While we fall in love with the characters many actors portray on-screen, there aren’t many who are as confident, outspoken and inspiring off-screen as Emma Watson.
She’s been in the spotlight for nearly two decades, since she won our hearts as the feisty, fearless and fiercely intelligent Hermione Granger. Since then, she’s also managed to get a degree from Brown University, work as a sustainable fashion designer, and campaign for global women’s rights in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador – and she’s also campaigned for trans rights and environmentalism.
So yeah, Emma Watson is pretty much awesome – and a fantastic feminist hero and role model. Here are some of her finest moments.
1. When she chooses film characters that are strong and admirable
From her Belle in the live-action Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast to her upcoming role as Meg in Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig, Emma Watson actively seeks out strong female characters to play – and interesting films with female directors. “Young girls are told you have to be the delicate princess. Hermione taught them that you can be the warrior,” she has said.
2. When she hides feminist books on the Tube
3. Every time she shows us she’s passionate about the environment – and ethical fashion
Emma Watson practices what she preaches. She’s been outspoken about the environment and uses her red carpet appearances to promote sustainable style, from wearing sustainable Calvin Klein to the Met Gala in 2016 to eco-fashion collaborations with brands like People Tree and her capsule collection for Alberta Ferretti, Pure Threads by Emma Watson Alberta Ferretti.
She also created an Instagram account dedicated to her environmentally-friendly fashion choices for the promotional tour of Beauty and the Beast, titled The Press Tour.
4. When she changed everything with her UN speech on feminism to launch the HeforShe campaign in 2014
“The more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
After her moving speech, she reminded us that she is a real person (which made us like her even more):
“I was so terrified before my speech at the UN that I had to be scraped off the floor,” she admitted.
5. When she wrote this open letter in 2018 in the magazine Porter
Emma Watson is also an outspoken reproductive rights advocate and she penned a moving open letter to 31-year-old Indian-born dentist Savita Halappanavar, who tragically died because of an incomplete miscarriage under Ireland’s strict abortion laws and was the catalyst for the country’s referendum, which led to the Eighth Amendment’s repeal in May 2018.
“Time and again, when our local and global communities collectively mourn a tragic death due to social injustice, we pay tribute, mobilise and proclaim: rest in power. A promise to the departed and a rallying call to society, we chant: never again,” Watson wrote.
“But it is rare that justice truly prevails for those whose deaths come to symbolise structural inequality. Rarer still is a historic feminist victory that emboldens the fight for reproductive justice everywhere.”
6. When she won MTV’s first gender-neutral acting award
In 2017, Emma Watson won the award for best actor in a movie for her portrayal of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and used the opportunity to thank non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon, who presented Watson with the award, for “educating me in such an inclusive, patient and loving way.”
7. When she stands up for trans people
Emma Watson proved she’s an activist for everyone when she posted a pic of herself on social media wearing a “Trans Rights Are Human Rights” T-shirt, a move that had trans kids sending her drawings thanking her for her support.
READ MORE: 14 of our favourite girl power anthems
8. When she pays tribute to amazing women in history
For International Women’s Day in 2017, Emma Watson decided to be a “ninja book fairy,” dropping books at monuments that honoured famous women in NYC, like the Harriet Tubman and Joan of Arc memorials, Eleanor Roosevelt monument and Gertrude Stein statue .
9. Also, she might just be the next world leader
“I want to be a Renaissance Woman. I want to paint, and I want to write, and I want to act, and I just want to do everything,” Emma Watson said. We’re confident that she will.