You might think that as an Oscar-winning actress who recently won an Emmy for her producing role in HBO’s Big Little Lies, Reese Witherspoon would look to top Hollywood stars for career inspiration. But, it turns out, her role models are refreshingly far from the red carpet.
“Eleanor Roosevelt has always inspired me. She was so outspoken and astute,” says Witherspoon—who, in 2016, cofounded Hello Sunshine, a cross-platform multimedia company dedicated to telling female-driven narratives. (A true entrepreneur extraordinaire, she also launched the clothing line Draper James in 2015.)
For someone known for portraying headstrong leading ladies in such ﬁlms as Election, Legally Blonde, Walk the Line, and Wild, the new initiative came out of necessity. “Once I started looking around, I realized there weren’t a lot of interesting stories for women, by women, or about women,” says Witherspoon. “There is so much more to the female experience.”
[In the lead image: On Witherspoon: Black Studded Collar Lucie Jumper, Markus Lupfer; Collection Dot Jacquard Skirt, Draper James; Pumps, Christian Louboutin; Earrings, Dana Rebecca Designs; Rings, Graziela Gems.]
[In this image: Renny Short Vase, $60; Monarch Dining Table, $2,599; Ripple Desk Chair, $299, all Crate and Barrel; MDS Mixed Media on Canvas by Catherine Booker Jones, Anne Irwin Fine Art. On Witherspoon: Blouse, Chloe; Skirt, Roland Mouret; Pumps, Christian Louboutin; Earrings and Rings, Shylee Rose.]
[In this image: From Crate and Barrel: Grayson Chair, $1,099; Nero Accent Table, $269; Paley White Vase, $80; Kora Tall Vase, $100; Rati Vase, $25; Jelena Indigo Blue Vase, $50; Rope Indigo Blue Vase, $30; Circle Stand Large, $70; Circle Stand Small, $50; Hello Light-Up Sign, Land of Nod, $119.]
[In this image: The hiking boots in Witherspoon’s office is the same pair she wore in Wild, for which she nabbed an Oscar nomination for best actress. From Crate and Barrel: Blake Media Console, $1,499; Mactan Stone Table Lamp, $199; Kiwi Bird, $30; Trystan Rug, $999; Hayes Wine Cooler, $45.]
Further channeling a place for bright ideas, a painted triangle of yellow “light” carries over a potted fern, dipping the leaves in the same sunny hue. The concept came from Pinterest, says Witherspoon, who is “obsessed” with the platform. “It’s where I ﬁnd a lot of my inspiration.”
Even the layout of the kitchen encourages constant ideation. “It’s communal,” says Rupeka. “There are small tables and little corner nooks you can escape to. People are always having spontaneous meetings.”
[On Witherspoon: Louise Sweater Dress, Draper James; Pumps, Christian Louboutin, $745; Earrings and Bracelets, Jennifer Meyer; Ring, EF Collection; Hair by Kylee Heath; Makeup by Molly Stern; Styling by Petra Flannery; Flowers by Velvet Leaf Studio.]
But Witherspoon herself has no plans to slow down anytime soon. Later this year, Hello Sunshine will be rolling out an OnDemand Channel with an original series starring Witherspoon. No doubt, she will be doing what she does best: embodying female power in all its beauty and complexity.
“At the end of the day, that’s really our focus,” says the actress of her new venture. “Women need to be at the forefront of telling their own stories.”
[The team assembled their most gawky photos for a lighter take on a gallery wall.]
[In this image: From Crate and Barrel: Era Coffee Table, $699; Sisal Almond Rug, $299; Cullen II Apartment Sofa, $2,199.]