Emma Watson Explains the Difference Between Idolizing Belle and Hermione

2 minute read

Starring in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was apparently a fairy tale come true for Emma Watson.

During a recent press conference for the film, the 26-year-old actor told the Irish Independent that she felt fortunate to have already had the privilege to play two of her fictional role models — Belle and Hermione Granger.

“I think that I just feel really lucky. For me, Belle was my childhood heroine; [the animated original] came out two days after I was born,” she said. “And then, in my early teens, it was about idolising Hermione. So to be given the chance to play my two childhood idols is probably a very unique and rare experience for an actress.”

Watson also spoke about how she feels she has grown personally and professionally since the completion of the Harry Potter series.

“I think I came out of [Beauty and the Beast] with more confidence, with more skills. And more belief in myself,” she said. “Because when I came off Potter and decided to go to university, that wasn’t a career decision the people I worked with were pleased about. But I kind of… I try to stay true to whatever whisper I’m getting from myself and I hope that will see me through. That’s all I can do really. Otherwise, if I don’t listen to myself, I’d feel a bit lost in it all.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com