Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is an English actress, model, and activist. Born in Paris and raised in Oxfordshire, Watson attended the Dragon School and trained as an actress at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts. As a child, she rose to prominence with her first professional acting role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, having acted only in school plays previously.
Watson also starred in the 2007 television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and lent her voice to The Tale of Despereaux . After the last Harry Potter film, she took on starring and supporting roles in My Week with Marilyn , The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring , made an appearance as an exaggerated version of herself in This Is the End , and played the title character's adopted daughter in Noah . She went on to star as Belle in the 2017 musical romantic fantasy Beauty and the Beast, and Meg March in the coming-of-age drama Little Women , the latter of which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Her other film roles include Regression, Colonia , and The Circle .
From 2011 to 2014, Watson split her time between working on films and continuing her education, graduating from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in English literature in May 2014. Her modelling work has included campaigns for Burberry and Lancôme. She also lent her name to a line of clothing for People Tree. She was honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2014, winning British Artist of the Year. In that same year, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which advocates for gender equality.
Early life and education Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born on 15 April 1990 in Paris, France, to English lawyers Chris Watson and Jacqueline Luesby. Watson lived in Maisons-Laffitte near Paris until the age of five. Her parents divorced when she was young, and Watson moved to England to live with her mother in Oxfordshire while spending weekends at her father's house in London. Watson has said she speaks some French, though 'not as well' as she used to. After moving to Oxford with her mother and brother, she attended the Dragon School, remaining there until 2003. From the age of six, she wanted to become an actress, and trained at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts, a part-time theatre school where she studied singing, dancing, and acting.
By the age of ten, Watson had performed in Stagecoach productions and school plays including Arthur: The Young Years and The Happy Prince, but she had never acted professionally prior to the Harry Potter series. After the Dragon School, Watson moved on to Headington School, Oxford. While on film sets, she and her castmates were tutored for up to five hours a day. In June 2006, she took GCSE school examinations in ten subjects, achieving eight A* and two A grades. In May 2007, she took AS levels in English, Geography, Art, and History of Art. The following year, she dropped History of Art to pursue the three A levels, receiving an A grade in each subject.
Watson took a gap year after leaving school, to film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows beginning in February 2009, but said she intended to continue her studies and later confirmed that she had chosen Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In March 2011, after 18 months at the university, Watson announced that she was deferring her course for 'a semester or two', though she attended Worcester College, Oxford during the 2011–12 academic year as part of the Visiting Student Programme.
In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Watson said just before graduation that it took five years to finish instead of four because, owing to her acting work, she 'ended up taking two full semesters off'. On 25 May 2014, she graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in English literature. In 2013, she became certified to teach yoga and meditation. As part of this certification, she attended a week-long meditation course at a Canadian facility, in which residents are not allowed to speak, in order 'to figure out how to be at home with myself'. In an interview with Elle Australia, she said that an uncertain future meant finding 'a way to always feel safe and at home within myself. Because I can never rely on a physical place.'
Career 1999–2003: Beginnings and breakthrough An image of hand and feet impressions in a tile of concrete. Handprints, shoe-prints and wand prints of Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 2007 In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the film adaptation of British author J. K. Rowling's best-selling novel. Casting agents found Watson through her Oxford theatre teacher, and producers were impressed by her confidence. After eight auditions, producer David Heyman told Watson and fellow applicants Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint that they had been cast in the roles of the school friends Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, respectively. Rowling supported Watson from her first screen test.
The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2001 was Watson's debut screen performance. The film broke records for opening-day sales and opening-weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. Critics praised the performances of the three leads, often singling out Watson for particular acclaim; The Daily Telegraph called her performance 'admirable', and IGN said she 'stole the sho'w. Watson was nominated for five awards for her performance in Philosopher's Stone, winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress.
A year later, Watson again starred as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second instalment of the series. Reviewers praised the lead actors' performances. The Los Angeles Times said Watson and her co-stars had matured between films, while The Times criticised director Chris Columbus for 'under-employing' Watson's hugely popular character. Watson received an Otto Award from the German magazine Bravo for her performance.
2004–2011: Harry Potter and worldwide recognition Watson at the premiere of Goblet of Fire in November 2005 Watson at the premiere of Goblet of Fire in November 2005 In 2004, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released. Watson was appreciative of the more assertive role Hermione played, describing it as 'charismatic' and 'a fantastic role to pla'y. Although critics derided Radcliffe's performance, labelling him 'wooden', they lauded Watson's; A. O. Scott of The New York Times remarked: 'Luckily Mr. Radcliffe's blandness is offset by Ms. Watson's spiky impatience. Harry may show off his expanding wizardly skills ... but Hermione ... earns the loudest applause with a decidedly unmagical punch to Draco Malfoy's deserving nose.' Although Prisoner of Azkaban proved to be the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film in the entire series, Watson's personal performance won her two Otto Awards and the Child Performance of the Year award from Total Film.
With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , both Watson and the Harry Potter film series reached new milestones. The film set records for a Harry Potter opening weekend, a non-May opening weekend in the US, and an opening weekend in the UK. Critics praised the increasing maturity of Watson and her teenage co-stars; The New York Times called her performance 'touchingly earnest'. For Watson, much of the humour of the film sprang from the tension among the three lead characters as they matured. She said, 'I loved all the arguing. ... I think it's much more realistic that they would argue and that there would be problems.' Nominated for three awards for Goblet of Fire, Watson won a bronze Otto Award. Later that year, Watson became the youngest person to appear on the cover of Teen Vogue, an appearance she reprised in August 2009. In 2006, Watson played Hermione in The Queen's Handbag, a special mini-episode of Harry Potter in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday.
Watson at the premiere of Half-Blood Prince in July 2009 Watson at the premiere of Half-Blood Prince in July 2009 The fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was released in 2007. A huge financial success, the film set a record worldwide opening-weekend gross of $332.7 million. Watson won the inaugural National Movie Award for Best Female Performance. As the fame of the actress and the series continued, Watson and her Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint left imprints of their hands, feet and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on 9 July 2007. That month, Watson's work on the Harry Potter series was said to have earned her more than £10 million, and she acknowledged she would never have to work for money again.
Following the success of Order of the Phoenix, the future of the Harry Potter franchise was in jeopardy, as all three lead actors were hesitant to sign on to continue their roles for the final two episodes. Radcliffe eventually signed for the final films on 2 March 2007, but Watson was considerably more hesitant. She explained that the decision was significant, as the films represented a further four-year commitment to the role, but eventually conceded that she 'could never let Hermione go', signing for the role on 23 March 2007.
Watson's first non-Potter role was the 2007 BBC film Ballet Shoes, an adaptation of the novel of the same title by Noel Streatfeild. The film's director, Sandra Goldbacher, commented that Watson was 'perfect' for the starring role of aspiring actress Pauline Fossil: 'She has a piercing, delicate aura that makes you want to gaze and gaze at her.' Ballet Shoes was broadcast in the UK on Boxing Day to 5.7 million viewers, to mixed reviews. The following year, she voiced the character Princess Pea in the animation The Tale of Despereaux, a children's comedy starring Matthew Broderick, with Harry Potter co-star Robbie Coltrane also starring in the film. The Tale of Despereaux was released in December 2008 and grossed $87 million worldwide.
Watson with Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint at the London premiere of Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in July 2011 Watson with Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint at the premiere of Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in July 2011 Principal photography for the sixth Harry Potter film began in late 2007, with Watson's part being filmed from 18 December to 17 May 2008. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince premiered on 15 July 2009, having been delayed from November 2008. With the lead actors in their late teens, critics were increasingly willing to review them on the same level as the rest of the franchise's all-star cast, which the Los Angeles Times described as 'a comprehensive guide to contemporary UK acting'. The Washington Post felt Watson had given ' most charming performance to date', while The Daily Telegraph described the lead actors as 'newly liberated and energised, eager to give all they have to what's left of the series'. In December 2008, Watson stated she wanted to go to university after completing the Potter series. In March 2009, she was ranked sixth on the Forbes list of 'Most Valuable Young Stars' and in February 2010, she was named as Hollywood's highest-paid female star, having earned an estimated £19 million in 2009.
Watson's filming for the final instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, began on 18 February 2009 and ended on 12 June 2010. For financial and scripting reasons, the original book was divided into two films which were shot consecutively. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was released in November 2010 while the second film was released in July 2011. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 became a commercial and critical success. The highest-grossing film in the franchise, it grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide and proved to be Watson's most commercially successful film to date.
She also appeared in a music video for One Night Only, after meeting lead singer George Craig at the 2010 Winter/Summer Burberry advertising campaign. The video, Say You Don't Want It, was screened on Channel 4 on 26 June 2010 and released on 16 August. In her first post-Harry Potter film, Watson appeared in 2011's My Week with Marilyn as Lucy, a wardrobe assistant who is flirted with by the main character, Colin Clark, and has a few dates with him.
2012–present Watson at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Watson at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival In May 2010, Watson was reported to be in talks to star in Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the 1999 novel of the same name. Filming began in summer of 2011, and the film was released in September 2012. Watson starred as Sam, a high school senior who befriends a fellow student called Charlie , and helps him through his freshman year. The film opened to favourable reviews; David Sexton of the Evening Standard opined that Watson's performance was 'plausible and touching'.
In The Bling Ring , Watson starred as Nicki. The film is based on the real-life Bling Ring robberies, with Watson playing a fictionalised version of Alexis Neiers, a television personality who was one of seven teenagers involved in the robberies. While the film mostly received mixed reviews, critics gave almost unanimous praise for Watson's performance. Watson also had a supporting role in the apocalyptic comedy This Is the End , in which she, Seth Rogen, James Franco and many others played 'exaggerated versions of themselves' and Watson memorably dropped the 'f-bomb'. She said she could not pass up the opportunity to make her first comedy and 'work with some of the best comedians ... in the world right no'w.
In June 2012, Watson was confirmed for the role as Ila in Darren Aronofsky's Noah, which began filming the following month, and was released in March 2014. In March 2013, it was reported that Watson was in negotiations to star as the title character in a live-action Disney adaptation of Cinderella. Kenneth Branagh was attached to direct the adaptation, while Cate Blanchett had reportedly agreed to play the evil stepmother. Watson was offered the role, but turned it down because she did not connect with the character. The role ultimately went to Lily James. In October 2013, Watson was chosen as the Woman of the Year by British GQ. In that same month, she was one of two British actors to land atop a readers' poll of the sexiest movie stars of 2013, beating Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence for the actresses' title in an online poll of more than 50,000 film fans. Benedict Cumberbatch took the men's vote.
Watson at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Watson at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Watson joined Judi Dench, Robert Downey Jr., Mike Leigh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Mark Ruffalo as recipients of the 2014 Britannia Awards, presented on 30 October in Los Angeles. Watson was awarded British Artist of the Year and she dedicated the prize to Millie, her pet hamster who died as Watson was filming Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Watson starred in two 2015 releases, the thrillers Colonia, opposite Daniel Brühl and Michael Nyqvist; and Regression by Alejandro Amenábar, alongside Ethan Hawke and her Harry Potter co-star David Thewlis. Both of these films received generally negative reviews; The Daily Telegraph critic blamed Regression's script for her 'pure dramatic cardboard' role. She also appeared in an episode of The Vicar of Dibley, in which she played Reverend Iris. In February 2016, Watson announced she was taking a year-long break from acting. She planned to spend the time on her 'personal development' and her women's rights work.
Watson starred as Belle in the 2017 live-action Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast directed by Bill Condon, and starring opposite Dan Stevens as the Beast. The film earned over $1.2 billion at the box office and emerged as the second-highest-grossing film of 2017, behind only Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the 14th-highest-grossing film of all time. Her reported fee was $3 million upfront with profit participation, bringing her total salary up to $15 million. The film garnered positive reviews; Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times thought her performance was 'all pluck and spunk and sass and smarts and fierce independence as Belle'. Later that year, she starred opposite Tom Hanks in the film adaptation of Dave Eggers' novel The Circle, playing Mae Holland, a young tech worker who takes a job at a powerful Internet corporation, only to find herself in a perilous situation concerning privacy, surveillance and freedom.
In 2019, Watson starred as Meg March in Greta Gerwig's Academy Award-nominated adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women, co-starring with Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep.
Other ventures Modelling and fashion Watson in 2004 Watson in 2004 In 2005, Watson began her modelling career with a photo shoot for Teen Vogue, which made her the youngest person ever to feature on its cover. Three years later, the British press reported that Watson was to replace Keira Knightley as the face of the fashion house Chanel, but this was denied by both parties. In June 2009, following several months of rumours, Watson confirmed that she would be partnering with Burberry as the face of their Autumn/Winter 2009 campaign, for which she received an estimated six-figure fee. She also appeared in Burberry's 2010 Spring/Summer campaign alongside her brother Alex, musicians George Craig and Matt Gilmour, and model Max Hurd. In February 2011, Watson was awarded the Style Icon award from British Elle by Dame Vivienne Westwood. Watson continued her involvement in fashion advertising when she announced she had been chosen as the face of Lancôme in March 2011.
In September 2009, Watson announced her involvement with People Tree, a fair trade fashion brand. Watson worked as a creative adviser for the company to create a spring line of clothing, which was released in February 2010; the range featured styles inspired by southern France and London. The collection, described by The Times as 'very clever' despite their 'quiet hope that would become tangled at the first hemp-woven hurdle', was widely publicised in magazines such as Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and People. Watson, who was not paid for the collaboration, admitted that competition for the range was minimal, but argued that 'Fashion is a great way to empower people and give them skills; rather than give cash to charity you can help people by buying the clothes they make and supporting things they take pride in'; adding, 'I think young people like me are becoming increasingly aware of the humanitarian issues surrounding fast fashion and want to make good choices but there aren't many options out there.' Watson continued her involvement with People Tree, resulting in the release of a 2010 Autumn/Winter collection.
In 2013, Madame Tussauds in London unveiled a wax statue of Watson draped in an Elie Saab haute couture design donated to the museum by the designer; Nicole Fenner stated, ' is one of the most requested personalities by our guests. She's a true English rose known and loved by millions of film and fashion fans around the world'. Watson was awarded Best British Style at the 2014 British Fashion Awards. The competition included David Beckham, Amal Clooney, Kate Moss, and Keira Knightley.
In June 2020, Watson was appointed to the board of directors of Kering, the owner of various fashion brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Watson will chair Kering's sustainability committee. Kering boss François-Henri Pinault praised the new board members' 'knowledge and competences, and the multiplicity of their backgrounds and perspectives'.
Activism Watson identifies as a feminist. She has promoted education for girls, travelling to Bangladesh and Zambia to do so. In July 2014, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill ambassador. That September, an admittedly nervous Watson delivered an address at UN Headquarters in New York City to launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which urges men to advocate for gender equality. In that speech she said she began questioning gender-based assumptions at age eight when she was called 'boss'y whilst boys were not, and at 14 when she was 'sexualised by certain elements of the media'. Watson's speech also described feminism as 'the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities' and declared that the perception of 'man-hating' is something that 'has to stop'. Watson later said she received threats within less than twelve hours of making the speech, which left her 'raging. ... If they were trying to put me off , it did the opposite'. In 2015, Malala Yousafzai told Watson she decided to call herself a feminist after hearing Watson's speech.
Also in September, Watson made her first country visit as a UN Women Goodwill ambassador to Uruguay where she gave a speech highlighting the need for women's political participation. In December, the Ms. Foundation for Women named Watson its Feminist Celebrity of 2014, following an online poll. Watson also gave a speech about gender equality in January 2015, at the World Economic Forum's annual winter meeting.
Watson took the top spot on the AskMen 'Top 99 Outstanding Women 2015' list on the strength of having 'thrown her back' into women's rights issues. In the same year, Watson was included on the Time 100 list of the world's most influential people, her first-ever appearance on the list. For its recap, former New York Times editor Jill Abramson noted Watson's 'gutsy, smart take on feminism' and called her effort to get men involved 'refreshing'.
In January 2016, Watson started a feminist Goodreads book club: Our Shared Shelf. The goal of the club is to share feminist ideas and encourage discussion on the topic. One book is selected per month and is discussed in the last week of that month. The first book to be selected was My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, whom Watson would later interview that February at the How to: Academy in London.
In March 2017, Watson received backlash over a Vanity Fair photo shoot in which one of the shots had her breasts partly visible; some in the news media accused her of hypocrisy. Responding to the controversy, a 'stunned' and 'confused' Watson argued that 'feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women' but is instead about freedom, liberation and equality, adding, 'I really don't know what my tits have to do with it.' In July 2019, she helped launch a legal helpline for people who have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. Legal advice is provided by Rights of Women, a charity which works to help women through the law.
Personal life Watson is single, which she described in 2019 with the self-coined phrase 'self-partnered'. While promoting Noah, Watson was questioned about her faith, and she described herself as a spiritual Universalist.
In February 2016, Watson was appointed visiting fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. Marai Larasi, an activist on the issue of violence against women, was her guest to the 75th Golden Globe Awards in 2018.
Filmography See also: List of awards and nominations received by Emma Watson Film Year Title Role Notes 2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Hermione Granger 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 2008 The Tale of Despereaux Princess Pea Voice 2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Hermione Granger 2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 My Week with Marilyn Lucy 2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower Samantha 'Sam' Button 2013 The Bling Ring Nicki Moore This Is the End Herself 2014 Noah Ila 2015 Colonia Lena Regression Angela Gray 2017 Beauty and the Beast Belle The Circle Mae Holland 2019 Little Women Margaret 'Meg' March