Emma Watson graduated from Brown University over the weekend.
But it’s interesting to note that much older woman standing to her right.
It’s not a continuing education student. That’s a bodyguard, there to mace you, handcuff you, even shoot you if you get too close to the graduate.
The woman, pictured above with badge, gun, mace, ear-piece and who knows what else, stood next to Emma in cap and gown and tried to blend in as much as a burly woman at least twice the star’s age could blend into a field of 20-somethings.
Afterwards she shed her ceremonial disguise to reveal her true self. Emma had a police escort too, officers who didn’t bother to wear grad garb and who wanted to be noticed.
She can’t be like ordinary people, even in a college graduation. In today’s world, stars’ every move must be watched by someone else. A simple walk down the street, an afternoon in a public place, shopping at the mall, things we all take for granted, are either impossible for celebrities or require more coordinating than the Normandy invasion. If you’ve ever seen all the attendants that are needed even to get them from the terminal to their transportation when they’re arriving in LAX, you’ll know it’s all gotten infinitely more complicated—and risky—in this age of Internet and instant communication. It’s a sad fact that will make the life of anyone who reaches for the spotlight very different even years after their fame is over.
Not that Emma’s is anywhere near over. Since she started attending the school in 2009, she’s managed to make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah, and (unfortunately) This Is The End. Not bad for someone who also had to attend classes, write papers and do other work that eventually earned her a degree in English.
Wonder if she was ever able to just hang out like an ordinary college kid whenever she wanted. It was probably tough.
At any rate, on this special day for Emma, there’s only one thing we want to say (besides congratulations, of course).
Plastics, Emma. Plastics.
Even Harry Potter can’t protect her.
Superstar Emma Watson never goes anywhere these days without a bodyguard nearby, even out for a jog or to eat with a friend.
The person tasked with guarding Emma, a retired NYPD cop named Denise Morrone, is paid $150,00 a year. This started after someone snuck onto a movie set where Watson was working in 2012. The person was caught but the incident shook Emma badly. Friends say she’s now constantly nervous in public. So she’s hired round-the-clock protection.
You do that when you’re worth nearly $40 million dollars and you’re 23 years old.
It’s the part of fame you can be sure stars will never talk about. What I can’t imagine is how one lives their life day-to-day with hardly any privacy. No one, no matter who they are, is the same with someone watching as they are alone. It’s just psychological. And now Emma Watson will have this imposing figure (to say the least…google pictures of the woman) near her at almost all times.
Recently Lindsay Lohan, in her Oprah-produced sideshow, said she feels like she’s a prisoner of her own life.
I find it hard to believe Watson can feel much different.
I don’t even like it when guests stay over my house too long. I find I want to inch them to the door after a few hours. But the deal she has made—that many have made these days—with the devil is that they will have lots of money and fame in exchange for a piece of their life, the private piece. You can live with amazing comfort and security, but you can’t live like you want. Not entirely. Don’t tell me they get used to it. They may not even realize how much they don’t.
Recently I wrote about the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, L’Wren Scott, a woman who reinvented herself, starting with her name, moving to Paris right after high school and modeling, rubbing elbows with the jet set until she was one of them. Her sister reports that at their mother’s funeral Scott was surrounded by bodyguards. No one could get near her. At their mother’s funeral. The sister also claims Scott eventually did get enough private time with her to say she envied her sibling for her simpler life. vs. one she felt was no longer her own How much of this is true and how much is embellished I don’t know, but I’ll note one thing: Ms. Scott recently hung herself in her Manhattan luxury apartment.
I’m not saying that Emma Watson is that unhappy, or that L’Wren Scott killed herself because she could no longer go out for a latte without a beefy linebacker four steps behind. But how can having to live the way Ms. Scott and now Ms. Watson have to make your life any happier? It’s a side of fame we never think about, because all the awards shows and movie previews and celebrity interviews aren’t supposed to let us think about them. We never see them, even though they are just inches out of frame.
I remember seeing a behind-the-scenes video of Cameron Diaz on The Tonight Show and during the commercial break the camera pulled away to reveal bodyguards standing at the front of every aisle and around the edges of the stage. I read once that when Claire Danes was doing Pygmalion on Broadway, she was not left unaccompanied even when she went to the bathroom. (I met her after one performance and she was being watched by at least one bodyguard.) Have a friend trail you around everywhere, even in your house, for a week and see how it feels. Now hire a stranger and make it for the rest of your life. Used to it yet?