We all may have first heard of Emma Watson when she played the little first-year Hermione in the Harry Potter series back in 2001, but Emma isn’t 11 anymore. She’s become an idol for women everywhere, not only as an incredibly talented actress, but as an Ivy League-educated feminist and UN Goodwill Ambassador whose aim is to make the world a better place for girls and women all over the globe.

Emma turned 25 back in April, and over the past eight months, she’s been changing her own life in a totally different way: By getting to know herself a whole lot better. In a recent interview, Emma opened up to Porter magazine about getting to know the true Emma within.

“[I’ve] spent more than half of my life pretending to be someone else,” she told the magazine. “While my contemporaries were dying their hair and figuring out who they were, I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her.”

This sort of identity crisis can happen for many child actors and actresses, but now, Emma has finally gained the thing she was missing all these years. “Now at 25 for the first time in my life I feel like I have a sense of self that I’m comfortable with,” she continued. “I actually do have things that I want to say and I want to be my most authentic self.”

This sense of self spreads not only to her career, but to everything in her life — including fashion, she explained. She refuses to wear something that she’s not comfortable in just for the sake of looking a certain way.

“When I was younger I remember being told ‘no pain no gain,’ but recently my willingness to wear something that makes me freezing cold or that I can’t walk in has changed,” she told Porter. “I want to feel fabulous and comfortable and sexy and strong and beautiful. And if it’s making you uncomfortable, don’t do it. It’s so sad if you need to go home just because you need to sit down! Moving forward, I’m prioritizing just feeling awesome.”

Makes us want to toss that pair of super uncomfortable heels in the garbage, because “prioritizing just feeling awesome” sounds like something we can *totally* get behind. And part of that, she explained, is being fully aware of the image she’s projecting, and keeping that image authentic, she said.

“I don’t want there to be a big separation between the public and the private person. It’s definitely the harder road to tread, but without a doubt, ultimately the most rewarding,” she told the mag. “It sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, but I’m very interested in truth, in finding ways to be messy and unsure and flawed and incredible and great and my fullest self, all wrapped into one.”

Not a ridiculous thing to say at all. Color us inspired, because we all should be finding ways to love ourselves just as we are — not as how we feel we’re supposed to be. Thanks, Emma, for doing what you do best: Being your true self.

(Image via Shutterstock)