Let me be frank: When I heard Emma Watson was going to be playing Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, I was a little heartbroken. Belle is my princess, and it was my childhood fantasy to be her. Like, literally be her. The fact that Watson was going to get to live out my dream just seemed a little crushing.
But I got over it — pretty quickly and pretty easily, in fact. Yeah, OK, I’m still a little jealous, but that’s it, I swear! Because Watson is amazing.
If anyone was going to take on the role of Belle (aside from me, of course), it should be Watson, with her constant class, feminist activism and intelligence.
As if we didn’t already know Watson is the kind of woman all little girls should aspire to be, she’s been proving it again and again with the way she’s dominating the Beauty and the Beast press tour ahead of the movie’s March 17 release.
1. Watson explains Belle’s feminist update to MTV
“We have a couple of scenes where she’s trying to teach a girl in the village how to read,” Watson explained in a press interview with MTV. “And it’s sort of really looked down upon. There’s a really anti-intellectual feeling within the village that reading isn’t for girls and shouldn’t be allowed for girls and going to school shouldn’t be allowed for girls, which we still see the world over.”
Watson added that Belle wants more for girls than to “marry the village Gaston,” a sentiment Watson herself strives to impart to young girls in real life.
2. Watson addresses that gay character issue
When news came out that LeFou would have a moment in the film that shows he’s gay, a first for Disney, the criticism was quick and the controversy brutal. A movie house in Alabama has refused to show the film.
“The film represents the diversity of every society,” Watson said, according to Inquirer. “It’s important to represent everyone. The other thing I would say is, watch it and then form an opinion.”
3. Watson sets the record straight about her Vanity Fair cover photos
Watson did a photo shoot with Vanity Fair in which she showed off her feminine assets in a nearly topless photo. People immediately criticized Watson as hypocritical because, they said, by showing so much skin, Watson was going against her feminist values — whatever that means.
Watson also revealed that she was “quietly stunned” by the backlash.
“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” she explained. “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”
4. Early reviews of Watson’s performance are great
Watson’s press tour isn’t the only thing that’s good. She’s also a great actress in the role as Belle.
According to The Telegraph, Watson “dazzles” in the role, and Us Weekly reported, “Even the sight of Watson trying on gorgeous costumes in her bedroom is a wonder,” adding that she “enchants” as Belle.
5. Watson wins at wardrobe
While there is something to be said for the Ask Her More movement, Watson is embracing all the fabulous fashion she’s getting to show off while on the Beauty and the Beast press tour. In fact, she and her stylist have set up an Instagram account simply known as @The_Press_Tour to showcase Watson’s outfits, which are sustainably made and environmentally friendly.
At press time, the account has 13 posts and 418,000 followers.
6. Jimmy Kimmel snowball fun
Watson’s press tour hasn’t been all serious. In her interview with Kimmel, she talked about getting smashed in the face with snow repeatedly. And we got to see the scene. It’s pretty hilarious.
7. The awesomeness of that lip bleach confession
Watson opened up about her beauty routine to Into the Gloss. Surprisingly and refreshingly, she didn’t hold back on anything — including the fact that she’s been getting her upper lip bleached since she was about 9 years old.
“It’s funny — I was just talking to my friend before this about how in the Instagram era, it’s so easy to edit your life so that it looks perfect. But I bleach my top lip and tweeze my eyebrows, and you’d never get to see that, even though it’s a part of my routine,” Watson told the outlet. “There’s still so much shame around the things you do to get ready while you’ve got a towel wrapped around your head. It’s important to me not to edit that out.”
8. Ellen DeGeneres comfort stop
Watson and DeGeneres bond over their safari “comfort stop” experiences while in Africa.
9. Watson’s book hiding adventure
Watson celebrated International Women’s Day this year by hiding books throughout New York City and celebrating some of our history’s greatest women, like Eleanor Roosevelt, along the way.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.