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Why I have a girl crush on... Reese Witherspoon

All bow to the Queen.

ON MARCH 22ND 1976, a blonde, highly strung angel by the name of Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born. “I’ve got three names,” she cooed menacingly, upon emerging from the womb. “And you’ve got three seconds to get me the f**king manager.

Over the next four decades, Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon would abandon her first two names and help create a number of iconic characters, including Elle Woods and Tracy Flick.

At 21, she would meet her future husband Ryan Philippe. By 23, she would have starred in Cruel Intentions, Pleasantville and Election. That same year, she welcomed her first child.

At 29, she would win her first Oscar for her performance in Walk The Line. A few months later, she would file for divorce.

What followed was a fallow period in which she did little of note or creative import. (Penelope and Four Christmases, anyone?) In an 2014 interview, she attributed this to her divorce from Philippe.

You know, you can’t really be very creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs.

Damn straight, Reese.

Instead of fading away into obscurity, however, she dusted herself off in preparation for her second coming. Reese, you see, is nothing if not resilient. (Reesilient? Sorry.)

In 2012, Reese Witherspoon decided to set up her own production company named Pacific Standard.

Her aim? To develop female-driven projects for herself and her peers.

I think it was literally one studio that had a project for a female lead over 30. And I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to get busy.’

Instead of waiting to be cast as Peter Parker’s aunt in Spiderman or whatever grim roles exist for women in their mid-thirties, Reese Witherspoon took action herself and produced Gone Girl and Wild, shepherding both projects from book to screen.

Both films went on to earn serious bank at the box office and garnered three Oscar nominations between them, including a Best Actress nod for Witherspoon.

The Reeseurgence was in full swing.

Reese is currently starring in Big Little Lies, a glitzy whodunnit based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. A female-led miniseries starring Witherspoon alongside Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz, Big Little Lies is that rare thing: female-dominated prestige television.

As she explained to The Hollywood Reporter:

We have to start seeing women how they actually are on film—we need to see real women’s experience—whether that involves domestic violence, sexual assault, romance, infidelity, or divorce.
It explores so many aspects that are relatable to the lives of women; it wasn’t about them being good or bad—they showed every spectrum and every color of women’s lives. It presented a unique opportunity to have so many incredible parts for women in one piece of material.

In an industry that is frequently criticised for not producing enough quality female roles, Reese is to be commended for putting her money where her mouth is and spearheading projects with roles for not only herself, but her peers.

You would be forgiven for thinking Reese seems like nothing more than a puritanical, virtuous hard worker. The type that reminds the teacher that she has homework to collect, if you will.

But the best thing about Reese — and one of the main reasons why I have a girl crush on her — is that underneath her southern belle facade is a mad bitch who is liable to sneak plastic bottles of vodka into the club.

Take, for instance, this delightful aside about her dancing to Lykke Li’s I Follow Rivers with Selena Gomez at the Met Gala.

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 11.37.49 Source: US Weekly

Or the time she enjoyed a good solo bop to I Will Survive at a wedding.

Source: Circle Circle/YouTube

Or the time she mangled the pronunciation of Cara Delevingne’s name in an elevator at the Met Ball.

Source: ABC News/YouTube

Or the time she got herself arrested after getting cheeky with the cops and pull the, “Do you know who I am?” card.

I’m an American citizen!

Source: TMZ/YouTube

See?

She’s the type to argue with a bouncer that her drunk friend “genuinely hasn’t had anything to drink tonight”. She’s the type to unexpectedly produce a naggin from her bag in the women’s bathroom and share it with strangers in the queue. She’s the type to order a prosecco at brunch even if it’s not really that type of brunch. She’s the type to horse into a kebab at the end of the night without spoiling her lipstick.

She’s a bloody legend.

Reese Witherspoon contains multitudes. She’s a hard worker. She’s one of the most talented actresses of her generation. She’s a feminist. She makes incredibly basic t-shirts that say things like Love Y’All and Goodness Gracious. She’s partial to a generous glass of wine. She almost certainly curses while driving.

In other words, she’s human. She’s enjoyed high highs and endured low lows. She’s reinvented herself and created her own luck. Her can-do attitude and just-keep-on-trucking outlook are a lesson to us all.

Have a glass of wine with us, Reese?

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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