Emma Watson turns 26 today. We were first introduced to the lovely, charming Watson when she was selected at the age of 9 to play the role of Hermione Granger in the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books.
Actually, it wasn’t that simple. The producers of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone traveled to schools all over England scouting for children who looked like Rowling’s already iconic characters. Watson was part of a group of 20 children between the ages of 9 and 12 at her school chosen to have her photograph taken and submitted to producers.
Landing the role of Hermione — the incredibly clever and driven witch who inspires many Potter fans to unabashedly be their true selves — took perseverance. Between that photo in the gym and the first day of shooting, “It was a long time — eight auditions,” Watson told Derek Blasberg in a 2009 Interview magazine profile. Watson had never acted professionally before and she found herself vying for the role opposite actresses who already had many credits to their names. Still, she was the one who landed the role.
The first Harry Potter movie came out in 2001 and the eighth — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 — hit theaters in 2011. That’s a significant chunk of Watson’s life spent shooting and promoting Harry Potter movies. During that time, she became a global personality and came into her own, style-wise. She appeared on magazine covers, including Teen Vogue and British Vogue (twice). In 2009, Watson was named the face of Burberry. She became friends with Karl Lagerfeld, who even photographed her for Crash magazine.
Since saying goodbye to Harry Potter, Watson has appeared in a smattering of movies, such as 2012’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and 2013’s The Bling Ring. Where she’s truly surprised and delighted the public, though, is through her accomplishments outside of acting.
Since it’s Watson’s 26th birthday, we’re celebrating the many times she's bewitched us with her grace, confidence, and inspiring actions. In honor of her most famous character’s magical abilities, here are 10 spells to celebrate Emma Watson’s special day.