Emma Watson was the perfect woman to play a modern Disney princess in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, not just because she looks the part, but because her actions are inspiring for woman (and men) everywhere, young and old.
Take a look back at her most inspiring moments yet.
1. Watson’s interview with Malala Yousafzai
When Emma Watson interviewed women’s rights advocate Malala Yousafzai at the Into Film Festival in November 2015, good things were bound to be said, and these ladies did not disappoint. They discussed everything from the word “feminism” to education and the power to affect change.
Watson shined in how genuine she was during the interview, and you can clearly see her passion for the subjects she and Yousafzai discussed.
“I just wanted to say how wonderful I thought the film was and that you’re just my absolute hero,” Watson told Yousafzai at the start of the interview.
2. Watson on equality in fashion
In August 2015, Watson challenged some of the world’s top designers, including Stella McCartney and Jonathan Saunders to take a stand on gender equality in fashion.
“I have seen some very positive steps toward equality in the industry,” Watson said during the interview. “But I think there’s a lot of racism, there’s a lot of sexism. I’d really, really love to see a more diverse representation of women and men in any way that makes them feel empowered.”
3. Watson defines chivalry
During a Facebook Live Q&A back in March 2015, Watson commented on the dichotomy between chivalry and sexism. For example, some women get offended nowadays when a man holds the door open for her. But Watson said she is not that type of feminist.
“It’s just a nice thing to do — it’s polite. The key is, would you [as a man] mind if I opened the door for you?”
She added, “chivalry should be consensual and both parties should be feeling good about it.”
4. Watson fights sexism
@grygiel I don't believe in a binary I believe that we all exist on a spectrum and all deserve equality.I hope people do feel included.
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) January 23, 2015
In January 2015 during a Twitter Q&A, Watson inspired those facing sexism.
To which Watson beautifully responded, “I don’t believe in a binary I believe that we all exist on a spectrum and all deserve equality. I hope people do feel included.”
5. Watson inspires young girls
Watson will play Belle in the upcoming live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, but don’t expect her to be a damsel in distress.
“I feel like young girls are told that they have to be a princess and fragile. It’s bullshit,” Watson said. “I identify much more with being a warrior — a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I’d be a warrior princess. Definitely.”
6. Watson outlines equality action plans
As the goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women, Watson delivered an empowering speech on equality in Switzerland in January 2015.
“It is my belief that there is a greater understanding than ever that women need to be equal participants in our homes, in our societies, in our governments and in our work places,” she said. “They know that the world is being held back in every way, because they are not. Women share this planet 50/50 and they are under-represented, their potential astonishingly untapped.”
7. Watson on feminist love
Watson doesn’t deny the fact that the word “feminism” carries a negative connotation. Rather than ignoring the hate, she focuses on changing the conversation.
“I’m a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think that what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love — and it being more important and special than anything and everything else.”
8. Watson comments on #HeForShe
“Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic,” Watson said in an insightful interview with Elle magazine in October 2014. “All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for president, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful too.”
9. Watson stuns with U.N. speech
Watson’s perception as the feminist trailblazer started in September 2014 when she gave a speech at the United Nations as she launched her #HeForShe campaign. She explained the campaign is aimed at bringing men and women together in the fight for equality.
“I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, anti-men, unattractive.”
10. Watson graduates from Brown University
Watson puts her money where her mouth is. Already a successful child actor thanks to the Harry Potter franchise, Watson didn’t need higher education in order to accomplish her dreams. Yet she made the decision to get her degree to better herself — a decision worth noticing.
11. Watson supports multiple causes
Despite the fact that equality is Watson’s main philanthropic cause, she doesn’t limit herself to that alone. She also supports cancer research, among other things, and attended a ball hosted by Prince William back in May 2014 in order to support the cause.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.