Monday, June 22, 2009

Emma Watson in new photoshoot and interview for Teen Vogue (August 2009)

[Gallery] [Fashion] [Version fran├žaise]


Behind the scene

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She was just shy of ten years old when she took on the role of Hermione Granger, the bookish, bushy-haired sidekick to the titular hero of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. So feverishly anticipated was that first film—and so beloved were its four sequels (the fifth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, hits theaters this month)—that Emma Watson, now nineteen, has been world-famous for more than half her life.

That kind of renown has its downsides: Although the famously rabid British tabloids were (relatively) hands-off during the actress's adolescence, they celebrated her eighteenth birthday by sending so many paparazzi to cover her London party that, she says, "I literally couldn't get out the door at the end of the night." ("The worst thing," she adds, indignantly, "was that they laid down on the pavement and took pictures up my skirt. Now I'm going to wear cycling shorts whenever I get out of cars.") Her year-long romance with financier Jay Barrymore is reportedly "on/off," but Emma insists that they've actually been consistently together, and that "the only reason it's 'on/off' is because the papers make up so much rubbish!"

But observe the actress at her third Teen Vogue cover shoot—which takes place at a sprawling old English country manor that promises, in its brochure, both Norman castle ruins and "interesting shrubs"—and you'll quickly see how Emma benefited from growing up inside a fishbowl. For one thing, she is enviably self-possessed. Even when the pair of miniature horses she's been asked to lead picturesquely down a garden path become overexcited, she simply giggles and awaits her next direction.

And even when dressed in impossibly high heels, wild patterned leggings, and a poufy mini, with her hair piled precariously atop her head and fastened with brightly colored netting, Emma's poised enough to prevent the clothes from wearing her.

Fashion, in fact, has long been of particular interest to Emma. She's worn enough big-night Chanel to become friendly with Karl Lagerfeld, the line's iconic designer—"It's kind of my lucky brand," she explains, "a fail-safe"—and lately she has been branching out, experimenting with Balenciaga, Burberry (for whom she's a fall face), Miu Miu, Alice Temperley, and a little-known Englishman named William Tempest, whose designs she first spotted at an up-and-comers event called Fashion Fringe. When she's not premiere-hopping, she says, "I live, really, in jeans from Topshop, blazers from Ralph Lauren or Reiss, and ballet flats."

"It's very hard to describe your own style," she admits. "And I'm young, so I'm still experimenting. But I think it's quite British and very much about individuality." Emma says she prefers to pull her own party dresses, but even when she's short on time and must work with a stylist, she's careful to make sure that the resulting outfits don't look overdone. As she explains, "There's nothing interesting about looking perfect—you lose the point. You want what you're wearing to say something about you, about who you are."

Of course, personal style pretty much goes out the window when Emma's spending six days a week working on the latest Harry Potter, as she has done since last February. Much of her performance in The Half-Blood Prince focuses on Hermione's not-quite-budding romance with her buddy Ron—"At the beginning," Emma says, "it looks like they're on their way to finally being together, but of course Ron screws it up. So she's jealous, and doesn't quite realize it, and they have all these arguments." Meanwhile, Harry's hot on the trail of the eponymous Potions wizard and trying to convince their new professor, Slughorn, to reveal some crucial information about Harry's evil nemesis, Voldemort. All in all, a fairly exciting plot, even if Emma has to strain to remember it: The seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is being split into two films, which means that she's currently promoting one movie, shooting another, and in pre-production on a third. "I don't think I've ever been this tired in my life!" she says. "I literally wear my pajama bottoms to set. I roll out of bed and put on a hoodie and some Ugg boots."

This current wardrobe will, at least, fit right in at college, which Emma plans to start in the fall. Her schedule will be tight with filming but, as Emma puts it, "I've been saying that I wanted to go to university since I was eleven, so if they didn't let me, I'd be pretty upset." (She'll likely have to shoot over her winter break, she says, and since the plot does involve polyjuice potion—"Helena Bonham Carter will be playing Hermione for a bit.")

It's not uncommon for working actresses Emma's age to apply to college, but she is quite unique in her determination to give it a serious go. Perhaps that's because she's still not 100 percent sure she even wants to be a movie star when she grows up. "There's not, like, a burning passion in me," she admits, "that I have to act and I don't care what I do. Until something comes along that I feel as strongly about as I did Hermione—like, I felt that it was life or death—I don't want to act again." Instead she'll study English Literature and art, though exactly where, she won't say. (Cambridge, Brown, and Yale are all heavily favored by the Internet rumor mill, but given her insane popularity in the U.K. and the overly aggressive paparazzi, it's likely she'll end up in the States.) "I just want to keep it private for as long as I can," she explains. "I probably sound like a paranoid nut, but I'm doing this because I want to be normal. I really want anonymity." Emma even intends to live with a roommate in the freshman dorms, a decision which Dan Radcliffe told her was crazy. "But I want to do it properly, like everyone else. As long as I don't walk in," she adds jokingly, "and see, like, Harry Potter posters everywhere, I'll be fine."

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