Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (born 15 April 1990) is a British actress, model, and activist. Born in Paris and brought up in Oxfordshire, Watson attended the Dragon School and trained as an actress at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts. She rose to prominence after landing her first professional acting role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, having acted only in school plays previously.
Watson continued to work outside of the Harry Potter films, appearing in the 2007 television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and lending her voice to The Tale of Despereaux (2008).
Following the last Harry Potter film, she took on starring and supporting roles in My Week with Marilyn (2011), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) and The Bling Ring (2013), made an appearance as an exaggerated version of herself in This Is the End (2013), and portrayed the title character’s adopted daughter in Noah (2014).
In 2017, she starred as Belle in a live-action adaptation of the musical romance film Beauty and the Beast. Her other roles include Regression (2015), Colonia (2015) and The Circle (2017).
She was honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2014, winning for British Artist of the Year. That same year, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate gender equality.
Watson has promoted education for girls, visiting Bangladesh and Zambia to do so. In July 2014, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill ambassador.
In a speech for her campaign she said she began questioning gender-based assumptions at age eight when she was called “bossy” (a trait she has attributed to her being a “perfectionist”) whilst boys were not, and at 14 when she was “sexualised by certain elements of the media”. Watson’s speech also called feminism “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 12 hours of making the speech, which left her “raging. … If they were trying to put me off [women’s rights work], it did the opposite”. In 2015, Malala Yousafzai told Watson she decided to call herself a feminist after hearing Watson’s speech.