Check out Emma Watson on the cover of the new issue of ELLE. I really love this cover. Is it because I’m seeing it as a throwback to the 80s? It’s the hair. And the denim shirt. For some reason Cindy Crawford came to mind. Then I looked through some of the other shots and it was Natalie Portman who I couldn’t stop thinking about. They both have that “eternal girl” quality. Did you know that Portman was Baz Luhrmann’s first choice to play Juliet in Romeo & Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio but she seemed so young in rehearsals that it looked like Leo was molesting her? Those are her words, by the way.

"Fox said it looked like Leonardo DiCaprio was molesting me when we kissed.”

I feel like Emma senses she might have the same challenges. She tells ELLE that:

“There are all these actresses who have emerged in the last year or two, and they get to emerge as this complete human being. And I’m so jealous!"

It’s true. Some people can still only see her as Hermione Granger. And they only want to see her kissing Ron Weasley.

On the subject of kissing, this was my favourite quote from the interview:

“I remember reading this thing that Elizabeth Taylor wrote. She had her first kiss in character. On a movie set. It really struck me. I don’t know how or why, but I had this sense that if I wasn’t really careful, that could be me. That my first kiss could be in somebody else’s clothes. And my experiences could all belong to someone else.”

Exactly. That’s a perfect analysis of how f-cking weird it is for child stars and why they can’t help but struggle with identity. Imagine something as precious as a first kiss being on set? Surrounded by lighting technicians and crew members and having to have it choreographed? “Angle your head an inch to the right. Part your lips exactly like this. Lower your eyelids but don’t completely close them. Don’t let your tongue dart out too quickly.” And all of it with someone you might not even like. Or you don’t know if you like. All you know is that they’re being paid to kiss you and you are being paid to kiss them back. It’s a trip. Of course it shapes them. How could it not? As she says, those experiences belong to someone else. To a character. Who may or may not be real. At that age then, how do you ever develop the skills to distinguish between what’s real and not? Or begin to even want to?

To go back to Watson and Portman though, both went back to school after and between acting, perhaps recognising the need to be able to see for themselves a life beyond Hollywood. I believe it’s one of the reasons Portman has never f-cked up. And that might serve Watson in the same way.

Click here for more of Emma Watson in ELLE.