Emma Watson On The Pressures Of Being A Child Star

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Emma Watson stepped into her first movie role (one you might be familiar with — Hermione Granger) when she was only 9 years old, cementing her status as a tween queen while growing up. With her natural hair and bossy attitude, her fictionalized character seemed to run the Hogwarts scene. But the young girl portraying the confident character experienced things a bit differently. The actress recently admitted that her insecurities were "exacerbated" by the whole experience.

"As a young person, that feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin was exacerbated by the microscope I was under," Watson told Porter magazine.

"I had so many friends who had a clear sense of self," she said. "Who knew that they liked certain things, like the smell of grass, or what their favorite color was. I envied those girls because I was so unsure of myself. I questioned everything. I was terrified by the level of interest in me. I spent most of my time trying to convince everyone I was incredibly boring because I needed privacy and a minute to figure myself out. I used to have to go numb and close myself off, for example on the red carpet, just to get through it."

This uncertainty lasted for awhile, the actress recalled. But thanks to her time at Brown University as a college student — as close to a normal experience as you can get after playing a beloved character in a blockbuster franchise — Watson says she feels more centered and at ease.

"It gave me this place of refuge, this space I could negotiate for myself, and time to figure out who I was," she said.

Now 25, Watson has emerged as a major feminist advocate (and more recently, a book club organizer) and seems ready to help lead a new generation of girls who are trying to figure themselves out.

"For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a sense of self that I'm comfortable with," she said.

Hermione would be proud.

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