When you put actress, UN ambassador, and badass women's rights activist Emma Watson in the same room with Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in history, you know something great is going to transpire. On Wednesday, Watson sat down with Yousafzai after a screening of the new documentary about her, He Named Me Malala. The two talked about Yousafzai's work advocating for female education (which is also the subject of the film), and a variety of other topics. While the highlight is undoubtedly when Yousafzai tells Watson that it's thanks to the actress' UN speech on gender equality last September that she now considers calls herself a feminist, there are many inspirational moments in the Q&A.
Watson opens her interview by thanking Yousafzai, telling her, "You're my absolute hero." Then she dives right in to get Yousafzai's take on her life, her activism, and the concept of feminism. One moment in particular, however, left Watson nearly in tears. Yousafzai recalls when she first realized she was a feminist, during Watson's speech at the UN headquarters in NYC last September, when she announced the UN Women's HeForShe campaign. Yousafzai tells Watson that her speech that changed her perception of what it means to be a feminist.
This word "feminism," it has been a very tricky word, and when I heard it the first time ... I heard some negative responses and some positive ones, and I hesitated in saying am I a feminist or not? Then, after hearing your speech, when you said, "If not now, when? If not me, who?" I decided that ... there's nothing wrong with calling yourself a feminist. So I am a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality.
This story left a lasting impression on Watson. After the interview, Watson described her utter awe of the young activist on her Facebook page.
Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person.... Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. ... Maybe feminist isn't the easiest word to use ... But she did it ANYWAY.
But that was just one of many inspirational moments in the interview. Here are 11 more:
"Anyone Can Encourage Change"
Watson points out an important takeaway from the documentary, which depicts Yousafzai's everyday life, thus highlighting how an ordinary girl can do extraordinary things.
Yousafzai Reiterates Her Goals In Life
The 18-year-old activist emphasizes why she started the Malala Fund: To make sure that one day, every child has an education. She tells Watson, "Not only primary education, but secondary education should be available to every child. This has been my mission, and I will make it come true."
Nobel Prize Or Not, Malala Is Still Humble
When asked how it feels for her story to be shown on film to millions, Yousafzai coyly replies, "I don't like seeing myself on TV. I don't even like hearing my own voice!"
Men Should Play A Role In The Women's Movement
The documentary highlights Yousafzai's father, who instilled in her the belief that men have a part to play in the fight for women's rights. "If we want equal rights for women" Yousafzai says, "then men need to step forward."
When Watson asks whether she's excited to see a woman running for president, Yousafzai answers, "I really think that America needs a woman president."
The Power Of Pink
The two women also take a break from the political talk to express their shared appreciation for the color pink, which Yousafzai chose to wear for her famous 2013 UN speech.
Her Work Is Not Done
Yousafzai makes it clear that her mission does not end with the Nobel Peace Prize, the documentary, or the international recognition. None of that means anything if she can't fulfill her goal of bringing education to all children.
She Has A Healthy Fear Of Teachers
While she loves all of her teachers in the U.K. and the ones she had in Pakistan, Yousafzai also admits, "I'm really scared of teachers as well."
You're Never Too Young To Make A Change
Yousafzai's advice for 12- to 13-year-olds is "don't think you're young and you can't do something." In fact, Yousafzai was only 11 when she started writing about education for the BBC.
Don't Take Education For Granted
As for her advice to kids who don't enjoy going to school, she has a powerful message: You might not realize the importance of education until one day you are prohibited from going to school ever again. She knows from personal experience.
Her Brothers Keep Her Grounded
When asked what she thinks of her two younger brothers, she paints a typical picture of the brother-sister dynamic:
They're really annoying. They fight with me all the time. However, they're sometimes nice and they sometimes think I'm doing good work.
Watch the entire interview below.
Images: Totally Emma Watson/YouTube (3)