One of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, Emma Watson spent her childhood and teenage years filming the Harry Potter series, taking on the role of overachieving yet lovable Gryffindor student Hermione Granger, and she remains a bona fide movie star—next up is the highly anticipated live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Because Emma possesses many titles (actress, model, activist, humanitarian), she often finds it difficult to retain some semblance of privacy. As she explains in an interview with Vanity Fair, this is the reason she refrains from taking selfies with fans. “For me, it’s the difference between being able to have a life and not,” she says. “If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they’ve created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 meters. They can see what I’m wearing and who I’m with. I just can’t give that tracking data.”
The actress reveals she’ll often decline a photo and instead offer fans an autograph or a conversation. “I have to carefully pick and choose my moment to interact,” she explains. “When am I a celebrity sighting versus when am I going to make someone’s freakin’ week?”
She even describes the extremes to which some Harry Potter fans have gone to express their admiration. “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 recalls. “I don’t know how to explain it, but the Harry Potter phenomenon steps into a different zone. It crosses into obsession. A big part of me coming to terms with it was accepting that this is not your average circumstance.”
And while she doesn’t say no to children, Emma doesn’t plan on changing her no-selfie policy anytime soon. “Privacy for me is not an abstract idea,” she says. We totally get where she’s coming from.