Reese Witherspoon is far more than your average Hollywood blonde! The Oscar-winning actress has managed to create her own unique brand as an author, businesswoman and advocate — all while being a rock star wife and mom! In celebration of the Season 2 premiere of "Big Little Lies" on HBO on June 9, 2019, Wonderwall.com is taking a closer look at the many hats Reese wears. Keep reading to uncover what goes into the business of being Reese…
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Working mother and wife
Above all else, Reese Witherspoon stays grounded with strong family-oriented values. She became a mom at just 23 when she gave birth to daughter Ava, who arrived in 1999 (son Deacon came along in 2003), with first husband Ryan Phillippe. After marrying her second husband, talent agent Jim Toth, in 2011, she welcomed another son, Tennessee, in 2012. "I don't think there's been an hour of my life since Ava was born that I don't think of my kids," Reese told Glamour. "I call it my CNN ticker tape: Is Ava OK? Yes. Is Deacon OK? Yes. Is Tennessee OK? Yes. Back to Ava." Reese juggles being both a dedicated mother and hard-working woman to set a strong example for her kids. "My mom worked, and I think it's good for kids to see women working and being successful," she told InStyle.
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Reese Witherspoon has been acting since she was a teenager but found blockbuster stardom with the role of sorority girl-turned-hotshot lawyer Elle Woods in 2001's "Legally Blonde." She's since mastered the art of rom-coms with movies like "Sweet Home Alabama" and took home an Oscar (and a Golden Globe) in 2006 for her portrayal of musician June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line." Reese earned her second nod from the Academy in 2014 in recognition of her work as hiker Cheryl Strayed in the biopic "Wild." Now, she craves challenging roles that push her to evolve. "When people underestimate me, it's actually a comfortable place for me," she told Vogue. "'Oh, that's what you think I am; well, no, I'm not.' I'm a complex human being. I have many different shades." With such a wide range as an actress, it's no surprise she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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Reese Witherspoon has spent the majority of her acting career making big movies, but she's also tackled the small screen head-on. Like everything else she touches, HBO's novel-to-TV adaption of "Big Little Lies" became an overnight success when it debuted in 2017. The salacious drama was intended to be a limited miniseries, but when diehard fans demanded more, Reese and her co-stars including Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz signed on for a second season (and added Meryl Streep to the cast to boot).
Queen of Apple TV
There aren't many Hollywood stars who've managed to find success on both the big and small screens at the level Reese Witherspoon has. That's why when Apple announced it was venturing into television, it partnered with her for one of its first major projects. Reese is slated to executive produce and star on "Morning Show," a new drama series for Apple co-starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Billy Crudup. With a star-studded lineup in place, the show will be centered around a group of morning news anchors and their team when it eventually hits the air (delays have been reported due to Reese's increasingly jam-packed schedule). Reesem who's reportedly earning $1.25 million per episode for the project, is also producing two other Apple series: a still-untitled Kristen Wiig comedy and "Are You Sleeping" starring Octavia Spencer, which explores the new obsession with true-crime podcasts.
If you thought Reese Witherspoon's work was limited to being in front of the camera, you thought wrong. Noticing a void in the industry for female-driven projects, she started her own production company in 2012 to generate films in line with her girl-power vision. "I'm passionate because things have to change," she said. "We have to start seeing women as they really are on film." Reese's company, Pacific Standard, is responsible for her Oscar-winning film "Wild" and HBO's "Big Little Lies." In 2016, she merged her company into a new venture called Hello Sunshine, an even bigger platform designed to drive powerful female-centered content. She's currently working on a project for the company with "Scandal" star Kerry Washington (a limited series adaptation of Celeste Ng's 2017 best-seller "Little Fires Everywhere" for Hulu).
Overseer of her own TV channel
As if major deals with HBO, Apple and Hulu weren't enough, Reese Witherspoon just had to get a TV channel of her very own. In 2018, her Hello Sunshine VOD (video-on-demand) channel, which features all-original programming that highlights women, became available through AT&T's DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse. Reese created and stars on her first unscripted series for the channel, "Shine On with Reese." In each episode, she has candid conversations with trailblazing women in the spotlight like Dolly Parton and Pink. "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 told The New York Times.
Emmy-winning executive producer
All of Reese Witherspoon's hard work behind the camera bringing female voices to the forefront has started to pay off. In 2017, she nabbed her first Emmy as an executive producer on HBO's "Big Little Lies" (for outstanding limited series — but the show and its talent got a whopping 16 nominations in total). "It's really emotional for me," she told "Entertainment Tonight" after her big win. "I think about the little girls out there who watch women be the architects for their owns stories and write their own stories and produce them and act in them and take the power back." There's no doubt Reese is setting a stellar example for women of the future.
Draper James fashionista
There's still a lot more to Reese Witherspoon than her onscreen successes. Born and raised in Tennessee, she found a brilliant way to incorporate her strong Southern roots into her Hollywood ambition with a unique fashion and lifestyle brand dubbed Draper James. Reese credits her grandparents as the inspiration for her charming company, designed to bring a taste of Southern living to consumers worldwide. "From them I learned to dress and act like a lady, to take pride in my home, to reach out to help a neighbor, and to always invite everyone in for a visit," she said. Since launching in 2015, Draper James has expanded to feature clothing, accessories, shoes, home goods and even wedding invitations, though Reese's line of catchy tote bags for the brand might still be their best-sellers.
Go big or go home… goods! Building on her Draper James lifestyle brand, Reese Witherspoon partnered with housewares emporium Crate & Barrel to design a special line of dinner-party accessories in 2018. "Growing up in the South, I've learned to love presentation and entertaining, which is why I'm so excited for the Draper James x Crate & Barrel co-branded collection," she told People magazine. "It perfectly captures the spirit of Southern get-togethers with a blend of modern style." Reese's elegant tabletop collection, called Indigo Vine, features everything from serving trays to cloth napkins in gingham and floral prints — all inspired by the look of traditional blue-and-white china.
Reese Witherspoon checked off another ambitious item on her to-do list — author — when she wrote her first book. 2018's "Whiskey in a Teacup" explores the traditions she learned growing up in the South and includes homestyle recipes, anecdotes and advice to live by. As for the title? Reese says it was inspired by her grandmother, who always said, "Southern women were like 'whiskey in a teacup.' They may look graceful and delicate on the outside… but are strong and fiery inside." Within weeks, Reese's book made it to the No. 1 spot on The New York Times best-seller list.
Book club founder
Look out, Oprah! Reese Witherspoon took her love of books to the next level by creating her very own book club in conjunction with her production company and media brand, Hello Sunshine. Reese handpicks a different work each month to share with the club's nearly 1 million followers on Instagram. Speaking to her passion for female empowerment, all of her book choices focus on celebrating women's stories.
Not your average BFF
Speaking of Oprah Winfrey, did we mention she's included in Reese Witherspoon's gaggle of celebrity pals? Another element of being Reese includes being able to call some of Hollywood's finest her best friends. In fact, she and Ellen DeGeneres are swept up in an ongoing rivalry over which one is closer to the likes of Oprah and Jennifer Aniston. But there's plenty of stars to go around, as evidenced by Reese's A-list friend group (she basically puts Taylor Swift's squad goals to shame). Her inner circle of besties includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Selma Blair, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Garner and Kate Winslet, just to name a few.
Spokeswoman and global ambassador
Furthering her support for women worldwide, Reese Witherspoon signed on to be a spokeswoman for cosmetics brand Elizabeth Arden. As their Storyteller-in-Chief, she works to produce content for the company that highlights "female-centric stories." Reese was also asked to be the first global ambassador for Avon, an organization that champions women through entrepreneurship. She's since traveled across the world, making powerful speeches at the United Nations in an effort to give women more opportunities. "Doing begets more doing," she explained. "It sounds simple, but I'm a firm believer that action can solve so many worries, and just powering through, no matter what, can give you the confidence you need when you feel like you've got nothing to offer. It's in those moments that we must dig deep, ignore the noise, and lean in."
Devoted children's advocate
Reese Witherspoon is also dedicated to helping children around the globe. She's a board member for the Children's Defense Fund, a non-profit advocacy organization. She also partnered her lifestyle brand, Draper James, with Girls Inc., which works to educate girls on living independent and successful lives. "I'm really moved by their afterschool programs," she told People magazine. "It really gives young women a leg up during critical years." Reese offers periodic sales on her products with 25 percent of the net proceeds going to the organization.
Always on-the-go project developer
If we've learned anything about Reese Witherspoon, it's that she's always dreaming up new ways to challenge herself. Aside from a second season of "Big Little Lies" and projects with Jennifer Aniston and Kerry Washington, her upcoming schedule is booked solid. Reese is producing "A White Lie" with Zendaya, a true-story film about the first black woman to attend Vassar College, and "Lucy in the Sky" starring Natalie Portman as an astronaut. There's also been buzz that she could star in another one of her Hello Sunshine productions, a movie version of the best-seller "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine." But perhaps most exciting of all for pop culture fans is that Reese is slated to reprise her role as Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde 3," which is expected in 2020.