My favorite encounter with Emma Watson on the campus of Brown University, where she graduated a year after me last spring, goes like this: She stopped by for one of my spoken-word poetry group’s meetings, where a freshman read a poem comparing his loneliness to waiting endlessly in bed for someone to tuck him in. She raised her hand, as if in class, and told the poet that she can relate and has learned that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself, so if you rely on someone else to tuck you in at night, they probably won’t — but that’s okay, because you can. Following a convention in spoken-word poetry, we all snapped our fingers in appreciation.
My second-favorite memory is of a theater professor asking her “What’s your name again?” and both students on either side of her asking “Me?” I guess Harry Potter wasn’t in this scholar’s repertoire.
Here are some other fond memories Brown alums have of their time in school with Emma Watson.
“I had been in tech week for a play and had lots of work and hadn’t slept properly for a week and basically had become a total loon. I get out on a break for dinner and am hurrying to catch up with everyone else. I see my dear friend walking on Lincoln Field — the first non-theater person I’ve seen in a week. I’m thrilled, scream his name, and run across Lincoln Field and jump on him, propelling us both several feet. I then realize he was not walking alone … and I see a terrified and confused Emma Watson. Pretty sure I scared the shit out of her. I stammered out some explanation and legit BOLTED. I’ve always wondered how my friend managed to explain the incident to her. He is a master of charm, so I’m sure he pulled it off splendidly. He was also carrying her bag. I hope I didn’t break anything.”
-Ellie, Class of 2012
“There was one Halloween that I saw her at Wayland Arch dressed in a skin-tight Catwoman outfit and I thought she looked fabulous.”
-Ash, Class of 2012
“She was at the first day of crew practice. Her eyebrows are super perfect.”
-Anonymous, Class of 2013
“I accidentally auditioned for a play with her once. I was waiting in line to audition for “The Cook,” a department show. The stage manager comes out and says they’re looking for someone to read a particular role. Since I was ready to go, I volunteered. I go inside the room and Emma Watson is waiting for her scene partner. (I was like, really guys?? How unfair to pair me up with a professional!!) We did the scene, and she was friendly and lovely about it. In the end, neither of us got in.”
-Ellen, Class of 2012
“Even though all we have in common is that we’re both white and have brown hair, I’ve actually been mistaken for her a few times, mostly by drunk people, but once by a sober person! On her first Halloween at Brown, a few people screamed ‘Hermione’ at me. One was a big bro leaning out a car window. The best one was this one time she shopped a class I was taking. She came in right before it started and sat right next to me. I remember she participated a lot, but I had trouble understanding her accent. Either that, or I was so excited to hear her talk in real life I just couldn’t process what she was saying. Even the professor was enamored with her, which was funny because he was smoking hottt and had a reputation in the history department for being crazy sexy. Partway through the class, I noticed this girl staring at me across the room, like full-on staring. It make me pretty anxious and I kept checking to make sure there was no food on my face or bugs in my hair or anything. Then after class she came over to me and admitted her friend had whispered to her “That’s Emma Watson across the room!” and she thought she was talking about me! At first she thought, wow! She looks different in person! but then Emma answered a question and she figured out who was who.”
-Anonymous, Class of 2012
“She came to a field hockey game I was working at once with her dad for Parents’ Weekend. It was back whenever she’d cut her hair really short, so I did a double take and was like “Am I really standing next to Emma Watson in a bright red, overly large Brown sports department T-shirt on the roof of the Pitz? Yes, yes I am.” She very adamantly cheered for Brown, though I believe we lost in overtime.”
-Ashley, Class of 2012
“She came to a Swing Club dance lesson once! She was super sweet and laughed at herself when she messed up and was totally willing to dance with all of us during the free dance after the lesson.”
-Anonymous, Class of 2010
“We took History of the Modern Middle East together (which I knew because there were three Emmas in the class, and the professor would always call on “Emma W.” to read quotes on the board). One day when I was particularly out-of-it, I noticed a girl come late to class and sit next to me but didn’t look over. About 15 minutes later, the professor put logistical info on the screen, and I heard someone say in a crisp British accent, ‘I’m sorry, I’m totally blind today, could you tell me what that says?” And I was like, “Oh.” One time, we also disagreed about the Bauhaus style in a modern architecture section.”
-Rachel, Class of 2013
“One time I was waiting in line to order a sandwich at the farmer’s market on Wriston. Once I mostly decided I wanted to order a ham sandwich, someone came up behind me, asking if I was in line. As I started to say no, I turned and saw that it was Emma. She ordered the last ham sandwich, and I was okay with that.”
-Marie, Class of 2012
Oh, and sorry to disappoint, but I can’t confirm that one about a student saying “ten [or three or five as the story sometimes goes] points for Gryffindor!” after she answered a question correctly. Because even the Brown alums who have told me that story got it from Reddit.