In a new cover story for Vanity Fair's March 2017 issue, Emma Watson explains why she recently started refusing selfie requests from fans. According to Emma, it's all about security, something she's long fought for in her career since her Harry Potter days. "For me, it's the difference between being able to have a life or not. If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they've created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 meters. They can see what I'm wearing and who I'm with. I just can't give that tracking data."
Instead, Emma suggests, ask her for an autograph or literally anything about Harry Potter. "I have to carefully pick and chose my moment to interact," she tells VF. "When am I a celebrity sighting versus when am I going to make someone's freakin' week? Children I don't say no to, for example."
Emma with a fan at the London premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows in 2011.
With social media, Emma explains, her battle for privacy and security has been harder than some actresses before her. "People will say to me, 'Have you spoken to Jodie Foster or Natalie Portman? They would have great advice for you on how to grow up in the limelight.' I'm not saying it was in any way easy on them, but with social media it's a whole new world. They've both said technology has changed the game… Privacy for me is not an abstract idea."On that note, Emma also offers few details about her boyfriend in the interview.
"I want to be consistent: I can't talk about my boyfriend in an interview and then expect people not to take paparazzi pictures of me walking around my home. You can't have it both ways."
She adds that the details of Hollywood relationships ultimately become part of the actor or actress' press circuit for film projects, and it's a part of the conversation she wants to avoid. "I would hate anyone that I were with to feel like they were in any way part of a show or an act." (As Derek Blasberg, who conducted the interview, notes, Emma is dating a handsome man named Mack, who works in tech in Silicon Valley).
Elsewhere in the interview, Emma gets real about her love of books, that time she had a pixie haircut ("It's the sexiest I've ever felt"), and why she brought both her mom and Gloria Steinem to watch the final cut of Beauty and the Beast. "I couldn't care less if I won an Oscar or not if the movie didn't say something that I felt was important for people to hear."
Of her version of Belle, Emma says that while Belle is "absolutely a Disney princess," she's "not a passive character—she's in charge of her own destiny." There's also a lot more to appreciate about 2017 Belle, thanks to Emma. "I was like, 'The first shot of the movie cannot be Belle walking out of this quiet little town carrying a basket with a white napkin in it… We need to rev things up!'" Watch out for these things, including Belle's own invention of a "modern washing machine that allows her to sit and read," a tool belt attached to her blue-and-white dress, and a pair of riding boots, when the film opens March 16.
Read the full Vanity Fair profile here.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.