• Living
  • feminism

Emma Watson to Take Break From Acting to Focus on Feminism

2 minute read

Emma Watson is taking a year off from Hollywood to focus on reading and feminism.

The Harry Potter star told feminist author bell hooks she’s taking time off to focus on self-development and feminism, and directing more of her energy towards her work as the UN Ambassador for HeforShe, Watson told Paper Magazine. She also said she wants to read a book a week, and focus on getting through a book a month with her feminist book club, A Shared Shelf.

“I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading,” she told hooks for an interview for the magazine. “That I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I’m on. I’m reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening.”

Watson said that instead of going back to school, she wants to “listen to as many different women in the world as I can.” As the UN Ambassador for HeForShe, Watson’s 2014 speech on feminism went viral, and now she’s part of promoting HeForShe’s Impact Champions, a set of CEOs, world leaders, and university presidents who have made public commitments to gender equality.

Watson also told hooks that one of the most valuable things she’s learned from feminism is the ability to resist self-doubt. “I’m on my journey with this and it might change, but I can tell you that what is really liberating and empowering me through being involved in feminism is that for me the biggest liberation has been that so much of the self-critiquing is gone,” she said. “Engaging with feminism, there is this kind of bubble now that goes off in my head where these really negative thoughts about myself hit where I’m able to combat them in a very rational and quick way. I can see it now in a way that’s different. I guess if I could give women anything through feminism — or you’re asking about power — it would just be, to be able to move away, to move through all of that.”


More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com