singing, I loved the lights, I loved the adrenaline. I even loved learning lines. I was completely obsessive. A friend of my mother’s found a tape of me auditioning for Hermione. I wanted to get really, really good at my lines. There was reel after reel, take after take, of me doing the same thing over and over again.

Did you ever feel the pressure of having to be a shining example to young girls worldwide?
I was always a very serious child. I remember being 13 and girls in my class saying, “So-and-so is going to kiss so-and-so on the school fields.” I said, “That’s stupid. They’re too young for it to matter—he doesn’t love her, and that’s just a waste of time.” It’s amazing that I had any friends! [Laughs] So I was the right child to get cast: I loved the responsibility.

Did you have your first kiss on camera?
Thankfully, no. I’ve always been fascinated by Elizabeth Taylor, and I had read that her first kiss happened on a film set, which actually made me a little sad. You need to have normal experiences of your own. I’ve never wanted to grow up too fast: I wanted to wear a sports bra until I was 22! The allure of being sexy never really held any excitement for me. I’ve never been in a terrible rush to be seen as a woman.

And yet, in The Bling Ring, you are a little bit of a bad girl.
With Nicki, I was really taking on a character. Some of her lines are so crazy and absurd—making sure she wasn’t a parody was a challenge.

Did her outfits help you get into character?
Who wouldn’t love to go to work in Uggs and very low-slung tracksuit bottoms? The iconic detail of Nicki is her tramp stamp. It’s a lotus flower, a Buddhist-like symbol just above her butt crack. Really classy! [Laughs] And at one point I told the costume designer, “You can see my bra strap in this top; shouldn’t we pin it?” And she said, “No, sweetie—Nicki is all about her bra strap showing.” I was like, Right, okay, different mind-set.

When did you realize you were famous?
I lived in denial for as long as I possibly could. Until the age of 18, I would take the Oxford Tube, which is a public bus. Then it got to the point where the fact that I was on the bus would spread from one end to the other. I’d think, Why am I doing this to myself? Ignoring fame was my rebellion, in a funny way. I was insistent on being normal and doing normal things. It probably wasn’t advisable to go to college in America and room with a complete stranger. And it probably wasn’t wise to share a bathroom with eight other people in a coed dorm. Looking back, that was crazy.

I’m surprised you chose to come to America.
I’ve always loved America. When we came here with Harry Potter, everyone was so warm. Eventually, all of my friends were American, and I think that’s why I was attracted to playing Americans, even extreme ones like Nicki. When I’m presented with a character, I think, Hmmm…I have not had this experience. I don’t really know what this would be like. I’ll have the experience through the character.

Do you have a Hollywood crush?
My cinematic crush has been pretty much the same since I was 12: Kevin Costner. I met him in an elevator the other day, and I couldn’t even speak. He said hello, because he is lovely like that, and I couldn’t say anything back.

Kevin Costner is so American.
Of course! Kevin Costner is forever. And America too!

[From W Magazine]

I think it’s sweet that she’s so enamored with America and American films. I feel like there are so many British and European actors like that, actors who dream of coming to Hollywood to work in big Hollywood movies.

I do wonder about this statement though – “I’ve never wanted to grow up too fast: I wanted to wear a sports bra until I was 22! The allure of being sexy never really held any excitement for me. I’ve never been in a terrible rush to be seen as a woman.” Do normal 23-year-olds speak like that? I think teenagers – teenage girls in particular – are always in a rush to be seen as older, to be considered women rather than girls. But maybe things have changed since I was a teenager. Sigh. Emma makes me feel like an old fart.

Photos courtesy of W Magazine.

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44 Responses to “Emma Watson, 23: ‘I’ve never been in a terrible rush to be seen as a woman’”

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  1. Lucy says:

    I’m sure part of the reason is because she grew up relatively fast in front of all the cameras

  2. Karen says:

    I hated that attention as a teenager; guys looking down my shirt and all that. I’m in my late 20s and still feel awkward dressing sexy in public. I didn’t get my teenage friends who waved when strangers honked their horns (“only if they were cute” – as far as they could see from a moving vehicle). I was also very shy around people. Not every teenager wants to be seen as a sexy adult, although I’d say most want to be treated like an adult in some way.

    • Chrissy says:

      I was similar to you and am still (since I’m close to Emma’s age). I think it all really depends on your personality and conception of “sexy”. Sexy can be sexy without skin etc.

    • Naye in VA says:

      I agree. I never understood wanting to be thought older than you are. Age comes with so much responsibility. I keep telling my kid brother, adulthood is a trap. now that I look a little bit older I get much older guys that hit on me and I have to remember that Im 23 and they arent old pervs. Im officially “bait” lol.

    • littlestar says:

      Me too, so I completely understand what Emma means when she said she wanted to wait as long as possible to become a “woman”. I remember when I was 15, my best friend at the time kept pressuring me to lose my virginity because she already had and she thought it made her cool and womanly. All I could think was, but you lost your virginity to some guy who treats you like crap in the backseat of his car! Lol. So glad I waited 7 years :O). I think that if you don’t rush growing up, you actually LEARN from your experiences.

      Emma is one smart cookie and I really really like her after reading this interview. It seems like she has a good head on her shoulders.

    • Amanda says:

      I really like her, much more now. I always felt that same way, and I still do, so it’s nice to know an actress is opening up about it.

  3. Ari says:

    I hate even considering dressing in a manner that will attract male attention when I am out because its annoying as hell lol I do go all out though when I am hanging with my girls I dont know why that is LOOOOL guess female attention is way more interesting to me than male…who knows anyway she looks FANTASTIC in this photo shoot and finally at home with a look for once

  4. A ninny mouse says:

    Hey Kaiser. I turned twenty a few months ago (I actually had to check to make sure I wasn’t still 19!) I know that the sentiment of not wanting to be seen as an adult woman is common among my friends. It’s a lot of responsibility, especially in terms of how you present yourself. I think this type of thinking is more common among “nerdy” people (that you don’t want to have to present yourself as ‘sexy’, poised and adult), and I think that Emma does have certain aspects of that in her personality.

  5. BW says:

    She looks fantastic in this vintage look.

  6. paola says:

    I can totally see her blushing in the elevetor struggling to find the right word to say to Kevin Costner! She’s adorable..

    I never wanted to grow up too, i always wanted to be a tomboy, never growing up and be a kid forever.. first time i had my period i cried buckets. I knew it was the end of an era.

  7. V4Real says:

    She has a very innocent young face. She’s strikes me as the type that’s going to age very well. By the time she is 40 she still might look 30. She has that Lucy Liu fountain of youth working for her.

  8. Rhea says:

    Whoaaa!! She looks different here. I like it. She looks classy and…hmmmm…like a grown up?? :D

    I always think she has a baby face which makes her seems younger than her age.

  9. MonicaQ says:

    Oh hell no. I’m 27 and I still wear sports bras and XL t-shirts in my off time and I’m married. I have to put all this damn effort in looking nice for work with make up and hair and blah. Hence I just shaved all my hair off. Same way in HS–I was a tomboy then and I’m a tomboy now and ironically, my husband likes it. Why, I don’t know but I’ll take it!

  10. Marty says:

    This is an amazing editorial. The black and white picture is stunning.

  11. Troubadour says:

    I can’t believe she’s 23 already seems like only yesterday she was a child. Man am I getting old!

  12. Sabrine says:

    Great photos. This look really suits her.

  13. booboocita says:

    I’ve always thought her looks would have been right in place in the 1960s. NOT the drugged-out, faux-Indian, fringe-y, bead-y hippie 60s, but the mod, gamine, Mary Quant, Twiggy, go-go boots and little round hat 60s. She’s that cute. And the above pics are stunning.

  14. Emma13 says:

    I hate that magazine covers keep saying “All grown up!” they’ve been doing that since she turned 18.

    I love that she wasn’t in a rush to be seen as a sexy woman, unlike Selena, Miley, LiLo, Brit, Vanessa, etc. I was the same way. Still am really. I’m 22 turning 23 this year and while I like to be seen as sexy to my bf, I don’t really care if others see me that way. The one thing growing up that I was most excited for was getting to wear the pretty lacy underwear and sexy dresses. I took my time getting there and I didn’t start wearing it when I was 15-16 like many others. Also, when I say sexy for the dresses I mean it in an elegant “wow she looks gorgeous” type of way not a “i’d hit it” way. I’ve always liked Emma as a role model and I hope she continues on this same path.

    • blaize says:

      Yeah but I’ve always felt that Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus, and others have gotten too much undeserved criticism for wanting to experiment with sexier looks and natural human eroticism. They are, after all, young women and not little girls, so they have the right to wear whatever they want and should be able to exercise that right LIBERALLY without it ever being painted as some kind of ‘tragedy’. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take things slow but I also don’t think it’s fair to shame them for wanting to play with that Marilyn Monroe eroticism or Madonna rebelliousness. I say to each her own.

  15. EmmaStoneWannabe says:

    So cute about her Kevin Costner fascination. She comes across as so down to earth here, very likeable. Also, interesting bit about her intrigue of America and American films. I think Americans feel the same way about British culture…Ex: we don’t have royalty here, which is why we are so caught up on Will and Kate. Kinda reminds me of the Hugh Grant speech in ‘Love Actually,’ “The land of Harry Potter…David Beckham’s right foot..David Beckham’s left foot.” lol

  16. Lauren says:

    Doesn’t really have much to do with the article…

    I always feel a bit dumb for saying this but I have such an emotional attachment to all things Harry Potter. I remember being in a special class for reading and writing comprehension as a child and when the the first book was released my teacher used to read a chapter to our class every day. I remember it was really what helped build up my fascination for stories/ reading/ writing in general. I developed a confidence and a goal to set in hearing the first novel. I pushed myself so I could be at a level where I could one day read them without ease.

    When the movies came out I always was all sentimental towards them. I noticed that all my friends were too and we talked about it and realized that since we were all the exact same age as Emma Watson we felt like we were growing up with the main cast and stuff (very corny I know lol).

    But anyways I think Emma Watson and the whole cast from Harry Potter are just lovely/ level headed people. I only wish her the best of success in the future as well as everyone else (Rupert/ Daniel/Tom etc.) from the franchise.

    I understand what Emma says completely when she says she never wanted to grow up too quickly. I felt the same in terms of my body image. Dressing sexy/ trying to be sexy in general has never worked for me. And it really is taking time to figure out just what sort of woman I should be/ what is acceptable to others as well as myself. Right now I just don’t have the body type to pull off anything that is sexy since I lack the bust/hips/curves etc and am a little too lanky/ skinny for my liking. I am the same age as Emma and as I look back on my teenage years I am now seeing what a waste it was trying to project a particular image you are not yet ready for. I think her message is very important to girls about trying to your own authentic selves and to let things fall into place naturally.

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      I feel the same way about Harry Potter. I’m exactly the same age as Daniel Radcliffe so I was always about the same age as Harry and his friends when I read the books for the first time and when the movies first premiered. My early teenage years would be unbereable if I didn’t find the perfect getaway from reality in those books. In my imagination, Hogwarts was my home. I was one of the writers on a very popular (in my country) HP site. I used to know every news connected to the HP world and my english got ten times better because I had to translate tons of interviews with the HP actors. I quit because I was getting too old for this but I’m still nostalgic for all things Harry Potter. I’m 24 now and I still feel this nice warmth inside when I see anything related to Daniel, Emma, Rupert or Tom Felton. It helps that all of them, especially Daniel and Tom, seem like the nicest people you could ever meet.

  17. RobN says:

    I find it weirdly endearing that Kevin Costner is her celebrity crush.

  18. Anna says:

    “I think teenagers – teenage girls in particular – are always in a rush to be seen as older” –

    NO. No, no. No no no. I cried every birthday after my 10th because I hated growing up. I wanted to stay a little kid forever, and go everywhere with my mom. I had no interest in boys till at least 16-17.

    To me growing up was ALL about the responsibility – little sister, getting superior grades, getting into college, getting a career. On the one hand for me it was a bit environment-driven (total chaos of post-USSR Russia) but at the same time my sister declared at 3 years old that she ‘cannot wait to grow up and be a real woman!’

    So yes, I can totally see Emma internalizing the responsibility of carrying a beloved character and a massive franchise. She seems very self-aware and intellectual, a perfectionist. For someone who was never a kid, becoming ‘more’ grown up doesnt have a lot of appeal.

    And yeah, love Ems (and Hermione) forever!

    • Erinn says:

      I’m turning 23 on the 25th of this month. I dread this crap. Every year. I know I’m young, and I know I have a lot of life ahead of me. But the only time I wanted to be a year older was to be 19 so I could go out with my friends instead of hanging around the dorm. I’ve already got some super fun arthritis, so old age is not something I’m looking forward too in advanced.

      And a lot of my friends really wanted to act, and dress older than they were. I never really jumped on that band wagon.

      And I agree. Emma/Hermoine forever.

    • the original liv says:

      I remember when I turned 10 (it wasn’t that kong ago), I was sad because I thought to myself, I’ll never be single digit again and how I didn’t want to be old. Sure there are some birthdays to look forward to 16 (getiting your liscence) and 21 (being able to drink – legally), but really after 21, I don’t even want to acknowledge any birthdays. There’s really no milestones after that. I was also a very serious child (but also silly) and responsible child, who didn’t want to grow – and still doesn’t want to grow up. Blame it on being a part of the Peter Pan generation. It’s funny because, growing up all the adults told me that being an adult sucks and not to grow up too fast – you have your whole life to be an adult.

  19. bettyrose says:

    I never really appreciated how lucky some of us were to be in our teens/twenties during the grunge years. Jeans/flannels/untamed hair. It was the best.

    Edited to add: babydoll dresses & docs when you wanted to feel playful. Those were the days.

  20. serena says:

    Love the photos.
    I like her in interviews, she’s so smart and classy, and sometimes I can relate to what she says, she’s and old soul and we both love Kevin Costner..I would have had her same reaction, if not worse LOL. Sigh..he’s really handsome even now.

  21. blaize says:

    I’m 20. My thoughts about being an adult are mixed. On the one hand I love my new independence, but on the other hand there are some things about being a kid and a teen that I miss. Sometimes I feel like the grown woman that I am, but in other ways I know I’m still immature.

    As far as sexiness goes, my tastes have always varied. There were some times as a teen when I just wanted to wear jeans and a sweatshirt, and there were other times when I was definitely in the mood to wear something sexy. I’m still like that. I’ve always felt that fashion should be fun, experimenting with different looks is cool, and a person should be free to wear whatever they were in the mood to wear.

  22. Nymeria says:

    You’re 23. You’re not even a woman yet. You have plenty of time to mature into the woman you want to be.

  23. Bread and Circuses says:

    OMG, that second photo! With the black dress and mesh gloves!

    I am flaily-flailing at how great she looks in that one.

  24. Niki says:

    I imagine the comment about not wanting to be seen as grown up/woman has more to do with the fact that most hollywood actresses that transition from a young “family friendly” career do so in the sluttiest/”edgiest” way they can.
    People who notice that she’s getting older may have it in the back of their heads “what kind of nude scenes is she going to be doing to show us she’s ‘all grown up?’”