The Harry Potter star says young women in the media "dumb themselves down a bit"

By Stephen M. Silverman
July 06, 2007 01:35 PM

If Emma Watson ever decides to give up acting, she might try politics – she’s so outspoken.

Take the subject of her Harry Potter alter ego, Hermione Granger, and how she serves as a role model for young girls.

“There are too many stupid girls in the media,” Watson, 17, tells Parade magazine in this weekend’s issue. “Hermione’s not scared to be clever. I think sometimes really smart girls dumb themselves down a bit, and that’s bad.”

Likening certain aspects of her personality to Hermione’s, Watson says, “I’m a bit of a feminist. I’m very competitive and challenging.”

The actress, who stars in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, would also prefer to be known for her brains than her looks. “When I was 9 or 10, I would get really upset when they tried to make me look geeky, but now I absolutely love it. I find it’s so much pressure to be beautiful. Hermione doesn’t care what she looks like. She’s a complete tomboy.”

As for her own role models, Watson looks to her family. “I have a really secure network of family and friends. … My parents are both lawyers, and they have no interest in being part of this industry.”

With her parents divorced, Watson – the eldest of seven siblings – lives with her mother in Oxford, where she goes to an all-girls school.

Addressing the lingering matter of why she was the the final holdout when it came to signing on for the final Potter movies, Watson says, “People can’t understand why I don’t want to be a full-time actress, but school life keeps me in touch with my friends. It keeps me in touch with reality.”

She adds: “Let’s be honest: I have enough money never to have to work again, but I would never want that. Learning keeps me motivated.”