Emma Watson to take a year-long break from acting to focus on 'personal development'

The actress spoke with feminist author Bell Hooks about her decision to take a break 

Emma Watson has announced plans to take a year-long hiatus from acting to focus on her “personal development” and feminist activism. 

Watson made the announcement during a conversation with feminist writer and social activist Bell Hooks for Paper Magazine, where the pair discussed female identity and the representation of women in modern times. 

Watson has become an influential proponent of feminism in the last year after launching her gender equality HeForShe campaign. Hooks, the iconic author of Feminism is for Everybody, continues to write and teach in the US. 

Watson, a UN ambassador who recently set up her own feminist book club, said her focus would be on reading and learning about feminism. 

"I'm taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really. My own personal development is one. I know that you read a book a day. My own personal task is to read a book a week, and also to read a book a month as part of my book club. I'm doing a huge amount of reading and study just on my own. I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realised that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading. That I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I'm on. I'm reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening." 

In their conversation, Hooks also highlighted the identity of Hermione, Watson’s character in the seven Harry Potter films. She voiced her frustration at Hermione’s development within the film to something like a “suburban housewife” and highlighted the “passive” image of her standing at King’s Cross station in one of the final scenes. 

But Watson insists Hermione’s character goes onto to do more than be a housewife. "She goes on to have a career,” she said. “And she does go on to do good and interesting things.”