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February 14, 2017 3:23 PM EST

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and actress Emma Watson has been an activist for some time now, but her dedication to championing human rights and gender equality hasn’t always been met with open arms. But in a new interview with ELLE UK, the Beauty and the Beast star said that her critics have “really toughened” her up.

“There is a level of criticism that comes with being an actress and a public figure, which I expect, but once you take a stance on something like feminism, that’s a completely different ball game,” said said.

She’s also hesitant to speak out sometimes because she’s expected to be perfect: “I’m no expert, and when people push me into a corner of ‘here’s Emma Watson to lecture you on feminism,’ it’s uncomfortable because I am aware I have a long way to go. I am not sure I deserve all the respect I get yet, but I’m working on it.”

And Watson definitely is working becoming more knowledgeable on a range of topics, especially after taking time off from acting to focus on activism. “It wasn’t about me necessarily proving anything,” she said of her break. “I was just thinking that I have this year to myself, so let’s see what we can do to ‘move the needle’ and make a difference.”

Read more at ELLEUK.com

 

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