Emma Watson: From Harry Potter Starlet to Feminine Activist & Style Icon

Any fellow bookworms or Harry Potter fans out there? This one is for you. I grew up reading both the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. While I will admit that Lord of the Rings has left more of an impact on my life, Harry Potter has been influential nevertheless. Both film franchises dominated my childhood. I grew up, and admired, Hermione Granger, a character JK Rowling notes was most like herself at that age. The same way I admired the character Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings franchise. Or Mulan, or Pocahontas. Or another fictional heroine in book or film.

In 2014, Emma Watson had the honor of interviewing J.K. Rowling, the author of the hugely successful Harry Potter books on her character Hermione, on her [the character’s] relationship to Harry and Ron, and more for Wonderland, now Hypable. J.K. Rowling notes, “I mean that the intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware, girl is rarely the heroine and I really wanted her to be the heroine. She is part of me, although she is not wholly me. I think that is how I might have appeared to people when I was younger, but that is not really how I was inside.” To some degree, I feel like I connected with Hermione most. Honestly, I still do.

Sshhh! Don’t tell anyone I didn’t finish reading the Harry Potter series.

In a February issue of Vanity Fair, Emma Watson describes her mischievous undertaking for The Book Fairies as: “We’re being ninjas,” she says with a conspiratorial grin as she digs in a big black rucksack of books. “If there were anyone to be a ninja for, it’d be Maya Angelou.”

Introduction

Emma Watson is a 27-year-old actress and activist born to British lawyers in Paris, France. For a decade Emma Watson played spunky and bookish Hermione Granger, a titular character in the Harry Potter universe. It is a role that has shaped Watson’s career and style, on and off screen. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English in 2014 from Brown University. Since graduating, Watson has become an influential and outspoken feminine activist and style icon. She may yet rival Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge!

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With the success of the Harry Potter franchise, her celebrity status was secured. She has since been able to maintain her status by joining the UN as a Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and supporting worldwide literacy supporting the brands OurSharedShelf (on Goodreads) and The Book Fairies. While she has taken a year off from acting to focus on activism, she continues to make headlines: sometimes interviewing authors, sometimes hiding books across the globe, sometimes enjoying the simple pleasures of life. (Yes, I am talking about her recent excursion skydiving.) I’ll admit she’s braver than I am.

While she rose to fame for her portrayal of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, Emma Watson – the actress, model, and activist – has shed her image of starlet based in part by the roles she portrays (Colonia, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Beauty and the Beast, for example) and in part because of her role as an activist. She conveys certain messages, on and off screen. In Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson had this to say of Belle:

“There’s this kind of outsider quality that Belle had, and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring. And also, she manages to keep her integrity and have a completely independent point of view.”

As seen in the February 2017 Vanity Fair cover story “Emma Watson, Rebel Belle”

Through her activism, she shares her passion for equality, books, and sustainable fashion. Not too surprisingly, those are the same things I would advocate for: equal rights for women, sustainability and sustainable travel, and literacy since I am, and always will be, a bookworm.

Social Media Overview

  • Individual Accounts
    • Instagram: 37.5 million followers, 2 following, 61 posts
    • Twitter: 25.1 million followers, 1582 tweets, 212 photos/videos
    • Facebook page: 35,248,967 like her page; 34,809,136 follow her page
  • Brands: OurSharedShelf, also on Goodreads (11,552 likes, 11,802 follows) The Book Fairies (8,258 people like this, 8,417 people follow this).
  • Causes: HeforShe (552,884 people like, 544,829 people follow this)

Analysis and Evaluation

As a Whole

A basic Google search yields millions of results, with top-ranking cover stories, a biography, and links to her individual social media on the first page. Because of her popularity, her digital footprint is extensive: almost anything she does, whether it is skydiving or hiding books around New York City or Paris and whether she is interviewing Canadian author Margaret Atwood or appealing to fans to find her “most special possession,” Watson receives extensive media attention. As a whole, Emma uses her social media as a platform for change and to promote her modeling and/or acting projects like Beauty and the Beast, a remake of the animated 1991 film.

Facebook

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Watson’s Facebook page likely has the most posts; her albums range from on-set photos from Harry Potter, Ballet Shoes, and other movie projects to editorial modeling shoots which she is featured in. She has posted 378 times on her timeline, updated her cover photo 16 times, and updated her profile picture nine times: each update reflecting a current movie project, a certain cause, or a particular portrait that defines the real Emma Watson. Like her presence on other social media platforms, the content remains the same to ensure consistency with her followers.

Instagram

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With just over 60 posts on Instagram, Watson uses the platform to support her causes and brands: OurSharedShelf, The Book Fairies, and her work as a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador. With over 38 million followers, her account is successful, drawing in Harry Potter super fans, environmentalists, fashionistas, movie buffs, and book lovers. Her followers are equally engaged with many of the posts reaching millions of likes and at least 10,000 comments. Really, what’s not to like about a self-confident young woman who uses her celebrity status for good; as one Vanity Fair interview headline notes: she’s a rebel with a cause.

Since becoming a style icon, her posts generally reflect her choice to wear sustainable fashion to promotion events, premieres and more. In addition to utilizing the platform to showcase her style choices, she documents her journey as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for gender equality: meetings with heads of state, other UN activists, authors, and more. Only a small portion of her Instagram account is used to promote her movie projects.

Twitter

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Emma is generally more active on Twitter, since she has tweeted over 1,500 times since joining in 2010. Her tweets are diverse: from interviews she’s done with best-selling authors such as Margaret Atwood or sharing her experience hiding books for The Book Fairies to writing a plea to her 25+ million fan base to find a precious family heirloom she lost in London and on-set photos promoting recent movie projects. Like her Facebook page and Instagram feed, her posts are succinct. Just check out her interview with kitties by Buzzfeed for the Beauty and the Beast @thepresstour!

Commendations and Recommendations

Based on her numerous interviews and on her editorial modeling & acting career, Emma Watson has grown from being a child star into a style icon and activist – not unlike the character Hermione Granger. For that I admire her.  Since her rise to fame over fifteen years ago, she has personally developed into a strong, outspoken woman who appears to be down-to-earth and self-confident.

Emma Watson has gained a large fan base over her decades-long career as an actress. Her social media accounts show consistency in her posts, profile picture, cover photo (if included), and stories. Additionally, she posts consistently between all platforms, in addition to getting publicity nearly every week with articles appearing on both Facebook and Google frequently. Her feeds clearly exhibit a real and honest representation of Emma Watson: the activist, the model, the actress.

While she sometimes shares about her life, many of the posts exclusively support her causes and career. As such, there is nothing much that she needs to do to improve her social media presence. Perhaps the only suggestion would be to post more often. Being a celebrity has opened doors for Emma, as it has done for other notable celebrities like Angelina Jolie who have become UN ambassadors. Many fans leave positive comments about being a role model, even being compared to Princess Diana. Others realize that she is just another person living out an extraordinary life.

 

 

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Found on Watson’s Facebook page

 

 

Rowling’s final thoughts on Hermione, a missive about herself and Emma: “Just like her creator, she has a real weakness for a funny man. These uptight girls, they do like them funny. It’s such a relief from being so intense yourself – you need someone who takes life, or appears to take life, a little more light heartedly.”

She’s a rebel with a cause.

Cheers for now!

References

https://www.biography.com/people/emma-watson-20660247

http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/emma-watson-interview

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-belle-over-cinderella-role-model-disney-a7532666.html

http://emma-watson.net/2014/02/07/emmas-interview-with-jk-rowling/

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/02/emma-watson-cover-story

 

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