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Hermione's legacy: why Emma Watson is the role model we all need

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Emma Watson has never been your typical celebrity. For starters, when Alfonso Cuarón, the director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, asked the actors to write something about their characters, she wrote a whole essay, while Daniel Radcliffe wrote a few paragraphs and Rupert Grint didn't write anything at all.

She proved from a very young age that she was, indeed, perfect as Hermione, further confirming it when she graduated in English Literature from Brown University, after having attended Oxford University for a semester. 

Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

Let's all remember that Hermione was also not only an outstanding student, but she was also an activist. Those who took the time to read the books will remember how Hermione, after learning that housekeeping in Hogwarts was carried out by house elves, created the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, through which she kept fighting for the dignity and rights of house elves. Watson is no different from Hermione, over the years having joined and launched campaigns supporting diverse causes.

In 2009, at only nineteen years old, she was involved with People Tree, a fair trade fashion brand. She was an ambassador of the brand until 2012, but this is not the only fashion activism that Watson has done. When promoting Beauty and the Beast last year, Watson only wore clothes that were ethically made, and created an instagram account, @the_press_tour, to promote ethical fashion, which she still uses whenever she attends an event. 

But arguably the most important activism that Emma Watson has done is fighting for the rights of women. In 2014, Watson became a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, after visiting several developing countries to promote education for girls. That same year, she gave her worldwide famous speech in the UN Headquarters to launch the UN campaign HeForShe.

She explained how she had always felt somehow discriminated against for being a woman, by being called bossy for wanting to do the same things as the boys or by being sexualised at a very young age, and she declared herself a feminist. She was hugely criticised for this, which, according to her, only motivated her more. 

Since then, she has not stopped working to promote women's rights. She created a Goodreads bookclub, Our Shared Shelf, where every month she recommends book about equality for everyone to read. Former books included 'The Handmaid's Tale', 'Mom & Me & Mom' and 'The Vagina Monologues'. She also created the Book Fairies, an initiative to leave books around the world for everybody to read and then to leave again for someone else to find them. She has been actively leaving books around, even in the London Underground! 

And, of course, Emma Watson joined the Time's Up campaign and dressed in black for the Golden Globes in January. But she went one step further: as a date to the ceremony, she took Marai Larasi, the director of an organization that fights for black and ethnic women's rights. 

So who better than Emma Watson to have as a role model? Not only is she a great actress, but she is also a fierce activist, a fashion icon and a genuinely good student. Looking up to Emma Watson means to learn that things like studying, worrying about the origins of what you wear, and fighting for your rights and against discrimination is important and, most of all, it's cool. So let's all look up to Emma Watson, because she is the only role model we need. 

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