Reese graces the cover of the upcoming February issue of US Harper’s Bazaar magazine! She looks stunning in a new photoshoot, and talks about her current career path and Draper James in the interview. I love the colours and styling of the photoshoot, it’s so pretty. Read the interview below, find the pictures in our Gallery, and watch the behind the scenes video further down this post.
The magazine hits US news-stands on January 19th.
From screen sweetheart to power producer to lifestyle entrepreneur, Reese Witherspoon brings Southern charm to every role.
Reese Witherspoon is sitting in a random office in a glorious location: Nashville’s grand Cheekwood Museum of Art. She’s been twirling all day in concoctions for this cover story—on horses, holding piglets and parasols, and battling oddly aggressive ladybugs. But the great charm of Witherspoon, of course, is that she can look like she’s having the most fun in the world.
And right now, it would seem that she is. After 25 years in films—a long reign as America’s sweetheart, an Oscar for Walk the Line, and a lull before her second nomination, for 2014’s Wild—and with her 40th birthday on the horizon, Witherspoon is not just a star but a force. With her tenacity and sonar-like acumen, she is deftly changing cinema.
“It’s almost like my brain is hardwired to collect information and do things,” Witherspoon says. “I used to do very little with it, and now I’m being more productive, which feels good.” Turns out, she handily notes, that if you spend 25 years making movies, “that’s the way that you learn how to make movies.” In the past four years Witherspoon optioned two books, Gone Girl and Wild, shepherding them through production (and in Wild, shepherding herself up the Pacific Crest Trail) and seeing both receive Oscar nominations.
While Witherspoon could have surfed on a wave of rom-coms until the end of her days, it was a combination of frustration and curiosity that forged her new path. “There was a point, around 2011, there were like five actresses that I admire very much and they all called me and said, ‘There’s this role of this girlfriend in this movie,’ which was kind of just a terrible movie. And we’re all kind of clamoring for this terrible part? We are so much better than this.” So Witherspoon went about changing things.
“I certainly can’t star in all these movies,” she says. “I want to get a female perspective on film that would make my daughter [Ava] understand what it means to be a woman in a different way.”
Witherspoon—who along with Ava, 16, and son Deacon, 12 (with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe), has a three-year-old son, Tennessee James, with her husband, talent agent Jim Toth—credits Toth for her renewed cinematic mojo. “He said, ‘You should produce movies. You read more books than anybody I know. You should just buy some of them and turn them into films.’ ”
So she did. Witherspoon currently has 30 projects in development (25 movies, five television shows). “We’re reading constantly.” She sighs. “My brain hurts sometimes.” She and her colleagues take shifts sifting through material: “Sometimes I’ve been reading and watching movies for seven days, and I need a break.”
That heavy slate would be more than enough for most people, but not for the determined blonde who named her first production company Type A Films. Last May, Witherspoon launched a home and clothing line, Draper James. Fashion is not an enterprise done lightly—especially when it’s named for your grandparents. So…why? “Well, it comes from a lot of the same instincts about making movies,” she explains. “I saw an empty space. All these women in the South, they read fashion magazines, but nobody was telling the stories about their upbringing—their mothers, their grandmothers who love getting dressed up. It’s a feminine culture.”
Draper James, which opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Nashville in October, is indeed highly feminine, but it’s not fussy: For every lacy dress, there’s a gingham shirt and a pair of jeans “made in Blue Ridge, Georgia,” Witherspoon adds proudly. And if there’s any ambiguity about Draper James’s Southernness, that can be solved with an ‘Oh, my stars!’ or ‘Hush, y’all’ iPhone case. Witherspoon practices what she preaches. Today she’s sporting a full Draper ensemble: shirt, jeans, tote, and wallet. What’s most important to her, though, is that the brand is home. “It’s about where I’m from, an opportunity for me to move back to the South, get my roots here.”
Even a type A has type B tendencies sometimes, right? Witherspoon laughs. “My husband would definitely say, ‘She’s very relaxed at home.’ Hmm, I don’t cook much. I used to cook a lot; I relax a lot. You know what I like to do? Reorganize bookshelves and my sock drawer. Jim’s like, ‘What have you been doing for four hours in your closet?’ I’m like, ‘Um, reorganizing my underwear?'”
She might be driven—and she’s certainly organized—but what Witherspoon emanates today is ease. “I’m much more open now,” she says. “In my 20s, I was scared of everything. I didn’t know what my career was. I didn’t know why people liked my movies. I was wary of interacting with people. I was 25 when Legally Blonde came out, 26 for Sweet Home Alabama, and 29 for Walk the Line. And I was scared, really scared. Now I feel like a different person. It’s a great thing getting older. You are who you are; you say what you mean.” And if your face falls down a bit? She laughs. “I kind of enjoy that!”
Witherspoon will likely spend her 40th with friends and family in Nashville. “You know, live music, eating, kids.” At first she had another plan. “I wanted to hike Machu Picchu,” she says. “But then I was like, ‘Wait, I did enough hiking last year.’ I’m done with hiking for a minute.”
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, which will be available on newsstands January 19.
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