How Reese Witherspoon Went From “Legally Blonde” to Becoming a Big Movie Boss Fighting for Women’s Rights

In 2019 Reese Witherspoon became one of the 100 most powerful women on the planet. Then, in 2021, she was named the richest actress in the world and now has more than a dozen awards of all kinds, including the coveted Oscar. Moreover, the very lady who was once considered nothing more than “legally blonde”, took the risk of going against Hollywood standards and started making films herself, celebrating women in all their diversity.

Here at CHEERY, we decided to follow the life of our beloved actress and see how she became a symbol of feminism and a guiding light for women around the world.

Reese proved to everyone that you should never be scared of being yourself and following your dreams

face to face / FaceToFace / REPORTER / East News, Gilbert Flores / Broadimage / Broad Image / East News

Little Laura Jeanne Reese was born in 1976 in New Orleans. From the very childhood she was a huge fan of studying, and even now laughingly calls herself a nerd. The future star was always reading, and would even argue with her teachers about the homework being too easy. At the time, theatre club and starring in commercials seemed to be just a hobby.

«I always tended to be outspoken with my opinions. Whether they were appropriate or not»

At age 15, the future recipient of an Oscar, and a few of her friends, went to the set of the movie “The Man in the Moon” to try their hand at becoming an extra. But it didn’t go according to plan. Everyone liked Reese so much, that she was approved for the main role and as a result, even nominated for the prestigious “Young Actor” award.

The young woman started realising that acting, for her, wasn’t just childish fun and games. Later, this would even lead to her dropping out of Stanford University in favour of her acting career. Naturally, her parents, both medical professionals, had a lot of questions about this decision.

She proved first-hand that children do not impede your career


Reese with her first husband, Ryan Phillippe, and their two children, Ava and Deacon.

The actress had her first child, daughter Ava, at the age of 23, and honestly admits that it was scary and difficult for her.

«You can’t go out without thinking of another person. You can’t go get your groceries without thinking about another person. You don’t think about whether you’re cold or hot; you think about your kid and whether they’re cold or hot»

Moreover, the first-time mum was all alone in Los Angeles, with no family or friends. But she found help through yoga classes, which is exactly where she met her future friends, who would become her main support system.

Reese with her second husband, Jim Toth, and three children.

Despite the general expectation that the actress would not be heard from for several years, the birth of Ava only gave her more energy. In 2000, when the baby was only a year old, Reese founded her own media company. Another year later, she became the beautiful lawyer from “Legally Blonde”. The film was a turning point in her career: now the whole world would talk about her, and the nomination for the Golden Globe Award only reinforced her success.

Reese declared that if you don’t like the rules of the game, then you should make up your own

It would seem that at this point Reese had achieved success and would finally be able to relax. But there was something in the film industry that she categorically disagreed with. Everyone seemed to be convinced that viewers wouldn’t be interested in a woman’s story. And so, every script Reese was receiving just seemed to be worse than the previous one: if she’s not just a pretty face, then she’s fighting for the attention of a man.

«I was sick of making movies where I was the only female lead on the set. I was sick of seeing scripts where there was one female role, badly written, and yet every actress in town wanted the part because there was nothing else»
USA TODAY Network / Sipa USA / East News

Lead cast of the series “Big Little Lies”, released thanks to Reese’s media company, receiving the Golden Globe award.

The actress decided to take things into her own hands and started a real revolution. In 2012, she founded her own media company to make films about strong women. On top of this, Reese herself interviewed successful women to find out how they managed to make their dreams come true, and became one of the founders of the project for girls, which focuses on teaching them the art of filmmaking. And, of course, she really did start making films sought after by women all over the world.

Reese at the premiere of her own show dedicated to successful women.

It was Reese who decided to adapt the story of Cheryl Strayed — the writer, who embarked on a solo 1,100-mile trek to learn to live again after her divorce and the death of her mother. The actress herself so brilliantly played the major role that she was even nominated for an Oscar.

“I’ve never seen a film like ‘Wild’ where the woman ends up with no man, no money, no family, no opportunity, but she still has a happy ending”
Todd Williamson / Invision / AP / East News, © Wild / Fox Searchlight Pictures and co-producers

Pictured left, we see Reese with Cheryl Strayed. On the right, Reese plays the role of Cheryl in the film “Wild”.

Reese’s media company released the psychological thriller “Gone Girl”, as well as the series “Big Little Lies”, “The Morning Show” and “Little Fires Everywhere”. She did all this with only one goal in mind — to change the role of women in the modern-day world.

“There was a Columbia University study concluded that a woman with ambitious traits seemed selfish and less worthy of being hired than a man with the same traits, which made me wonder: What the heck is wrong with being ambitious? I have been ambitious all my life. In fact, I vividly remember telling my third-grade teacher that I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Ambition is simply a drive inside of you—it’s having a curiosity or a new idea and the desire to pursue it”

She fights not only for her own rights, but for the rights of all women

Reese Witherspoon speaks at the Global Forum for Women and Justice.

Even in Hollywood, Reese has time to actively battle movie bosses for equal pay and advise young actresses on their contracts — to make sure they’re drawn up fairly.

«She’s one of the most determined people I know. She knew what she was up against and she never put that sword down. She had a message and stories to tell and she was just like, «Uh-uh, you can’t tell me no and you can’t pat me on the head and say, oh, aren’t you cute»
LAWIDJAJA RUDY / SIPA / East News, Invision / Invision / East News

Reese Whiterspoon at Avon Foundation for Women press conference and the 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Reese is also a member of many charities dedicated to protecting the rights of women and children. The actress actively works to ensure that they have access to education and health care around the world, and also supports breast cancer research.

“As a woman and a mother I care deeply about the well being of other women and children throughout the world and through the years, I have always looked for opportunities to make a difference”

Reese Witherspoon at the 2015 Glamour Women of the Year Awards.

Despite the huge amount of publicity and many years of fame, it’s impossible to find a single bad word about Reese. Only reports about yet another person she’s helped, or whose rights she stood up for, as well as hints on what she is planning next.

What do you think of everything Reese has accomplished? Did you know that she was such an active feminist?

Preview photo credit Gilbert Flores / Broadimage / Broad Image / East News, LAWIDJAJA RUDY / SIPA / East News
Cheery/People/How Reese Witherspoon Went From “Legally Blonde” to Becoming a Big Movie Boss Fighting for Women’s Rights
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