Emma Watson is ELLE’s March Cover Star and ‘Woman of the Year’ at ELLE Style Awards 2017

‘Let’s see what we can do to ‘move the needle’ and make a difference.’

British Actress Emma Watson – who is not only globally renowned for her impressive acting career, but also for her powerful campaigning for gender equality – is back on the cover of ELLE UK.

Yes, the activist returns.

And in celebration of her achievements, ELLE UK will award Watson the prestigious Woman of the Year Award at the ELLE Style Awards 2017, next Monday.

In the March issue of ELLE UK, Emma talks to Lorraine Candy about why being cast as Belle in the upcoming film Beauty and the Beast was the perfect opportunity for her. She reveals why it was important to her to take a year out to concentrate on her activism, and she discusses setting up her feminist book club, named Our Shared Shelf.

On taking a year off from acting to concentrate on activism:
‘It wasn’t about me necessarily proving anything… 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.’

On her role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast:
‘For me, Beauty was the perfect, most joyful thing to do… There was something connected about Hermione and Belle, and it was good to be reminded that I am an actress; this is what I do. The film is pure escapism.’

On dealing with her critics:
‘It really toughened me 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.’

On whether she would consider writing her own book:
‘I need to see and do a bit more first… 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.’

For our main fashion story with Emma Watson, ELLE UK worked closely with Eco-Age, an ideas consultancy promoting ethical and sustainable ways to dress, and home of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC).

The goal was to showcase brands that are reducing the impact they have on people and the planet, including vintage clothing, which has a huge role to play in reducing the fashion industry’s global footprint. Each of the brands featured in the shoot were assessed against Eco-Age’s GCC principles for Sustainable Excellence, which address a range of social and environmental impacts typically caused by the fashion industry.

For more information on the GCC principles, visit eco-age.com.

Read the full interview in the March issue of ELLE UK, on sale 14 February. The ELLE Style Awards, where Emma will be awarded Woman Of The Year will take place on 13 February. And Beauty and the Beast is out on 17 March.