Few understand the pressures of growing up in the spotlight quite like Emma Watson, who burst onto the scene as a 9-year-old Hermione in 2001, and has been a tabloid fixation ever since. For Interview magazine’s new cover story, Watson had a candid conversation with fellow actress Jessica Chastain, about the intense responsibilities of being one of the most famous women on the planet.
“When people call me a role model it puts the fear of God into me,” Watson said, “because I feel like I’m destined to fail.” In day and age when the mystery of celebrity has all but disappeared thanks to our culture of oversharing, Watson understands the importance of separating her real life from her work life, and her crusade to keep her private life private has been especially important to her.
“When I step into a character, people have to be able to suspend their disbelief; they have to be able to divorce me from that girl. And not having everyone know every single intimate detail of my entire life is part of me trying to protect my ability to do my job well,” she explains.
"No one likes feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable and weak. But I really have found that it’s in those moments that there’s a kind of magic." @emmawatson talks to @jessicachastain for our May cover 📸 @therealpeterlindbergh. Styling @essvahn. Hair @odilegilbert_official. Makeup @stephane_marais_official. Manicure @anatolerainey. Set design #jeanhughesdechatillon. Cc @fabienbaron #thecircle @beautyandthebeast
Watson’s fraught relationship with her own privacy is especially relevant as her new movie The Circle inches towards its Friday release. In it, Watson plays a new employee at a Google-style tech firm run by a visionary who looks and talks just like Tom Hanks (that’s because he’s played by Tom Hanks). When she’s asked to take part in a new project that bends the rules of privacy and ethics, she must make a decision that could change everything.
Watson said that working on the film made her look at social media with even more skepticism. “I set even more boundaries than I had before between my public and my private lives. It made me think a lot about what I would do if I had children,“ she said. "I love social media, and I love what it can do and how it brings people together, but used in the wrong way, it’s incredibly dangerous, We need to make sure that we are using technology, and technology is not using us.”
"I’m aware that I’m kind of a paradox, and at times a bit ill-suited to my profession. But there’s something that brings me back. There’s something in me that feels like … this is what I’m meant to be doing." @emmawatson to @jessicachastain 📸 @therealpeterlindbergh. Styling @essvahn. Hair @odilegilbert_official. Makeup @stephane_marais_official. Set design #jeanhughesdechatillon. Cc @fabienbaron #TheCircle
In real life, Watson’s personal choices might not alter the course of humanity, but they’re crucial in shaping who she is, and more importantly, who she’s becoming. “Sometimes the fear of doing things is overwhelming. I get incredibly overwhelmed, and sometimes feel hemmed in by that, afraid of that,” she added. “But I know that if I live in that fear, then my life as an artist, as a human being, really, is over. Ultimately, it will silence me, and it will silence what is in me — which I have yet to explore and uncover.”