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Why Emma Watson Sometimes Feels Like an "Imposter" In Hollywood

Why Emma Watson Sometimes Feels Like an "Imposter" In Hollywood

By Julie Miller

Emma Watson was only 11 when she made her big-screen debut in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." The actress crested fame and career success so soon after that, even 14 years later, Watson still seems to be coming to grips with that jarring transition.

When Vogue U.K. asks Watson whether acting came naturally to her, the Brown University alum says that she, quite frankly, doesn't even remember.

"It's something I've really wrestled with. I've gone back and I've quizzed my parents. When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted. It was just there ... It was just something I did."

Now that Watson is 25, she is still not quite sure how to react whenever someone offers her acting praise.

"[N]ow when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself," she admits. "I feel like an imposter."

(Watson is not the only successful woman in Hollywood who has alluded to imposter syndrome — a psychological phenomenon in which people don't believe they deserve their successes. Diablo Cody, whose first screenplay, "Juno," earned her an Oscar, has also spoken publicly about the feeling. In a 2013 interview, Cody said, "The only thing that makes me feel better is the realization that I’m surrounded by lots of other imposters.")

Watson also speaks about the game-changing speech on feminism she delivered last September at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Speaking about the night before the speech, Watson confides, "I was in my hotel room, thinking, I can't do this. I was just terrified."

Fortunately, she was able to get in touch with a friend via Skype, who advised, "Go through it again and ask yourself, if you were hit by a bus tomorrow, would you be comfortable with every single line?"

She also speaks about how the speech and her role as U.N. Women goodwill ambassador has given her a sense of purpose in her career.

"Everything clicked into place, in a way that it hadn't before. I understood what I'm here to do and knew where to channel all this energy that has been coming at me. I now feel this sense of peace," she says. "People say that I'm different since I did it."

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Photo Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic