Emma Watson Reveals What She’s Doing Now—and Why She Stepped Back From Acting

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Emma Watson has made occasional public appearances over the year, but the actress has yet to commit to any new film projects—and hasn’t since Little Women’s release in 2019. That’s intentional, she told British Vogue in a new interview.
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Watson is now enrolled in a creative writing MA program, and working to make a career pivot to roles behind the camera, too. She has already done some directing with Prada and written a play. But it was realizing that she wanted to center herself again that led her to step away from acting.

Entering her 30s led to an overall major shift in her life, she revealed: “Going into my 30s, I was in this moment of real change and [thinking] ‘What is going on?’” she said. “And it was someone else who said to me, ‘Oh, this is normal. You’re going through your Saturn return.’ [I was] like, ‘What is that and why has no one warned me?!’ I’ve spoken to so many women and so many of my friends who said, ‘Oh, yeah, between 28 and, like, 30, 31, 32, that kind of age, everything shifted.’ ”

Going back to school was a big move too. “Because I’m in a career that moves very quickly, the decision to take time to do these things felt like a very big decision,” she noted. “[Choosing] to go back and write and study and get behind the camera was terrifying for me because I’d never done it before. I had always been in front of the camera; I’d always been an actor.”

Watson shared that characters she played felt “much realer” than she did at times. And that was a sign something needed to change: “I’m just so glad that I did [step away from acting] because I have this feeling of having my own voice and creative space and sovereignty in some way that I don’t think I did before–more autonomy,” she said. “I’m so glad that I allowed things to be messy for a minute and to really allow myself to not know [what’s next], because the knowing that I’ve come to, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Watson reflected on her “inner” and “outer” scorecards of how she feels about herself versus how the world sees her. “I get a front row seat [with] some of the most successful, beautiful, incredible people in the world,” she said of being in Hollywood. “And when you have that seat it becomes very, very clear that there is just absolutely no level of success that will make you in any way happy or content if you do not like who you are or enjoy what you’re doing when no one’s watching.”

She also kept her personal life private in the interview, but she did explain her famous “self-partnered” comment from her last big interview with British Vogue in 2019. It wasn’t “necessarily about me celebrating being single,” she said. “Getting to the point when I was 30, I was realizing, ‘Oh, maybe I’ve figured out some things about how to care for myself better–maybe quite well, actually.’ And taking pride in that.”

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