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08/17/2012 at 03:00 PM ET

emma watson 1 300x400 How Fashion Helps Emma Watson Separate Herself from Hermione
Courtesy The New York Times Style Magazine

Emma Watson was just 9 years old when she starred in the first Harry Potter film. Now, at 22 and with the franchise behind her, she’s determined to create her own identity outside of her most famous role.

“I was always either studying or filming,” Watson tells T: The New York Times Style Magazine when asked why she waited a while to take on a major role after Potter. “I didn’t have time to go off and do other films or other things to sort of show people that, Oh she is not just Hermione, she is an actress and she can go and do these other parts and roles.”

The British star graces the cover of the Women’s Fashion Fall 2012 issue of T to promote her first big project sans Hermione, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, out in September.

She also admits that along with unexpected movie choices, she uses fashion to distinguish herself from Hermione. Watson explains that she decided to take on beauty and fashion campaigns (including her Lancôme and Burberry gigs) to further differentiate herself from her brainiac character.

emma watson 2 300x400 How Fashion Helps Emma Watson Separate Herself from Hermione
Courtesy The New York Times Style Magazine

And it seems the starlet has quieted the naysayers in the fashion world, too: she continually nabs spots on best dressed lists (just flash back to that Valentino mini she wore to the 2012 BAFTAs) and in T, brings to life a Ralph Lauren menswear-inspired ensemble (top) and a dramatic, Twiggy-esque beauty look (bottom).

For more of Watson’s interview and photo shoot, click over to the NYTimes.com or pick up the issue, on newsstands this weekend. Tell us: Do you think Watson has done a good job of creating her own identity?

–Jennifer Cress

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