The Harry Potter actress says worldwide celebrity isn't always magical

By Tim Nudd
Updated December 17, 2007 12:10 PM
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Credit: Goff/INF

Playing Hermione in the Harry Potter films has brought Emma Watson unimagined wealth and fame. But sometimes the 17-year-old actress would just like hang out with her friends without causing a scene.

“I’m not the girl they get the number 19 bus into town with to grab a coffee,” Watson tells the Daily Telegraph of her friends. “I just get mobbed. … It’s an uncomfortable experience for everyone. Sometimes I miss the fact that I have never really been a teenager because I have been Hermione for such a long time.”

Indeed, Watson won the role when she was just 9. She has shot five Potter films, with two more to go. And while she is grateful she got the part (“I just tell myself I won the lottery”), growing up in the spotlight has been challenging.

“When I heard I’d got the part of Hermione, my mother said to me it was very important to keep the friends I’d made already,” she says. “She told me that in the future it would be important to know people liked me for myself and not because of my career. … Now I know exactly what she means.”

Dating is particularly hard, as any boy she spends time with is immediately pegged as her boyfriend. Her younger brother, Alexander, is “about the only bloke I can go out with and not cause a stir,” she says.

She’s also ambivalent about press coverage of her. “I try not to read it, but it’s hard,” she says. “Who doesn’t want to read about themselves? But it’s always written with this tone – as if the person knows me. But they don’t.”

Watson is trying to branch out as an actress, and is appearing in a TV movie, Ballet Shoes, in the U.K. But she is also applying to Cambridge University, to give herself some options.

She explains: “I feel it’s terribly important to continue with my education, in case acting doesn’t work out for me.”