Emma Watson: “I’m shy, I’m sensitive and I’m self-critical”


CB was going to cover this a few days ago, but she didn’t get to it. Sorry you have to read about Emma Watson from me! For a change, because I get the feeling that some of you Emma-loonies are two seconds away from tracking me down and forcing me to watch all of the Harry Potter films, Clockwork Orange-style, I’m going to TRY to be nicer to Emma. You know what’s weird? I’m honestly not trying to piss you off, and I honestly don’t DISLIKE Emma. I’m just a little disappointed in her and I think her fans build her up to something she’s not, likely based out of affection for a beloved character rather than the reality of who Emma is. I keep hearing “she’s a normal girl, doing what every 21 year old would do” – to which I’d like to make three points: one, isn’t that the excuse Linnocent has always made? Two, isn’t Emma’s whole deal that she’s better than normal? That she’s smarter, more competent, more of a good girl, and simply greater than “normal”? Three, if she’s aiming for normal, why did she ditch school to party and model? Emma tries to answer that last one, but I still don’t really “get” her answer.

Anyway, please-don’t-come-to-my-house, Emma was profiled in last weekend’s Sunday Times. I covered some early excerpts from the piece earlier this week – go here for a recap. The full piece was transcribed by Emma’s fansite, and you can read the whole thing here. I’m just going to do highlights:

Why she left Brown University: “I was in denial,” she says. “I wanted to pretend I wasn’t as famous as I was. I was trying to seek out normality, but I kind of have to accept who I am, the position I’m in and what happened.” You mean Potter? “Yeah,” she replies, “but I feel more comfortable with the fame now. It used to make me really uncomfortable. It’s interesting. My dad’s always giving me a hard time about my posture. The way I used to stand, it was almost as if I was apologising to everyone. I wanted to hide myself, but now — it’s difficult, I still feel shy, but I feel more like I can accept it… Sometimes I think I am the worst person to be in the position I’m in. I’m shy, I’m sensitive and I’m self-critical. It’s a terrible combination.” She pauses for emphasis. “But those qualities also make me want to be better.”

On receiving criticism upon leaving Brown: [Emma] is the definition of propriety, so when offers flooded in while she was at uni, she realised it would be a mistake not to maximise on her moment. Hence the decision to take time out. She says she’ll be back to her studies in the autumn, although she won’t confirm where. It hasn’t been a universally admired move. She says someone had a go at her the other day for accepting the advertising gig if her aim was nobly to sidestep public life. But she has made her peace with it. “I said, ‘Do you honestly think that me doing a Lancôme campaign is going to make me any less or more famous than doing Harry Potter?’ I have to accept Harry Potter is the biggest film franchise of all time. I have to just roll with it.”

On child stars: I tell her child stars always seem both overly mature and emotionally stunted. “That’s such an interesting observation,” she nods. “I absolutely agree with you. I’m this very weird mix. In some senses, I feel as if I’m 100 years old. In others, I still feel incredibly young, very naive, and as if I haven’t seen much of the world at all. I’ve been incredibly protected, but in other ways I’ve had to be in situations that nobody my age would, to deal with pressure that nobody my age should usually deal with,” she says. Did you grow up fast because of work? “I was lucky — I matured very early because of my parents’ divorce,” she says. “I had to grow up more quickly than I would have done. I’m the eldest of seven [five half-siblings and a brother, Alex, who is three years younger], and I felt that really brought me up.”

Emma sets the record straight about the claims she was “bullied” at Brown: “It made me so sad when all this stuff came out that I left Brown because I was being bullied. It made no sense at all. Brown has been the opposite. I’ve never even been asked for an autograph on campus. I threw a party for nearly 100 students and not a single person put a photo on Facebook.” She rolls her eyes. “Anyway, even if I was being given a hard time, I wasn’t going to wuss out of university because someone said ‘Wingardium leviosa’ to me in a corridor, or ‘Ten points for Gryffindor’. I’ve been dealing with the media since I was nine. If I can’t stand up to a few people giving me a hard time, it’s a bit pathetic, really. I’ve had so much worse.”

More on the Fame Wall (it should be a Lady Gaga album): “No,” she says, giggling. “I say to my friends, ‘Why hasn’t X called me? Why doesn’t anyone ever pursue me?’ They’re like, ‘Probably because they’re intimidated.’ It must be the fame wall,” she muses. “It must be the circus that goes around me. Me, as a person, I find it hard to believe I would be intimidating.” What would a man have to do to woo you? “Oh, gosh! Be brave,” she cries. Have you ever had a ridiculous chat-up line? “So, so many. I constantly get stuff like, do I have a magic wand I can sort things out with? Or guys come up to me and go, ‘Where’s Harry? Where’s Ron?’ Sometimes, maybe because they feel intimidated, they feel they have to knock me down. They know perfectly well who I am, but they’ll ask me, ‘How are the Narnia films going?’” Pause. “I’m single at the minute.”

The end of Potter: “It feels so scary stepping out of Potter, it really does,” she says, with the last film out in July. “But people have been so kind. Lancôme saying I’m the icon of a generation, Glamour saying I’m the best dressed… I just hope I can be everything that everyone wants me to be, I guess. But I’m really not pretending to be anything other than someone who got very, very lucky.”

[From The Sunday Times UK, via Emma’s fansite]

I’ll just note what I liked/appreciated: I liked the part about the stupid pickup lines dudes use with her. I mean, that’s kind of sad and my heart broke for her a little bit. I also liked that she totally rejected the stories about being bullied at Brown. Well done on that count. I also feel like… I understand how Emma is in a really weird head space right now. She’s stuck in her own head, speaking her own kind of hyper-self-aware gibberish about fame and shyness and maturity. I do think she’s trying to find her way in the world, and she’s experimenting with career options and education and “the fame wall” and all of that. I don’t begrudge her that journey, nor do I admire the fact that she has to do it all in the public sphere. I really hope she keeps her head on straight.

(Shout-out to EbonyShiksa, who requested this story on Twitter! Ebony thinks Emma has realized that going to school “isn’t as much fan as being a movie star and Emma is worried that things will “pass her by” if she sticks with college.)

By the way, here’s the first promotional image of Emma in character for The Perks of Being a Wallflower:




Photos courtesy of Fame & Pacific Coast News.

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24 Responses to “Emma Watson: “I’m shy, I’m sensitive and I’m self-critical””

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  1. Liana says:

    “when offers flooded in while she was at uni, she realised it would be a mistake not to maximise on her moment.”

    She’s an actress and a largely untested one who grew up with a franchise role. She is right to strike while the iron is hot because it will never be this hot again.

  2. Quest says:

    @ Kaiser -”Emma-loonies…tracking me down and forcing me to watch all of the Harry Potter films”

    LMAO – I hope you clutch onto your pearls really hard when they do.

  3. Wilz says:

    I really can’t find anything to dislike about her. She seemed so genuine and warm in her interview. It doesn’t bother me one bit that she’s taking some time off from school.

  4. Theuth says:

    It sounds like she’s still not sure about what doing with her life: I wouldn’t colpevolise her much because hey, how many young people (myself for first) felt like they don’t have any idea about their future? She grew inside a huge franchise who keeps her covered from many things in the entertainment world – and she was smart enough to not throwing away this occasion. Now that everything is over, she don’t really know if she wants to continue her movie career (and, considering she doesn’t have any talent in acting, it must be hard) and accept its compromises, or going on with a life she doesn’t really lived (because she’s a child star and I don’t think she had real experience in school or any) and everyone who will probably keep saying her why she did that.
    She has the money and a solid head on her shoulders (till now), hope she’s doing this for the right reason. I don’t see her becoming a Jodie Foster, but she’s definitively NOT a Lohan.

  5. Funnylilou75 says:

    so far from the snotty me-me-me little thing I actually met a month ago in Paris, looking around if anybody had recognise her dull face ( was a Fan no longer… and she is not cute in person let alone pretty!)

  6. Whatever says:

    one, isn’t that the excuse Linnocent has always made?

    NO! Emma’s girlie parts haven’t graced my television (thank God) and she isn’t falling down drunk, driving drunk and endangering anyone, taking jewerly, and she isn’t a cracked out mess like Lohan. Her directors have had nothing but praise for her, unlike Lohan with public letters about her unprofessional drugged out behavior on set. Putting off school doesn’t = crackhead. Sounds like the normal college party thing, but no more.

    Two, isn’t Emma’s whole deal that she’s better than normal? That she’s smarter, more competent, more of a good girl, and simply greater than “normal”?

    I don’t get that at all from her interviews. I read it the exact opposite. She’s shy and self critical like most girls that age, not projecting a better than anyone attitude, or at least I don’t see it.

    Three, if she’s aiming for normal, why did she ditch school to party and model?

    She is taking the opportunities as they come. I don’t blame her for that at all. Why not? She’s smart and I think she’ll go back to school. From what I read about her when she was younger, it seemed that her parents tried to shield her from a lot of the tabloid stuff, but when she came here for college, things changed a lot and she had to adjust to her new normal. She’s really young and she’s still figuring it all out, but she’s no Lohan!

    I love Emma, but not a loonie for anyone, but LMAO and I now have an image of a bunch of girls dressed in Hogwarts robes showing up at the front door demanding justice for Emma!

  7. AL says:

    I remember reading that she was far from being the best in her acting class at Brown… Kind of sums everything up.

  8. normades says:

    Nathalie Portman stayed in school while filming Star Wars. Emma could have kept a balance between her professional life and studies and the fact tjat she just ditches her studies for Lancôme makes me think she is just as vapid as the next.

    If she were smart she would have pulled an Anne Hathaway. Get an education and come back when people will accept you better as an adult actor.

  9. Mae says:

    I’m an Emma-loonie and I love Emma! So i have to say the “three points” you made Kaiser don’t really make sense to me

  10. Madisyn says:

    @Liana just took the words right out of my mouth. “Strike while the iron is hot”. With her money, if the acting thing doesn’t pan out, she could live in luxury, and then return for an education. Remember, this is not a typical 21 year old who needs an education if the acting thing doesn’t work out. She has enough dough to last a lifetime and can return to college anytime.

  11. Rachel() says:

    I like her and think she’s being smart in postponing. Not for Lancome, but for the Perks of Being a Wallflower. That’s gonna be pretty big. It’s a good book and I’ve had TONS of ppl recommend it to me and buy it from where I work. If she is doing more projects like that, it’s worth putting school off a bit. I’m 21 and love school, but I’m sure I would put it off if I had the opportunities and money she does. I just hope she goes back at some point!

  12. rissa says:

    i was on your doorstep.. headed home now. totally joking :)

  13. Lizzy says:

    @Kaiser – I don’t really think you are mean to her, I think it has to do with you sounding a bit elitist about college in general. It just seemed that she somehow was vapid, not smart, not well-rounded etc. and would never be, because she chose to leave. It was as if only college grads were worthy, and everyone else was just not. It was probably not what you were intending to sound like, but at least to me that is what it sounded like.

  14. serena says:

    I get it.
    She just ended the Harry Potter franchise, after..what, 10 years? Yeah, she’s in a difficult position right now. She doesn’t know what to do in the future and has fear chances might slip if she’s stuck at the university. I totally get it, and fell for her.
    I hope she continues to study and make good movies. She’s too good to be a party-girl ex-actress.

  15. artichoke says:

    i love her to death, simply adore this child…..but she sounded a little catty to me. maybe i’m just reading too much into it.

  16. TC says:

    Emma and “perks” co-star Johnny Simmons are definitely hooking up. They have been seen obvious dating (sitting with legs intertwined at a bar) and she was photographed kissing him outside her hotel in LA for the MTV Movie Awards.
    He also went with her to the awards but made a point to sit three seats away from her and walk far enough away to not get photographed by her. Emma has all her boyfriends walk keeping a distance so it does not look like they are together. Google Emma Watson and Johnny Simmons snogging and you will find the photos.

  17. Okay, that image from Perks of Being a Wallflower is really adorable- I’m an Emma lover, and I guess I’ll cancel coming over to your house… but I really don’t get why she’s “disappointed” you so much. Lots of people switch colleges, take pauses in between semesters, etc. Why that means she’s going to end up in rehab, avoiding prison time for swiping expensive necklaces and whatever else.


  18. TL says:

    I dont buy anything this girl says. She says fame hurts her dating life and then goes she was in denial about her fame. She pulling our leg. She’s done it on so many things. Her beauty and self created and media hyped and fan obsessed blinds us to this. She’s milked the hermione personality comparison thing for way too long. All you had to do is follow what she does and says from the media and its always the opposite. Her head has got too big but of course you and I are in the minority.


  19. pekk says:

    Natalie portman went in college and still has a career, same with jodie Foster. So Emma could have done that if education really mattered for her. She just likes the fame more than she wants to admit. I don’t feel sorry for her and i don’t think she is talented either.

  20. Mike says:

    She is obviously lying. i dont think she will end up like lohan because thats an extreme example, i really believe emma doesnt do any drugs and i would be suprised if she would do it in the future.

    but that does not mean that she is the girl she pretends to be.

    crying that dating is so hard because she is so famous and guys are so intimidated by her…and then hooking up after two weeks with Johnny Simmons (where are the reports about that btw??)

    or her fair trade joke. she was interested in it for about a year now she dropped it completly.

    she certainly isnt shy, no problem talking to people, no problem being in the spotlight, no problem hooking up with various guys around the world and so on.

    oh and what i also dont like is celebs constantly complaining.
    emma had good a-levels and doesnt need acting to earn money, she has got enough. if everything is soo bad, then just stop. or admit that you love the fame and attention. but then dont come crying on my door.

  21. Knotstu says:

    Yes,ar’n't we all misunderstood ?