As the youngest woman ever to be appointed as a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson has frequently—and incredibly eloquently, we might add—spoken out about feminism and equality all over the world. But just because the actress has beamed with confidence doesn’t mean she hasn’t had her moments of self-doubt.
In a recent exclusive interview with Grazia UK, Watson admitted that she almost stopped herself from talking about feminist issues because she was scared she would be labeled “difficult.” Thankfully for us, she let the fear subside and even took a year off of acting to focus on her gender equality and education efforts, in order to give her all to her role with the UN. (If that doesn’t scream Hermione, I don’t know what does.)
From her healthy body image to her fierce beliefs on #girlpower, we are continually impressed with this British badass.
Scroll through to see six inspiring and brilliant quotes from the actress-turned-UN ambassador.
1. When she let her actions speak louder than words
“What makes you a feminist is not saying that you are a feminist, it’s actually in how you choose to live your life, what you do and the action that you take. Feminism is more of a verb than just a description, so trying to change the idea around that is quite important.”
2. When she wore a 100 percent sustainable dress to the 2016 Met Gala
“The body of the gown is crafted from three different fabrics, all woven from yarns made from recycled plastic bottles(!). Plastic is one of the biggest pollutants on the planet. Being able to repurpose this waste and incorporate it into my gown for the Met Gala proves the power that creativity, technology and fashion can have by working together.”
3. When she announced her path to feminism during her HeForShe announcement speech at the UN
“I started questioning gender-based assumptions a long time ago. When I was eight, I was confused at being called ‘bossy’ because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not. When, at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media. When, at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscly.’ When, at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided that I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me.”
4. When she joined Sheryl Sandberg’s #LeanInTogether campaign
And declared herself a true fan of the Facebook COO on Instagram: “Your vulnerability inspires me. Your work, the way you share yourself, this speech…the way you mentor other [women] and build them up (me included) and make them see what is possible inspires me. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do and for including me in this incredible lineup of women.”
5. When she accepted her imperfections
“I don’t have perfect teeth. I’m not stick-thin. I want to be the person who feels great in her body and can say that she loves it and doesn’t want to change anything.”
6. When she started a feminist book club with her fans
“As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode…I decided to start a feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.”
Learn more about what it means to #LeanInTogether, from its founder Sheryl Sandberg and fellow feminist Lena Dunham. And meet the yogis bringing more body positivity to the practice.