Pick up a copy of the May issue of Allure magazine for the full version of this interview:
Reese Witherspoon Explains Why She’s Proud of Her Gray Hair and Fine Lines
The Hollywood powerhouse serves up some big little truths — on aging, self-involvement, and the beauty ritual that changed her life.
Reese Witherspoon is one of those famous people who serves as a pop culture benchmark for anyone watching movies in the last 20-or-so years. Just like there’s a Spice Girl for everyone, there is a Reese Witherspoon for everyone (or at least for most relatable stages in your life) — naive heroine Annette in Cruel Intentions, the plucky and determined Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, a triumphant June Carter in Walk The Line, and of course, the indomitable Madeline Mackenzie in Big Little Lies. The Academy Award-winning actress has lived many lives, but in all of them her beauty journey has evolved to become the Reese Witherspoon who gave Allure’s beauty director this 15-minute interview, beginning here.
The best beauty tutorial
“My makeup artist, Molly R. Stern, taught me how to put on fake eyelashes. She hates that I put on a full strip, but I’m from the South — I love a good ol’-fashioned drugstore strip lash. I pop it on, put a little liquid liner over it, and I feel like my eyes look more open. I made a mess the first time, but then Molly showed me how to make it better. Always put liquid eyeliner over it.”
Her biggest beauty regret
“In the ’90s, we plucked our brows really thin. I said “we” — at least I did. And it just looked awful. Thank God, they grew back, but, I mean, who knows what they might look like now if I hadn’t plucked them into oblivion! ”
The never-again lipstick color
“Brown. Like, dark brown. It looked terrible, and it was immortalized on my driver’s license photo when I was 16 years old.”
The One Product That Transformed Reese Witherspoon’s Skin
Picking a single favorite Reese Witherspoon look from the past 20 years of her Hollywood fame is like picking your favorite dessert, or lipstick, or breed of puppy, or child.
Those retro waves at the 2001 Golden Globes? To die for. Her hot pink lip at the 2016 Oscars? When are we not trying to recreate? Those perfect bangs at the 2007 Golden Globes? We bring a picture of them to our hairstylist every four weeks.
Witherspoon, an Elizabeth Arden spokesperson, knows a lot about beauty from her years as a red carpet icon — which is why we were thrilled to sit down with her this week to talk all things hair, makeup, and skin. She walks us through her biggest beauty regrets, favorite budget buys, and the changing expectations around aging in Hollywood, ahead.
What is the best investment you made for your skin?
“Well, I have to say, I started using the [Elizabeth Arden] Retinol Ceramide Capsules like a year ago, and I had never used retinol before and it has really changed the tone of my skin. I used to have a really uneven tone.”
Do you have any favorite products you can grab from a CVS?
“Cetaphil. I use the face wash, and I travel with it. I like the Revlon eyelash curler; it’s as good as any eyelash curler I’ve ever used. I love drugstore makeup, too. I remember going as a little girl to the drugstore down the street from my grandmother’s house, and I’d spend hours looking at nail polish and lipstick and blush.”
What are your favorite beauty splurges?
“I had a facial the other day and it was so nice. I thought, I need to do this more often, so I might start getting facials. It was this “cryofacial” thing, where she used a cold thing on my face. It was fabulous.”
Over the years, do you have any beauty regrets? Any look from the past where you think back and cringe?
“I think in the ’90s when we did the thing where you had brown lipliner that was darker than my lipstick — that was an odd beauty moment. For some reason, I just took that one a long way. We also plucked our eyebrows really severely. I really wish I hadn’t plucked my eyebrows, but thank god they grew back.”
Reese Witherspoon On Fighting For Gender Equality With Elizabeth Arden
Reese Witherspoon is no stranger to fighting for a cause, especially when it comes to women. The actor, producer and entrepreneur is also a co-founder of Time’s Up, so as the Storyteller-in-Chief of Elizabeth Arden, she’s a perfect fit for the beauty brand that is also a champion of women. In 1912 Elizabeth Arden marched down Fifth Avenue for women’s equality and gave out red lipstick to suffragettes as a symbol of solidarity. Now, their new limited edition lipstick in Pink Punch is continuing that legacy to unite women. For Elizabeth Arden’s March On campaign, 100% of proceeds of the lipstick will go to UN Women, a nonprofit dedicated to gender equality and empowering women around the globe. Witherspoon tells us all about it.
What does being Elizabeth Arden’s Storyteller-in-Chief entail? Working with the brand, I tell stories around the product on Instagram, in the community, talking about work here and things that women are interested in, whether that’s products and skincare or how to get ready for big events. Also, championing Elizabeth Arden and the story of her company. She was always a fierce advocate for women’s rights. It’s a really nice partnership because we have so many similarities.
What are a few of the similarities you share with her? I’ve definitely started my own businesses. I’ve worked really hard to advocate for seeing more women onscreen and I think Elizabeth Arden really advocated for women to feel beautiful and part of that is being seen, you know? (She fought for) the importance of women’s roles in our cultures, in our world, and she was doing that way before I was ever around.
What are your go-to Elizabeth Arden products? I tried the Retinol Ceramide Capsules about a year ago and I noticed a real difference in my skin. It evened out my skin tone. I feel like I have a different texture, so that’s become part of my daily routine. I’m really enjoying their new White Tea Fragrances. The Vanilla Orchid is my favorite. It just pulls you together and makes you ready for your day. I really love fragrance.
Entertainment Weekly have given us the gift we always knew we needed – a Cruel Intentions reunion! The cast and crew sat down with the magazine to revisit the film for it’s 20th anniversary, and it makes a fantastic read!! Find the article text below, and we have scans in our Gallery:
Cruel Intentions cast spills all the details on making the seductive teen drama
Welcome back to Manchester Prep. In 1999, audiences gaped (and gasped) as Hollywood’s teen royalty engaged in sexual debauchery and 1-percenter power games in Roger Kumble’s erotic, darkly comedic modern classic, which returns to theaters Friday [22nd March] in honor of its 20th anniversary.
Here, in an EW exclusive, the filmmakers and cast members revisit the original tale of gossip girls and pretty little liars.
After watching 1996’s coming-of-age black comedy Welcome to the Dollhouse, playwright Roger Kumble felt inspired to pen a dark story centered on a young cast. So he took the soulless aristocrats of the 18th-century French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses and reimagined them as depraved upper-class Manhattan teens.
ROGER KUMBLE (writer-director): It’s just a great story. It’s got drama and comedy and tragedy, and you can’t do that so often these days. Movies have to fit in a box. You don’t know where to put Cruel Intentions in the aisle, you know?
Reese Witherspoon Says Daughter Ava Phillippe, 19, Taught Her How to Apply Highlighter
Reese Witherspoon has been pampered by Hollywood’s hottest makeup artists since before her daughter Ava Phillippe was born. But these days, the 19-year-old is one of the few people the actress trusts to give her makeup tips.
“I learn a lot from my daughter [about makeup],” says Witherspoon, revealing that Ava honed her skills by watching YouTube tutorials. “Her understanding of how to apply it is so extensive.”
Speaking to PEOPLE about her latest charitable makeup collaboration with Elizabeth Arden, Witherspoon, 42, adds that Ava’s application techniques are especially solid when it comes to eyeshadow and highlighter.
“If I have to do my makeup for a dinner or something, I’ll be like, ‘Ava, can you fix my eyeshadow? I can’t remember what goes in the crease,’ because she has this intense knowledge about how to shade. It’s crazy.”
“She [also] taught me how to put highlighter on my brow bones and the top of my cheekbones. I really liked the way it looked, so now it’s just become part of my makeup routine.”
Witherspoon says her look-a-like daughter has been a pro of sorts for a couple of years. “She knew how to do a beautiful red carpet look by the time she was 17 years old.”
Of course, Ava’s makeup expertise isn’t the only thing the doting mom admires about her daughter.
Last summer Witherspoon threw a joint graduation party for her high school graduate, Ava, and her junior high graduate, son Deacon.
“I’m so proud of her,” says Witherspoon of her daughter, who’s now in college. “She’s just an extraordinary young woman who is passionate about the world, and making change, and helping people. I feel really privileged to be her mom.”
Reese graces the cover of the new February issue of US Vogue! The magazine features a story on her as the “moral compass of Hollywood” (which is a great title for her!), and features an extensive new interview and a new photoshoot – including a photo with Betty and Ava. It’s a fantastic article exploring how Reese’s career has developed, and focuses mostly on her recent move into production and business; there are also some great quotes from Cheryl Strayed, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. I also liked reading about where her Oscar is, and that she has hardbound copies of scripts from her movies!
Read the full article below, and find high quality photos from the cover and the shoot in our Gallery. We’ll have scans for you soon. Make sure you pick up a copy when you can!
Reese Witherspoon: Activist, Advocate, Hollywood’s Moral Compass
The first time Reese Witherspoon found herself suspended from school was in third grade, when she was caught running a custom-barrette business from her desk. (She painted store-bought barrettes and sold them at a profit; when her paint pens leaked onto her desk, she was apprehended.) Another time was during her junior year, at a private girls’ high school in Nashville, when she complained to her English teacher that the work they were doing wasn’t challenging enough. Witherspoon was in many ways a model student—good grades, popular, a soccer player and cheerleader—but she also had a reputation for telling teachers what they were doing was wrong.
“I always tended to be outspoken with my opinions,” she says. “Whether they were appropriate or not.”
More than two decades later, Witherspoon is still fighting the status quo. Insofar as Hollywood is an extreme version of high school, a fishbowl of fragile egos, insecurity, and often-misdirected sexual energy, she has taken it upon herself to be a champion of the overlooked and the underestimated. She may still bear the imprint of the perky-blonde roles that kept her in American-sweetheart mode for the better part of two decades, but something’s changed beneath the surface. Witherspoon has become a formidable businesswoman, launching a company that has a hand in just about every imaginable sector of contemporary media, and she’s become a formidable activist as well, fighting for greater representation in Hollywood of people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and—most of all—women.
“The idea is to put women at the center of the story,” Witherspoon says, sitting barefoot and in jeans in the kitchen of her sunny, sprawling Los Angeles home as her three dogs—a German shepherd named Nash (short for Nashville), a French bulldog named Pepper, and a lab named Hank—amble and snort among the rooms. “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.”
There is perhaps no greater example in the history of television of putting women at the center than Big Little Lies, the HBO sensation that picked up eight Emmys in 2017. Witherspoon executive-produced the series with Nicole Kidman, with whom she also stars alongside Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley. In the second season, which airs in late spring, Meryl Streep will bring the show’s number of female leads to six.
The December/January edition of Fast Company magazine has a snippet on Reese – it’s a short but good read. Find a scan of it in our Gallery.
A day in the life of Reese Witherspoon How Hello Sunshine founder Reese Witherspoon capitalizes on her strengths to get things done.
I have a 6-year-old who likes to have milk at 6 o’clock every morning, so from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., he drinks milk, and my husband [CAA agent Jim Toth] and I drink coffee. We talk and catch up on the news—Jim likes to hear it, I like to read it. After that, I work out for an hour, then go to work.
Assuming I’m not on a set somewhere acting, or traveling for, say, a shoot for [her clothing company] Draper James or Elizabeth Arden [she’s a brand collaborator], I’ll go to the Hello Sunshine office or a meeting related to something we’re developing. I quit driving a year ago. My husband said, “Babe, you’re a terrible driver. Get someone to do that for you.” And it’s great because that’s the time I now spend catching up on phone calls or texts. I’ve deliberately stripped away a lot of the layers of people who silo you off as an actor. That changed when I started producing: I’m putting my money into this; this is my sweat equity, all the equity I have. If you have a problem, call me directly.
It occurs to me at about 6 o’clock that I should probably do something fun at 7:30. I have two girlfriends who are good at that, and thank God, because [otherwise] I’d have no life. I can’t get groups of people on vacation either. That’s not my thing. I’m okay with that.
I get home around 5:30 or 6 for family dinner—that’s important to me. I hear what the kids [she also has a 19-year-old daughter, Ava, and a 15-year-old son, Deacon, from her first marriage, to Ryan Phillippe] are doing and how they’re feeling. I put my 6-year-old to bed at 8, and then I read for two hours. Or I’ll watch a TV show. I love The Crown, Queer Eye, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Oh, and the latest Chris Rock special on Netflix. He does this great bit about being brutally honest with your children. I feel like I’m constantly counteracting pressure from the parents who want to make the lives of their kids golden and magical at all moments! Guess what, kids? You’re going to be disappointed and uncomfortable once in a while. I remember Ava crying in bed in third grade—she was on JV basketball and she was the only kid on the team who didn’t score. I said, “Aves, maybe you’re bad at basketball.” She thought that was mean. I said, “Mean or true? ‘Cause, guess what? Your mom’s bad at basketball, too.”
A version of this article appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.
On Friday, Reese attended the Texas Conference for Women in Austin, where she talked about how she developed Hello Sunshine, and increasing the presence of women in the media. Reese re-iterated her statement from the 2015 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards about ambition not being a “dirty word”, and said that ambition is about supporting and encouraging those around you.
Unfortunately I’ve only found one official photo from the event – which you can find in our Gallery. Below are a couple of articles/interviews from the event, and browse through our Twitter ‘moment’ for social media reaction to Reese’s key-note speech.
Actress Reese Witherspoon Encourages Women to be Ambitious
Early on as an actress in Hollywood, when Reese Witherspoon attended meetings to discuss her movie characters and mentioned a character flaw she would like to accentuate, the male producers would almost always say yes, but that would make her unlikable.
In those meetings, Witherspoon said she felt like she was always reminded she had to stay in her lane. Stay in a place that felt comfortable for everybody and conformed to some other person’s definition of what made a woman likable.
“I think as I got older I said, I’ve had enough of that,” Witherspoon said.
“Women are complicated, they are complex, they are dynamic,” Witherspoon said. “Those are the women I want to see on the screen.”
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