Though she's left behind her days of Hermione Granger behind to play another book-reading brunette named Belle in Beauty and the Beast, it seems that Emma Watson is still figuring out how to deal with her Harry Potter fame. In a recent Vanity Fair cover story, the actor shared how she struggles to maintain her privacy after dealing with nearly two decades of enthusiastic Potterheads. Yes, almost two decades; Watson was cast in the Potter series at 9-years-old and turns 27 this April, so it's a rough 18 years if you want to get more precise. The trick is in negotiating and knowing what kind of fans she's dealing with, apparently.
When talking about her anxieties with dealing with fanaticism, Watson talked about picking her own battles and being able to turn away wannabe paparazzi who are just eager to capitalize on her fame. One of her techniques? "I’ll say, ‘I will sit here and answer every single Harry Potter fandom question you have, but I just can’t do a picture,’" she told Vanity Fair. And, usually, they're fine with this if they're a decent human being.
Things like this usually help her maintain a certain amount of sanity and control. "I have to carefully pick and choose my moment to interact, 'When am I a celebrity sighting versus when am I going to make someone’s freakin’ week?'" She said. "Children I don’t say no to, for example.'" It's smart, sensible, and empathetic, as we've come to expect.
Though there was talk that other A-List celebs were generous with giving out hugs, photos, and so on, the thing is that Watson isn't just a garden variety A-List celebrity from a string of successful movies. She's the face of an international franchise. For generations, she will inevitably be associated with Potter and its overwhelming fanbase, and that's a whole different kind of intensity (one that has no shortage of stalkers, by the way). “I have met fans that have my face tattooed on their body. I’ve met people who used the Harry Potter books to get through cancer," She said. "I don’t know how to explain it, but the Harry Potter phenomenon steps into a different zone. It crosses into obsession."
I'm sure that portraying one of the most beloved and frankly kind of badass Disney princesses isn't going to make her fame diminish any further. But it sounds like the actor has reasonable methods of dealing in place, and from Hermione to Belle to the beautiful human she's become, I have no doubts of her bravery.