Emma Watson is no doubt one of the most popular actors in Britain. Having begun acting in the Harry Potter franchise in 2001 as Hermione Granger, Emma Watson has appeared in all the Harry Potter films till 2011 and gained a considerable number of loyal fans. Having evolved from that, she has starred in numerous other big budget movies, with the latest being Colonia. Between 2011 and 2014, she decided to go back to college after taking a gap year in 2009 to play in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The college of her choice was Brown University, which is located in Providence, Rhode Island.
However, as one of the most popular celebrities in the country, Emma Watson had to deal with the problem of trying to appear normal even to fans who were studying at the university. But she was quick to adapt, and according to an online forum on Quora dedicated to students who studied with her while at Brown, she tried hard not to let her celebrity status interfere with her life on campus.
One of the steps Emma Watson took to safeguard herself against this was to avoid taking autographs. According to one member, it must have been a bit trying for her as she was the talk of the university at the start of her first semester. He also recalls watching Emma being approached by a guy who seemed to request a picture or autograph. She seemed slightly annoyed by this, but politely declined. Apparently, she was with a group of students and stated something in the lines of “just trying to be a normal student.” According to the alumni who did not identify himself, it was rumored amongst Brown students that such incidences were frequent.
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) September 13, 2015
However, according to a forum member named Nicholas of class 2010, students at Brown went out of their way to respect her privacy and restrained themselves from treating her like a celebrity. He also spoke of an incident where he and his mates tried to recruit Emma Watson into the Men’s Rowing team as it seemed a great strategy to intimidate opponents. The following was his statement in regard to this.
“I kid you not, we actually tried to recruit her for the Men’s Rowing team. She was the perfect height/size…to be a coxswain.”
He and his friend decided to approach her and her friend about it and she accepted. To his surprise, Emma Watson turned up for a ride to practice a couple of days later. He described the experience as follows.
“I’m so stupid excited that I call ‘shotgun’ as we’re jumping in the car. In hindsight, it was a bad move on my part, since she’s now squeezed in the middle of the back with two large behemoths (my beloved friends). This was also the first time I saw my friend drive with both hands on the wheel. I could see him shaking and afterward he mentioned, ‘God forbid I crash that car with her in it’.”
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) November 5, 2015
Students were however hesitant to approach her, as revealed by one member who shared his experience, saying, “When you’re in that kind of environment, you’d be the one to stand out if you were to approach her in a fan-like way, and no one wanted to be that person.”
However, according to a guy named Chen, a close friend of hers confided in him that the effort to always try and keep a safe distance sometimes made Emma Watson feel lonely while at the university.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]