Reese Witherspoon was so outraged when she saw a magazine illustration about her and other women in the entertainment industry who’ve branched into retail — Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Blake Lively and Lauren Conrad — that she’s still bothered by it four years later.
It seemed to be making fun of the women, as it depicted them wearing both evening gowns and aprons, cleaning house under a headline, “Hollywood’s New Domestic Divas.”
“What? Men are entrepreneurs but how dare we be anything more than actresses?” Witherspoon, who founded the brand Draper James, said in the new “Women in Entertainment” issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
“We, as women, are expected to stay in our lane — that was the inference, and I had sleepless nights over it. I remember calling one of these other women going, ‘What are we doing about this?’”
Witherspoon’s conversation with the magazine also covers her transition to producing and her new Apple TV+ series, The Morning Show. For instance, the Oscar winner revealed that she was also bothered by a review of the series that made much of the $2 million per episode she’s reportedly being paid for her work.
“There seemed to be a resentment, as if we weren’t worth it or it was bothersome, and I thought, ‘Why is that bothersome?’”
After all, the star and executive producer of Big Little Lies, has proven herself to be a wise investment by this point.
“I guarantee these companies are real smart, and if they agree to pay us, they’re doing it for a reason,” Witherspoon told the magazine. “They probably had a lot of lawyers and a lot of business people decide on that number because they knew that they were going to make more than that back. Does it bother people when Kobe Bryant or LeBron James make their contract?”
The Legally Blonde star made her movie debut in 1991’s The Man in the Moon, but it wasn’t until 2003 that she began producing. Taking more control of the movies and shows she appeared in was something she fought for, after seeing a need for more stories about women. And yet executives were initially hesitant about the idea of Witherspoon as a moviemaker and not just a movie star.
“I was in this position where I was making studios a lot of money, and I had for years and years, and they didn’t take me seriously as a filmmaker,” said Witherspoon, whose many producer credits include Gone Girl and Wild. “Somehow, they didn’t think that 25 years of experience could add up to some inherent knowledge of what movies work and how to keep them on budget. And you think about the kind of guys who come out of Sundance and get gigantic jobs off of one, like, ‘Oh, I see the potential.’”
In 2019, Witherspoon is producing more than a dozen movies and TV shows — and Draper James is still going strong.