Reese Witherspoon‘s preppy, feminine clothing line, Draper James, as been a hit ever since it launched in 2015. Pieces constantly sell out from the high demand, her A-list friends love wearing her designs and she just expanded her range with capsule collections for Nordstrom and Net-a-Porter (the latter of which just launched with new styles Wednesday.). In a new interview with Net-a-Porter’s digital magazine, The Edit, she says all this success came after realizing that the fashion market wasn’t catering to huge portion of the population.
“I don’t know why New York and L.A. have become the places that dictate how everyone else is supposed to live,” Witherspoon told the magazine. “There’s this whole world in-between of people who love style and have incredible taste.”
On top of her fashion business, she’s also the owner of her own production company, Pacific Standard, and says she “rejects” the notion that women should only stay in one lane in their careers. “People have said, ‘You can’t start a company; just stay being an actress.’ Why are women supposed to be one thing? Nobody thinks Robert De Niro is stepping outside [his boundaries by] owning hotels and restaurants. Life has many chapters. You have to think, what am I going to do next?”
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Coincidentally, her real-life ambitions resemble one of her most memorable character’s best qualities (you know we’re talking about Elle Woods!). “I remember doing Legally Blonde and thinking, this is my first film that isn’t about a romantic entanglement; it’s about a woman finding her own destiny,” she explains. “There certainly were romantic aspects to it, but it wasn’t the driving part of her story.”
Now that she has her own production company, she’s determined to create more empowering roles for women, just like the one she played as Elle. “Women are voracious readers,” she shares. “Women want story, character, nuance, emotion, heart, and a lot of that is in books, but they weren’t being bought by studios unless they were mega blockbusters.”
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Her studio is responsible for getting box office hits like Gone Girl made even though she says every studio passed on it but one. “If I know it’s a good idea, I’m like a bulldog about it. Other people will go, ‘Oh, that’s not good’, and I’m like, ‘Yes, it is, and I’m going to tell you why and you’re going to believe me.'”
Witherspoon’s on the mission to create roles that portray women in multifaceted ways. “There’s a deep need to see women in a more complex way; I’m tired of seeing them as the wives and mothers and girlfriends. Women are not good or bad, they’re every color of the human experience.”
To see The Edit’s full interview go to net-a-porter.com or download the free Edit app at the App Store and Google Play.
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