Legally Blonde and Honestly Brilliant

"What? Like it's hard?" Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods asks in response to the question of her admission to Harvard Law School.

Ever since 2001 when Legally Blonde catapulted Reese Witherspoon into stardom. she has been shaking things up in Hollywood—on and off screen. Reese approaches accepting roles with a certain sentiment: "My whole drive to be an actor was finding roles that I really believed represent modern women, the struggles that we deal with. Women who are strong and capable and in control of their own lives." It all began with her breakout role of Elle Woods, a blonde bombshell taking Harvard Law School by storm. In this role, Elle’s intelligence was constantly put into question, something Reese herself has struggled with. Witherspoon says, "Being a Southern person and a blonde, it's not a good combination. Immediately, when people meet you, they think of you as not being smart." Sure, Reese may be another beautiful blonde woman in Hollywood, but she's got one thing really going for her—her brilliance. 

Reese Witherspoon may seem like another pretty face on screen; however, it's her strategic casting and smart storytelling that really sets her apart from the rest. To me, a celebrity is brilliant depending on how they use their fame, and Reese is using hers to instigate change in Hollywood, placing power in the female narrative. Time and time again, Reese continued to stay true to her word in taking on strong female roles (think June Carter in Walk the Line, and Cheryl Strayed in Wild). However, it's the hard work behind the scenes that's really making an impact.

Ever read Gone Girl, the New York Times bestseller thriller? Guess who produced that movie. Yep, it was our good friend Reese. In November of 2016, Reese joined with Otter Media to form Hello Sunshine, a production company inspired by telling female-driven stories on film, TV, and digital platforms. She takes well-respected female-led narratives and molds them into movie magic. “People are desperate for this kind of storytelling about the female heroes that have always been in the shadows and now are coming into the light,” she said. Witherspoon is doing something extremely important for this day and age: putting females in the center of the screen, and not just the big screen. 

Reese also brings girl power to your HBO accounts. She is a proud executive producer of the binge-worthy show Big Little Lies. “It’s been an incredible year for women on television,” Reese Witherspoon beamed as she and her costars accepted an Emmy for the limited series. “Can I just say, bring women to the front of their own stories, and make them the hero of their own stories.”

Witherspoon plays the role of Madeleine Martha Mackenzie, just one of the three female protagonists in the show. Madeleine, a witty and sassy mother of two showcases her loyalty to her family and friends. Big Little Lies has won a plethora of awards this season, and at such award ceremonies the women involved get the chance to speak on behalf of their work. “The power of television, it has astounded us. As much as the show had the entertainment value, it was about issues,” Nicole Kidman, Witherspoon’s costar, said referring to her role as Celeste Wright, a wife in an abusive relationship. Reese, through her producing, takes on a heavy narrative in order to shine a light on topics to create an open dialogue during this difficult day and age.

Reese has also made a new impressive addition to the Big Little Lies cast three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep. Apparently, the well-respected actor replied to Witherspoon’s offer via email: “I’ll never forget the day I got that email. I called Nicole and just started to cry.”

So what’s next with Witherspoon? How about a badass female cast in Disney's adaptation of the novel, A Wrinkle in Time? The cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and (wait for it). . . Oprah. On March 9th, catch this killer cast in theaters everywhere, proving yet again the power of females.

Although we originally met Reese Witherspoon as a blonde bombshell turned aspiring lawyer named Elle, she has since used her rising fame and powerful personality to tell women’s stories in Hollywood. So, maybe Elle and Reese aren’t so different after all-- blonde, beautiful, and, frankly, not too far from brilliant.


Journalistic Credit:

NY Times’s “Reese Witherspoon’s Second Act: Big-Time Producer”

Entertainment’s “Reese Witherspoon makes plea for women to tell their own stories after Big Little Lies win”


Photo Credit