They are wondering, in the rooms she shared at Brown University on Rhode Island, what their most famous student plans to do with her ‘things’.
A jumble of books and clothes — cream Prada pumps, suede Louboutin platforms and piles of Agnes B casual wear — remain. The girls in her dorm, who include Scout Willis, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, expect she will send someone to pack.
They are already saying how much they will miss Emma Watson, the unassuming star of the Harry Potter films, who bunked down in a single bed in a shared room for the past year and a half.
She started studying history at the college in September 2009, and was on course to complete her degree in 2013. That has been deferred, she says just by a few terms, though many believe she won’t be back at all.
And the reason, it seems, is that Emma — 21 next month — is confident she can put the Potter films behind her and become a star in her own right.
This week, it was announced she has been anointed the face of Lancome, succeeding Julia Roberts. It is a huge role that will not only net her millions, but ensure her face is on billboards all over the world. Lancome said: ‘Emma Watson has become the icon of her generation.’
She is emerging from her shell. After a couple of years of uncertainty, Emma no longer feels crushed by her £30?million wealth or embarrassed by her success.
After ten years of playing Hermione Granger and, she says, sacrificing her childhood and normality on the altar of the Warner Bros agenda, she was ready to give it all up. That, though, has changed.
She’s learning to enjoy the pleasures of success. You’ll see her taking a spa break with friends in Thailand and propping up the bar in top London clubs.
One who knows her socially said that all her friends know to never mention Harry Potter. ‘She pulls a bad smell face if you even say the name,’ she said.
Come Bafta season this year, she was the most flirtatious of all the starlets, parading in a series of carefully chosen outfits, and working the room at the best parties.
Film mogul Harvey Weinstein, the man who helped to make the careers of Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett, was among those she dazzled.
‘For ten years she has been this schoolgirl in the Harry Potter films and now you see her as a woman for the first time,’ he said.
‘She has an elegance about her — she looks like Jean Shrimpton — plus she has a gift for comedy and drama, and we’re just starting to see her range. I feel we’re going to work together a lot in the future.’
This week, her starring role in a new film is to be announced — possibly a project with Weinstein.
She has already filmed a small part in My Week With Marilyn about Marilyn Monroe, starring Michelle Williams, and from May she will be shooting the film Perks Of Being A Wallflower.
Over the summer, she will have to fit in a final hit of promotional activity for the last instalment of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows — a task which, it seems, may not fill her with delight.
For Emma has moved on. When the cast and crew held a wrap party after shooting the final set of re-shoots around Christmas, she didn’t go. Co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint did.
While the three key actors were genuinely good friends during the making of the early films, the bond seems to have loosened considerably during the last movie. Perhaps there was resentment over the way Emma took her time signing for the final two films.
Her contract came up for renewal in 2006, but while Daniel and Rupert signed for five years without a second thought, she admitted in an interview this year that she ‘agonised’ before deciding that she would, and was considering giving up being an actress.
So why the sudden change of heart about her film career? People who know Emma say it’s simply a question of having had some time to catch her breath — she needed to get some space away from the Potter juggernaut and to decide whether she wanted a life in the public eye.
Friends say the revival of her career ambition is also partly down to the sage counsel of her father, lawyer Chris Watson.
An Oxford graduate who works at a senior level for one of the larger London firms, he has supported her every step of the way. He has often been with her on publicity junkets and film premieres around the globe. She adores him, and takes his advice on everything. Significantly, his views were the first she sought on that haircut — the pixie crop she had to celebrate the end of her Potter years.
She says: ‘He said: “Don’t get carried away. You’re not Audrey Hepburn yet.” But he loves it now, and so he’s eating his words.’
He and Emma’s mother Jackie were divorced in 1995. He has since remarried, to Elizabeth Green, and they have three further children, Toby and twins Nina and Lucy. Their North London home is a five-minute stroll from Emma’s.
Her one financial splurge — a £1?million ski chalet in France — was made with her father in mind. He is a passionate skier.
Those who know her from the Potter days say that, even though she lived with her mother, her father’s influence was paramount.
She was, though, troubled from time to time by their ‘wringingly awful’ divorce.
And it was even whispered that her parents had opposing views on whether she should make the Deathly Hallows films at all.
‘All I can tell you is that there was a lot of unhappiness connected with the parents,’ says a Potter source.
Will she ever go back to university? She says she ‘fully intends’ to return to Brown and her academic career is ‘very important’ to her.
But there is rather a lot of cynicism about that on the Ivy League campus, where it has also been noticed that she chooses to hang out with only the wealthiest and best-connected girls.
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