Reese Witherspoon Is Starting a New Chapter
The actress, producer, and media mogul finally takes a (brief) moment for herself
Reese Witherspoon has described herself as having the energy of “a squirrel who drank coffee.” But just a cursory glance at her laundry list of achievements would seem to indicate that caffeinated-squirrel energy is, well, necessary. At 47, Witherspoon has amassed upwards of 60 acting credits over the past three-plus decades, among them culture-defining roles like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Tracy Flick in Election, as well as her Academy Award–winning portrayal of June Carter Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line. She has also racked up more than three dozen producing credits, most of them under the banner of Hello Sunshine, the sprawling media and production company she cofounded in 2016. Among them: HBO’s bingeworthy Big Little Lies, which took home eight Emmys. She runs an influential book club, with 61 picks becoming New York Times bestsellers, plus a Southern-inflected lifestyle brand, Draper James, which includes clothing and home lines. She is also a mother of three.
“I just look at her and I think, ‘You absolutely exhaust me, just looking at your plate,’ ” Jennifer Aniston, Witherspoon’s costar and coexecutive producer on the Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show, tells me. “She is one of the most highly productive human beings I’ve ever encountered. It’s incredible.”
It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by another Morning Show costar, Julianna Margulies. “I don’t have it in me to do what she does,” says Margulies. “Reese somehow manages to compartmentalize—and she’s good at being in charge.”
In some ways, the breakneck pace and relentless drive seem to mystify even Witherspoon herself. “Gosh, I know. I get really excited about work, so I get tons of nervous energy,” she tells me. “I’m kind of a high-strung person.”
Witherspoon’s close friend and Big Little Lies costar Laura Dern has a kinder, more generous framing for her dizzying output. Dern calls it a “magnificent holy ambition.” Because what propels Witherspoon is a simple mission: centering women’s stories.
Over the past decade, Witherspoon has become something of a crusader for correcting or upending the entrenched Hollywood systems that have excluded and exploited women. “Hello Sunshine was created around the idea that media was largely dominated by male voices and male perspectives, so to be able to create opportunities where women are telling their stories in their own words, you’re just getting a better perspective of the human experience,” she explains. “I think about the limited experience of that expression that my mother had or my grandmother had from artists at that time, because women were so sublimated. It’s just a new time, a new era for women to succeed and excel, and I’m happy to be the rocket fuel they need.”
The beneficence in that project has also proved to be good business: In August 2021, Hello Sunshine was sold to Candle Media, a company run by former top Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, for a staggering $900 million. That’s a lot of rocket fuel.
…….ORDER A COPY TO KNOW MORE………
Magazine has a Bar-Code!! Newsstand Edition!!
“””””PLACE YOUR ORDER WITHOUT ANY HESITATIONS””””””