Emma Watson is no stranger to celebrity. The actress has been in the public eye ever since she scored the role of Hermione Granger at age 10. While the spotlight has given the actress more roles and a social justice platform, it has also made her more vulnerable.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Watson revealed why she opts out of selfies with fans — it’s a matter of being tracked.
“For me, it’s the difference between being able to have a life and not,” she said. “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 of a photograph, Watson prefers to offer fans an autograph or a conversation.
“I’ll say, ‘I will sit here and answer every single Harry Potter fandom question you have but I just can’t do a picture.'”
Watson’s concern is completely understandable considering the intensity of the Harry Potter fandom — which often borders on obsession.
“I have met fans that have my face tattooed on their body. I’ve met people who used the Harry Potter books to get through cancer. I don’t know how to explain it, but the Harry Potter phenomenon steps into a different zone,” she said. “A big part of me coming to terms with it was accepting that this is not your average circumstances.”
Through living and learning, Watson has crafted a carefully maintained balance between her private and public lives, and has learned to be discerning of when and how to connect with fans.
“I have to carefully pick and choose my moment to interact. 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.”