Emma Watson Fears: “I’m A Total Fraud”

Truth rating: 10

By Daniel Gates

Emma Watson


Emma Watson opens up in an extended interview with Rookie magazine, talking about her uncharacteristic new role in The Bling Ring, how The Perks of Being a Wallflower resonated with her, and the inescapable power of Harry Potter.

The actress describes how her transformation into a character inspired by celebrity home burglar Alexis Neiers began before she even got the Bling Ring role. “For my audition I went out and bought hoop earrings and this crazy hat like the one Alexis wears when she goes to see her lawyer, and I put on tons of bronzer and a fake tan — I just went full-out, and had the best time doing it,” explains Watson. She adds, “’Cause it’s really the first time I’ve had to play someone who’s a real character, someone just so different from me.”

Working with director Sofia Coppola also presented a new experience for Watson. “She likes capturing organic things, transcendent moments, changes in the wind and sun — which is awesome because you feel like you’re really part of creating something beautiful, but also very unnerving for me because I’m used to being inside a studio at Harry Potter and being incredibly controlled and sticking to a schedule,” says the actress. “So it was fun— it felt very freeing.”

Watson explains that her turn in Perks, with its exploration of high school growing pains, resonated with her in ways people might not expect. “It’s funny, Perks was really hard for me to talk about, because I think the person that people imagine me to be is someone who hasn’t gone through a lot of the issues that are talked about in the movie.”

She continues, “When people see me, I’m on the red carpet, perfectly dressed and styled, after two hours of hair and makeup. I’m putting on a show. So when I explain that I have moments when I feel dark or insecure, I understand how it might not really ring true, because there’s this weird double-life thing I have going on.” Watson later admits, “I’ll go back to my hometown and I’ll go to the pub and see the guys I grew up with, and it’s so crazy — I immediately go back to who I was when I was 12, when I thought I was just totally inadequate.”

Feelings of inadequacy have never left Watson, even with her massive Hollywood success. She says, “It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are.

“It’s weird — sometimes [success] can be incredibly validating, but sometimes it can be incredibly unnerving and throw your balance off a bit, because you’re trying to reconcile how you feel about yourself with how the rest of the world perceives you,” explains Watson. And while Watson says “people really have given me permission to evolve and have been very supportive of my work outside of Harry Potter,” she admits to feeling “a little constrained by that idea of who I’m meant to be.”

“Every article that’s published about me has some reference to Hogwarts or Hermione or magic or ‘What would Harry and Ron say?'” she says. “But I just can’t allow myself to get frustrated by that, because I’m really proud to have been part of Harry Potter and proud of the work that I did on those movies.”

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