Emma Watson, Actress and Women's Rights Advocate

Emma Watson at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Georges Biard.

Emma Watson at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Georges Biard.

"In my nervousness for this speech and my moments of doubt, I've told myself firmly: 'If not me, who? If not now, when?'"

Emma Watson is an English actress, a model, and a UN Global Goodwill Ambassador. She rose to fame in 2001 at the age of 11, when she played the brainy, book-loving witch Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies (based on JK Rowling's best-selling books), starring in all eight films over 10 years. She has since said that Hermione shows young girls how to be a warrior, and not just a "delicate princess".

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France in 1990. Her parents, both lawyers, moved to Oxfordshire in England when she was five. From the age of six she knew she wanted to be an actress and played the lead role in a number of local plays. Her theatre coach put her name forward for the Harry Potter auditions and she landed the much-coveted role of Hermione. When the first film was released in 2001, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone, depending on which part of the world you live in), it broke box office records for an opening weekend and Emma rocketed to worldwide stardom.

After the Harry Potter series wrapped in 2011, Emma went on to model for Burberry and Lancôme, studied English literature at Oxford University, and continues to act in movies alongside other A-list actors.

In 2014 she was appointed a UN Global Goodwill Ambassador to help champion equal rights for women. She launched their campaign HeForShe, which calls on men to advocate for gender equality. In a speech at the UN in New York, she said she began to question gender biases from age eight when people started calling her "bossy" and then as a young teen when she felt some of the media sexualised her. 

In 2015, Time Magazine ranked her at #25 in their TIME 100 list of the world's most Influential people, applauding her for her "smart, gutsy take on feminism". 

For more on Emma (and Hermione):