“I played a symbol. I know this, because she’s a symbol for me,” the actress told Vogue in 2019 about playing Hermione Granger since her childhood, noting that she’s “not” the famous witch in real life. “I’m also not what, weirdly, my name has come to mean. Even people that are really close to me sometimes can’t let it go. Or see just me. And then sometimes I have to go, ‘No, no – I need exactly what you need. I’m just as human as you are. I’m just as insecure as you are. I struggle just as much as you struggle.’”
After rising to fame at the age of 8 years old, the British actress’ name has become synonymous with all things Harry Potter. While her tenure as Hermione has been over for years, Emma is still drawn toward strong female protagonists, like Belle from Beauty and the Beast or Meg March in Little Women.
“I have this theory,” she said in the same Vogue interview, while discussing the 2019 adaptation of Little Women. “Louisa [May Alcott] had a lot of sisters in real life, but I think also she kind of put a little piece of herself into all of the March sisters. I think it was a really good literary device to explain that there’s not one way to be a feminist – which we still seem to be struggling with.”
The Brown University graduate added, “With Meg’s character, her way of being a feminist is making the choice — because that’s really, for me anyway, what feminism is about. Her choice is that she wants to be a full-time mother and wife. To Jo, being married is really some sort of prison sentence. But Meg says, ‘You know, I love him and I’m really happy and this is what I want. And just because my dreams are different from yours, it doesn’t mean they’re unimportant.’”
While she hasn’t taken on that many new projects, it doesn’t mean Emma has plans to retire from Hollywood any time soon. After a rumor started circling that she was headed for retirement, the actress was quick to set the record straight.
“Emma’s social media accounts are dormant but her career isn’t,” her rep told Entertainment Weekly in a February 2021 statement, making it clear that she’s not going anywhere.
Scroll through our gallery for a breakdown of Emma’s roles following her Harry Potter days.
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