Emma Watson toughens up on the cover of British ELLE. Photo: Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine

Just as Emma Watson secures her status as fashion icon, the starlet wants out of the limelight. So, she's fleeing to... New York City.

The "Harry Potter" star, who's rumored to have a fashion line in the works, reveals in the August issue of British ELLE that she's ready to make like Hermione and bury her head in some books: she's set to attend Columbia this fall.

"At the moment I feel like I need to go away and figure out what I want to do and be myself for a bit. I just want to take a step back from it and not rush into stuff," she told the magazine.

"I need university to give me that break. People think because I'm going to university I'm never going to act again, but it's actually me... I want to... figure out how I feel about everything first. Maybe I'll keep acting, maybe I won't. I just want to find something where I feel I have to do this."

Emma Watson in ELLE UK

    "You can't please everyone," Watson told Elle. "That's something I'm learning."

    Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine

    Rock-chic suits the 19-year-old.

    Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine

    Watson says she loves the recent "edgy" Elle covers.

    Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine

    A heavy, "feline" eye, as the makeup artist on set called it, looks all the more striking against handfuls of diamonds.

    Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine

    "I don't want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself," she told the magazine.

    Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine

    Watson says Chanel is one of her favorite labels, and rumors swirl that the teenager is set to design her own line.

    The August issue of Elle hits newsstands July 1st.

    Matthias Vriens McGrath, Courtesy of ELLE magazine



Somehow we doubt NYC will offer the solace and out-of-the-public-eye existence that Watson is seeking. I mean, she's part of the phenomenon known as "Harry Potter."

Watson further explained, "I don't want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself. I want to avoid becoming too styled and too 'done' and too generic. You see people as they go through their career and they just become more and more like everyone else. They start out with something individual about them but it gets lost. Natalie Portman is an exception. I'm in awe of how she's handled herself." (Portman also stepped back from the spotlight to attend Harvard in 1999.)

Regardless of how badly Watson wants to escape, she can't deny how breathtaking she looks in her most recent fashion editorial for British ELLE.

From Chanel to Balenciaga, Watson commands the rocker-chic look -- in black leather and lace and dripping with diamonds.

Check out the behind the scenes ELLE video for more fashion and style details. Watson's newest film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" premieres July 15.