LOS ANGELES, Feb. 19 (UPI) — Emma Watson will take a break from acting to focus on activism and her own self-growth.
The 25-year-old British actress confirmed as much in an interview with author and activist Bell Hooks for Paper magazine. Watson will spend her year-long hiatus reading, learning, listening and continuing to promote feminism.
“I’m taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really. My own personal development is one,” the star explained. “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,” she added. “I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading.”
Watson was named a U.N. Women global ambassador in 2014 and works closely with the organization’s HeForShe campaign, which promotes gender equality. The actress will further her work by speaking to people around the world, not just “preach[ing] to the choir.”
“I want to try to talk to people who might not encounter feminism and talk to them about feminism,” she shared. “It’s a really interesting job and it’s a really interesting line to tread. I want to engage in the topic with people who wouldn’t normally.”
Watson announced her book club last month by asking fans to help her brainstorm a name. The actress defended feminism at the HeForShe launch in September, saying her efforts are often misconstrued as “man-hating.”
“The more I have talked about feminism, the more I’ve realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” she said. “If there’s one thing I know for certain, is is that this has to stop.”
Watson last appeared in Regression with Ethan Hawke and will next star in The Circle with Tom Hanks. She will also play Belle in Disney’s forthcoming live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.