This year, Emma Watson won't be making any movies. "I'm taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really. My own personal development is one," she tells bell hooks in the new issue of Paper magazine. Her UN women's rights campaign, HeforShe, is the second. ("We are organizing a HeForShe arts week, a university tour, and launching the HeForShe website. It's a lot. There's a lot to do.")
Emma's "personal development" will involve a lot of studying of feminist literature, the actress details: "I know that you, [bell], read a book a day. My own personal task is to read a book a week, and also to read a book a month as part of my book club. I'm doing a huge amount of reading and study just on my own. I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading, that I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I'm on. I'm reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening."
"There are people who are very cynical about celebrity activism," hooks tells Emma at one point. "As a consequence, it may lead celebrities to feel like they've got to do more to prove they are genuine."
Emma agrees she's felt it: "When I was talking to my mom about going and doing the gender studies, she was like, 'It feels like you'd be trying to prove to everyone that you're smart and trying to prove something by doing that. You're learning so much on your own at the moment and enjoying it so much. You can prove that you care about it by spending time listening and talking to as many people as you can and keep doing what you're doing.' I do feel like I have to overcompensate at times."
But her thirst for knowledge and excitement are genuine: "I'm reading so much and exposing myself to so many new ideas. It almost feels like the chemistry and the structure of my brain is changing so rapidly sometimes. It feels as if sometimes I'm struggling to keep up with myself. It's a really cool period of time for me. My work that I do for the UN is all very clearly outlined, but my personal views and opinions are still being defined, really. So it'll be an interesting time."
Read Watson and hooks' full conversation here.
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