“EVERY WOMAN IS A UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL PARADOX, BALANCING TRADITION AND INNOVATION, WORK AND LIFE, BEAUTY AND PRACTICALITY.”
- Elise Gabriel, Founder and CEO of Paradox
Paradox is the name of our brand, but what exactly does it mean to embrace a paradox? A “paradox” is a contradiction, and ingrained in the brand is the belief that women have the power to pursue their passions and challenge the status quo. Emma Watson embodies Paradox’s ideology as she balances work, studies, fashion, and activism, acting in films and as an inspiration for women everywhere.
Whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ve probably heard of Emma Watson. Born in Paris and raised in Oxfordshire, England, Watson first gained a name for herself for her iconic role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise. While casting spells and mixing potions on-screen, as a child star, she drew attention on the red carpet, emerging as a fashion icon. Watson expressed her connection to fashion in an interview with Teen Vogue, saying, “I love fashion. I think it’s so important because it’s how you show yourself to the world.”
Despite growing up in the spotlight, Watson kept up her studies and eventually attended Brown University, where she graduated with a degree in English Literature. She continued to star in movies while pursuing her degree, taking a break to shoot the finalHarry Potter films. Lately, she’s made headlines for her role as Meg March in the oscar-nominatedLittle Womenadaptation, alongside big-name movie stars like Meryl Streep and Laura Dern. Ahead of the movie’s release, Watson hid 2,000 copies of the classic novel in 38 countries with hand-written notes from Watson herself, as a part of The Book Fairies’ campaign.
Watson has also used her fame as a platform for social activism, with her work focusing on women’s rights. In 2014, Watson was appointed the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and in 2016 she founded a feminist book club called “Our Shared Shelf.” She has been tremendously involved in the Times Up movement against sexual harassment, launching the #HeForShe campaign in the UK, which advocates for men to act as allies and help achieve gender equality. Her goal is to put an end to sexual harassment in the workplace; on the topic, Watson has stated, “It finally feels like people are realising the scale of the problem, and I’m certainly hopeful that with global standards such as the recent International Labour Organization treaty on harassment at work we’ll start to see a new climate of prevention and accountability on this issue domestically.”
"We are all human after all and at different moments of our learning journeys. We need to feel free to be on those journeys and make mistakes.”
- Emma Watson
On what being a feminist in the modern age means to her, Watson has expressed the importance of withholding harsh judgment and allowing women to make mistakes, saying, “We put such high expectations on ourselves as feminists, on other feminists, and the movement as a whole. It feels like such a relief to take ownership of words like ‘nasty woman’ and ‘bad feminist’. They don’t have so much power this way, and maybe they remind us not to hold ourselves and others to unreasonably high standards – we are all human after all and at different moments of our learning journeys. We need to feel free to be on those journeys and make mistakes.”
Watson is a proponent of environmental issues, supporting sustainable fashion and eco-conscious brands. On theLittle Womenpress tour, Watson donned a Bottletop purse and while in London posted a picture on Instagram with one of their bright blue bags. Sustainability is at the core of Bottletop’s brand, as local artisans in Brazil craft all of their colorful bags using zero deforestation leather and upcycled materials. Bottletop is also a fan of Watson, naming one of their bags after her in 2017.
Although in recent years, it’s rare to find Watson at a red carpet event - she didn’t attend the 2020 Academy Awards, despite starring in an oscar-nominated film - Watson is happy and appreciates her success. Declaring herself as “self-partnered” for Vogue UK, Watson refuses to consider being single negative. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Watson critiqued the societal pressures surrounding age and starting a family, “I was like, ‘Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal… Cut to 29, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious. And I realize it’s because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around. If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.”
Emma Watson is a role model and INSPIRATION on and off the screen. From acting to activism, Watson embraces the complexity of being a woman and refuses to give in to societal expectations, empowering women worldwide and embodying what it means to be a “paradox.”
This profile is the first in a series featuring women who encapsulate contradictions and what Paradox’s brand stands for. What women inspire you? Comment below with any questions or suggestions for future pieces!
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