Rupi Kaur Talks to Emma Watson

Actress Emma Watson recently sat down with Canadian poet Rupi Kaur for an in-depth conversation on taking chances, womanhood, feminism and art. Watson posted her talk with Kaur on the social media channels for Our Shared Shelf,’ her online book club in which she selects books by women with strong feminist and human rights themes.

We’ve rounded up some of the things we learned while watching this interesting conversation below.

Sometimes you have to take the plunge

When Kaur first decided to self-publish her poetry, she was met with overwhelming resistance to the idea from her inner circle. “Everyone was like, ‘This is a bad idea. No one is going to take you seriously. The moment you self-publish you are just locking the doors and no one is going o take you seriously,’” Kaur recalled. “And I thought that, that’s fine. Because no one is taking me seriously anyway.”

Kaur’s family’s story has deeply shaped her views

The poet revealed that her early life and hearing stories from her father about what it was like before he left India left an indeliable mark on her.

“He’s a refugee, so I would hear what he went through back home in India and what he had to do to save his life,” Kaur, who was born in India and came to Canada with her family as a toddler, shared. “I remember being five years old and seven years old and being at protests all over downtown Toronto. And I had no idea what was I was saying, but my dad would say, ‘This is what is going on. There are things called genocides and there are things called this. We’re going to go up there.”

She credits her father’s commitment to standing up for his fellow refugees and other displaced people as a big reason she became involved in the activism community herself as an adult. When Watson described such activism as a sort of “fearlessness,” Kaur demurred. “That was sort of my norm,” she replied.

Fame is one of the hardest things to talk about

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a conversation between two superstars will also mention the ways that fame changes one’s life. “I think it’s a really weird experience,” said Kaur when Watson asked about how poetry superstardom has changed her. “No one really asks me that question and I never talk about it because I’m like ‘Nobody wants to hear me complain about that.’”

Kaur does go on to say that “it’s a weird unnatural justaposition in your body and I haven’t figured out yet. But I know that I need to write about it.

You can watch the whole conversation below.

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