Evgenia Peretz and Patrick Demarchelier spotlight Emma Watson as the star of the Harry Potter series masters a tricky real-life role: Ivy League freshman.
Once upon a time there were two little girls living in England. Both were kind, full of energy, and eager to please, and had a charming habit of telling people what to do. One was named Hermione Granger, the other Emma Watson. “If I’m honest, I was her,” says Watson. “I was very keen. I was super-eager to please and be good. And I was always kind of bossy.” At age 11, Hermione was so bright and winning that she was selected to go to Hogwarts, the famous school for magic in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. At age nine, Emma was so bright and winning that she was chosen from tens of thousands of girls to play Hermione in the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Ten years—and a $5.4 billion movie franchise—later, Watson was in 2009 the highest-paid actress in Hollywood and has found herself in a place even stranger than anything Rowling could have dreamed up: Brown University.
“It was just awful,” she recalls thinking at first, during freshman week. “I was like, I must be mad. Why am I doing this?” And what was with all the party-hearty stuff? She nervously attended her first frat party, hoping she might get into the swing of things. “I felt like I’d walked into an American teen movie. I picked up the red cups. I was like, Wow, they really do drink from these.” Then she started meeting people: a roommate who had no interest in Harry Potter (phew!), some really friendly rower guys, and eventually one Rafael Cebrián, who’s a rock musician and actor in his native Spain and has reportedly become her boyfriend. After shopping classes, she settled on European women’s history, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and acting. “I think actually I’m the worst person in the class,” says Watson cheerily. After a youth spent as a superstar, Watson has finally found out what it feels like to be a normal, liberated girl—and she’s never been happier. “I was scared before I came to Brown—that I wasn’t going to be allowed to have both [a career and a normal life]. People would think that I didn’t deserve to have both. [I was afraid they’d think], You’re famous. You’re given free handbags. Why should you deserve to be normal?” And in case they hadn’t noticed, she’s also the gorgeous new face of Burberry. As its creative director, Christopher Bailey, puts it, “She’s the only girl I know who gets two completely different reactions from people: ‘Aw’ and ‘Whoa!’?”
(courtesy of http://www.project-xtapes.com)