Why We Don't Hear About Emma Watson's Brother Anymore

Emma Watson has been a fixture in Hollywood since the tender age of 9, when she auditioned for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. For most of her time in the public eye, she's been flying solo, but for a year or two at the height of her Harry Potter fame, it looked like celebrity-grade talent might actually run in the Watson family. Her brother, Alex Watson, proved to be a fantastically photogenic young man who nearly stole the spotlight from his sister when he made his modeling debut alongside her in a 2010 campaign for Burberry. 

With gorgeous good looks, an adorable smile, and a famous family name, Alex seemed like a shoo-in to become just as big a star as Emma. He even told the Daily Mail in 2010 that he had ambitions for an acting career of his own "after university." As of this writing, the years have rolled by, and Alex has virtually disappeared from the public eye. Let's find out why we don't hear about Emma Watson's brother anymore?

Do two modeling gigs count as "a career?"

The 2010 Burberry print campaign featuring Alex and Emma Watson side-by-side was supposed to be Alex's first big break in what we assumed would be a long and storied modeling career. Smoldering in a trench coat, Alex was fresh-faced, perfectly posed, and definitely ready for the big time.

Bizarrely, the Burberry shoot was more or less the last time anyone put Alex in front of a camera. Although he booked a gig here and there during that year, including as a spokesmodel for the Silhouette eyeglass company, the budding young model never bloomed into a continual presence on the scene. Instead, he stopped working in the business entirely, and has left almost no public trace of what he's been up to. 

He probably focused on his education

There are reports online that Alex Watson enrolled at the University of Bristol to study "politics and philosophy" after graduating from high school, but we're unable to confirm whether or not that's true. It would make sense, given his own self-professed academic inclinations, not to mention the fact that higher ed runs in the family — his sister Emma got her degree in English literature at Brown University between Harry Potter movies

If he did pursue a bachelor's degree, that doesn't mean he'll never go back to modeling and/or transition to acting like his sister. However, it also wouldn't be a surprise to find that his disappearing act is the result of a profound lack of interest in a life in showbiz. 

We do know from an interview with the Independent, conducted just before the start of his senior year in high school, that his areas of academic focus at the time were "debating" and "politics." That speaks to a serious intellect, one that might not be satisfied by spending his career-making early years mugging for a camera or striding down a runway.

Does he still have what it takes?

Another possible reason for Alex Watson's disappearance from the modeling scene: He doesn't `really look like the male incarnation of his sister anymore. Alex was a boyish 17 year old when he caught the eye of Burberry's casting director in 2010, and with his striking resemblance to Emma, the camera loved his face just as much as it still loves hers.

But the few photos taken of him since then suggest that the years have softened, rather than sharpened, those picture-perfect features — which doesn't make him any less good-looking, but does limit his options in an industry where chiseled cheekbones and angular jaws are the standard. In recent pics, like this one taken at a wedding, Emma's brother looks less like a fashion plate and more like a regular-grade handsome man.

He's a ghost on the internet

In these hyper-connected times, any aspiring celeb worth his salt needs to be active on at least one social media platform, whether he's sharing micro-thoughts on Twitter, connecting with fans via Snapchat, or blowing up Instagram with best-life selfies, Alex Watson isn't just surprisingly inactive on the internet for a semi-famous person; he's a ghost, even by ordinary standards.

Although there are several unverified Instagram and Facebook accounts attributed to Alex, it is unclear if he ever really committed to the whole social media scene. One such Instagram account that was set up in his name was only active for about six weeks in total before ceasing updates entirely in 2012, and a Facebook page attributed to him was a similar story. Since 2013 or so, there hasn't been so much as a digital peep from Mr. Watson — and between his own personal radio silence plus the total lack of a publicist or promotional machine making the effort on his behalf, it's almost like he's ceased to exist.

Even his diehard fans don't seem to care anymore

When Alex Watson first emerged as a person of interest on the public scene, he had no shortage of adoring fans — who were also avid followers of the #alexwatson hashtag wherever it popped up. Even after it became clear that Alex had dropped out of sight, his fanbase kept the love going for a good long time, revisiting his various modeling shots and drooling over every increasingly-rare sighting of the younger Watson in the wild.

But even the most devoted Watsonians eventually stopped updating their feeds after years went by without Alex reemerging from his self-imposed Hollywood exile. After all, you can only post so many throwback pics from that one Burberry campaign before it all starts to feel stale. As of this writing, the only fan account still active on Twitter was @AlexWatsonFans, where roughly 3,000 followers gather for nostalgic flashbacks to Alex's brief moment in the spotlight and collectively "Awwww" over the way he once almost ate a puppy.

Has he been hiding in plain sight?

As a model and music video star with a mega-famous sister, you'd think Alex Watson would make regular appearances in the paparazzi photo pool — but these days, you're more likely to see a shot of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster than you are of Emma Watson's handsome baby bro. In fact, Alex hasn't been photographed for years, except in the company of Emma.

Sightings of him are so rare that the last public snap we could find was on a random fan site that claims to have gotten a pic of Alex and Emma together in Bristol, UK in 2015. Even then, Alex's baggy sweatshirt and unkempt facial scruff suggest he wasn't especially concerned about being camera-ready for the occasion. Could it be that since it's been so long since his brief modeling stint, to the paparazzi he actually qualifies as just a regular joe now? Would we even recognize him if we saw him?

Student first, model second

behind-the-scenes interview from a 2010 shoot for the eyeglasses company Silhouette includes a revealing moment when Alex Watson introduces himself as "a student, and part-time model as well." In other words, even at the tender age of 17, and at the moment when his modeling career was legitimately taking off, Alex thought of himself first and foremost as a regular kid — and of modeling as just something he did on the side.

Watson even reiterates his position again toward the end of the video when he says "my education is coming first, and I want to go to university — definitely." The guy in this video isn't even hinting at a career in the entertainment business, like he did in the aforementioned Daily Mail interview in which he said he'd like to follow in his sister's footsteps "after university." 

Even so, Watson clearly enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame before moving on to new, normal things.

Staying in Emma's shadow is NBD

At this point, it seems more likely than not that Alex Watson's time in the spotlight was a blip on the radar, rather than the start of a lifestyle in the spotlight. Perhaps everyone — present company included — read a bit too much into Watson's then-teenage sentiment that he thought being famous sounded cool. In spite of that, it's been nearly a decade since his last "celebrity" endeavor, and despite being the sibling of a serious Hollywood star, nearly every other public statement he's made has indicated that he saw show business as a weird trip rather than a lifelong pursuit. 

Even after getting tapped to appear in the Burberry campaign that put him on everyone's radar for one exciting year, he told the Independent, "I never thought I'd have the potential to do anything like that or thought about myself in that way. So it is pretty surprising."

Add to that Alex's total lack of internet presence and his quiet departure from the modeling scene sometime after 2011, and a picture emerges of a guy who was grateful for the opportunity to get fancy in front of a camera — but who's just as grateful now for the chance to live his life like a regular guy from here on out.