The Girls of 2014 — No. 4

Vera Wang | J. Mendel | Dior & Misha Nonoo | Balenciaga | Ralph Lauren | Valentino & BLK DNM
It can be challenging for an actress to move forward in her career when she has become defined by an incredibly memorable character. It happens a lot with television actors when audiences see the actors as the characters themselves, rather than separating fiction from reality. Emma Watson is no stranger to this issue, as she famously played the brightest witch of her age, Hermione Granger, in eight Harry Potter films over a decade. The Potter series has come to a close, but to many Watson will always be Hermione.

In 2014, however, she showed that she was so much more than a sweet and smart wizard—she has truly proven herself to be a talented actress and individual; in other words, Watson is no one hit wonder.

What were her biggest moments of 2014, you may ask? She starred in the biblical epic Noah alongside Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, received her degree in English literature at Brown, and recently won the "Best British Style" award at the British Fashion Awards.

But perhaps her most shining moment of the year was her work with the United Nations as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, culminating in her September speech at the United Nations Headquarters advocating for gender equality and the HeForShe Campaign. She spoke eloquently and intelligently on the subject, showing that she is just as inspirational and smart (if not more so) as Hermione. It's so important, too, that we have a young actress who is well-known amongst the adolescent crowd that is setting a wonderful example and spreading a positive message of gender equality. When so many young actresses are quick to distance themselves from the feminist movement, it's good to know that good influences like Watson are proud to take on the label and fight for further equality.

Sure, Watson is chic as ever with her black and white ensembles, edgy jewelry, bright lip colors, and inventive hairstyles; there's a reason why she's in the front row at every major fashion show and winning awards for her incredible style. But more than anything, it is her success as a role model and activist that makes her one of 2014's top It Girls.

Watch Watson's Speech at the United Nations:

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