In this episode of women who inspire us, we highlight the brilliantly elegant, fiercely talented, slightly petite and unmistakingly strong, Emma Watson. Emma’s rise to fame as one of the main characters in the Harry Potter series playing the brainy Hermione exposed her to unimaginable opportunities at a young age. Sharing what seems to be her limitless ability to inspire, to entertain, and continuously surprise her audience, Emma is at it again. With recent buzz surrounding the remake of Beauty and the Beast, a lovely movie to see with my young daughter, it is Emma’s other acts that caught my full attention—the sort that make you do a double take.
There is much more to this young actress than meets the eye. This elegant, self assured darling is in fact quite the noble UN Women Goodwill ambassador, focused on bringing attention and working to solve women’s issues around the world. An advocate of equality through the HeforShe movement, Emma’s now famous UN address announcing this cause received applause from the UN floor, with a global audience of supporters. The video has been viewed a staggering 7.7 million times on YouTube, and 1.9 million on the United Nations channel. With well over 35 million followers on various social media channels—it is clear, that even with some harsh critics and unfortunate threats, Emma is not afraid to use her voice for the good, bringing awareness to important issues. With immense support of this movement, even the criticism has not stopped Emma as she perseveres through continued gestures of education and empowerment.
We are brought into Emma’s world through the sharing of her favorite books, Our Shared Shelf, a book club of sorts. It’s quite possibly my favorite of her projects. But what do books have to do with the empowerment of young women? They educate girls, inspire women, and send positive messages of hope to some, while giving others the strength to make tough decisions. As with anything Emma puts her mind to, she comes at it full force while gently navigating difficult topics. With her sweet demeanor, she is unassuming and that’s possible why her message carries so much weight. Education is power, and the more you know the better decisions you make.
Emma brings her work to the streets, working with Books on the Underground project to encourage people to read. She sneakily leaves books around the subway in the hopes that someone will pick it up and read it. She also drops off copies at small local bookstores and encourage women to snap photos of themselves with the books which she reposts on the Our Shared Bookshelf instagram. The community of women that read alongside Emma are growing rapidly, providing a sense of belonging and support.
As Emma continues to entertain and tantalize us with her work that carries a common theme, her lovely character is bold and endlessly caring, and even though some might label her as activist, she comes across more as a genuinely caring friend. In true Emma fashion, she also cares deeply about the environment. She challenges designers who dress her to create sustainably produced outfits that use recycled material and can be repurposed. What other celebrity gives a designer homework like that?
Even if one might not support all of the causes or understand the conviction with which she takes on a challenge, her gumption is incredibly inspiring. Millions around the world are captivated by the young woman turned role model who leads with such conviction, and we can’t wait to see what she does next. Here’s a quote from an interview that encapsulates her philosophy: “I want to do good, I want to feel good, and that for me, is luxury.” Emma Watson.