Emma Watson - The Belle of the Ball
The Belle of the Ball
A far cry from the bushy haired, precocious young girl we were introduced to some 16 years ago, Emma Watson has quite literally transformed into the Belle of the ball with her latest blockbuster film Beauty and the Beast causing a stir around the world.
The live action re-make of Disney’s 1991 classic fairytale, hit our screens in spring with Emma Watson slipping into that iconic yellow ball gown to master the role of the beautiful Belle.
Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast – the independent, intellectual and kind Belle uncovers the inner beauty of an ugly beast. Equally everyone thinks they know the story of Emma Watson – the talented child star who was cast into the limelight in one of the biggest and greatest film franchises of all time, Harry Potter.
Born on 15 April 1990 in Paris to English lawyers Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, Emma found her love of acting when she and her parents moved back across the channel to leafy Oxfordshire in 1995, where, outside of school, she enrolled at the prestigious Stagecoach Theatre Arts.
Emma was just nine years old when her confidence and natural talent cast a spell over the Philosopher’s Stone director, Chris Columbus, and won her the role of Hermione Granger, the know-it-all classmate of Harry Potter.
Starring in all eight films from The Philosopher’s Stone in 2001 to the Deathly Hallows Part Two in 2011, audiences watched Emma grow into the natural beauty she is today.
With Potter-mania at its peak, as the film franchise came to an end in 2011, making a total of some $8 billion at the worldwide box-office, everyone was ready for more of Emma and eager to see what direction her career would take.
In an interview with The Telegraph in 2011 Emma explained how, although she has now stepped out of the witch’s perfectly polished school shoes, she will always reserve a place for Hermione in her heart, “I think of her like a sister, she feels so real to me […] I will actually just miss being her.”
Like many child stars before her, Emma’s immense fame could have pushed her off the rails, however she has always had her feet firmly on the ground. Prioritising her education has always been of ultimate importance. In fact, in 2009 she announced that she was crossing the pond to attend the prestigious Ivy League, Brown University to study English Literature.
With her face on the side of buses and her name known all over the world, she knew it would be hard for people to take this venture seriously, but instead of giving it a try and then closing the door on it, which many have done before her, she pursued it to the end. Speaking of her first day, Emma said, ‘’I walked into the canteen and everyone went completely silent and turned around to look at me […] I had to say to myself, ‘It’s OK, you can do this. You just have to take a deep breath and gather your courage’”
In 2014 she donned her cap and gown and proudly graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree. The degree took her five years to complete due to her filming the Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2, The Bling Ring, Noah, where she appeared alongside Russell Crowe, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Casting her in 2011’s Perks of Being a Wallflower, acclaimed director Stephen Chbosky was sold on Emma playing the leading role of Sam before casting even began, “with Emma I just knew she was right. I knew in my gut, and that’s before we even met her […] I knew how much longing she had to break out of the Hermione part, and to show herself more than anyone else had allowed her.”
The film was a great success and allowed Emma to showcase her new style which included a new pixie cut hairstyle – quite the opposite of Hermione’s thick locks. In an interview with Metro UK Emma mused about the change in hairstyle, “I didn’t get to experiment with dyeing and chopping off my hair like most teenagers […] I also felt, right, I’m 20, I’m not a little girl any more. I’d been on Harry Potter for ten years so I needed to mark the end of it in some way. I needed a drastic change and that’s what the crop was all about.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower also saw her win a number of awards including the ‘MTV Trailblazer Award’ at the MTV Movie Awards, A Teen Choice Award for ‘Actress Drama’ and ‘Favourite Drama Movie Actress’ at the People’s Choice Awards.
With many great films already under her belt and fresh out of her studies, Emma was free and ready to embark on a more profound challenge. Having been an advocate for equality and involved with the promotion of girls’ education for many years, in 2014 Emma revealed that she was involved in the UN Women’s feminism campaign, HeForShe.
HeForShe is a solidarity movement which was initiated in September 2014 by UN Women – a year which also saw Emma become appointed their Global Goodwill Ambassador – and seeks to engage men and boys to become advocates of change and encourage them to take action against the inequality women and girls face on a daily basis around the world.
To mark the launch of the one-of-a-kind HeForShe campaign, Emma delivered an extremely captivating and awe-inspiring speech about gender equality in front of the United Nations, where she addressed the UN Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, Executive Director of UN Women and many other distinguished guests.
Emma’s speech detailed the moments in her life where she started to become more aware of gender inequality, “I started questioning gender-based assumptions a long time ago. When at eight I was confused at being called ‘bossy’ because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents, but the boys were not. When at 14 I started to be sexualised by certain elements of the media. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear muscly. When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings I decided that I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me.”
Growing in confidence on the political stage, Emma had discovered who she wanted to be, the things she wanted to stand for and the way she wanted to present herself through her style. Her sense of style has come from the passion to dress for herself, not for anyone else, and her drive for fashion has certainly seen a transition throughout the years.
With a keen eye for timeless elegance, Emma has been involved, on more than one level, in the fashion industry. She has claimed numerous fashion awards including ‘Best British Style’ at the British Fashion Awards and was presented with the ‘Style Icon’ award from British Elle. “I’m not sure I deserve it really, but I’ll take it. It’s such an honour” she said after, in February 2017, she was named ‘Woman of the Year’ at the Elle Style Awards.
As well as partnering and modelling with the illustrious fashion house, Burberry, several times, Emma has graced the covers of some of the most renowned publications in the world including Teen Vogue – for whom she was the youngest star to feature on the cover – Vogue, Marie Claire, Attitude, Elle, Vanity Fair and Emirates Women.
Emma has now come full circle in the film industry venturing back into blockbuster hits once again with her role in Beauty and the Beast. The film was this year’s most highly anticipated and made over $900 million worldwide. In many ways, the release of Beauty and the Beast completes Emma’s on-screen journey, from precocious child-star to on-screen Belle of the Ball.
2017 – The Circle – Mae Holland
2015 – Colonia – Lena
2015 – Regression – Angela Gray
2015 – Colonia – Lena
2014 – The Voice in My Head – Emma Forrest
2014 – Noah – Ila
2013 – The Bling Ring – Nicki
2012 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Sam
2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PART TWO
2011 – My Week With Marilyn – Lucy
2010 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PART ONE
2009 – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
2008 – The Tale of Despereaux – Princess Pea
2007 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2007 – Ballet Shoes – Pauline Fossil
2005 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2004 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2002 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2001 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Hermione Granger