November 02, 2016 03:40 PM
Thomas Whiteside
Thomas Whiteside

Reese Witherspoon just opened her second Draper James location in Dallas, Texas and announced she’s writing a Southern lifestyle book, but nothing solidifies her title of “queen of Southern style” quite like getting the cover of InStyle’s December issue with an accompanying interview by the Dolly Parton.

The actress poses on the cover in an outfit fit for a fancy holiday party (an Armani Privé black gown with stacks of sparkly bracelets) and poses throughout the spread in cozy winter gear: cashmere sweaters, tweed dresses and ladylike capes (of her own design!). While her business is rapidly growing by the minute, she talks about the huge risk she took to start it.

“It’s a new chapter for me starting a business, going around passing the hat, and promoting it all over the place,” she tells Parton. “It’s a different experience, but I’m enjoying learning something new. I’ve been acting for about 25 years, and I still love it, but I like the challenge of trying something else too. I find there are a lot of people talking about New York and Los Angeles, but there’s a whole world out there in between, and that’s who I like to tell stories about and make products for — people who love the life they have and have a sense of style that’s uniquely their own.”

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Parton explained her sense of drive that pushed her to do a lot of big things in her career. “I have always said my desire to do something has always been greater than my fear of it,” the country star said.

And Witherspoon channeled that same mindset when she got into the design business. “I think that’s a good lesson for young women: No one knows what they’re doing. You walk into boardrooms with these executives — they don’t really know anything more than anybody else. You have to put yourself out there and just give it a try because who you are and where you’re from offers a unique perspective that everybody needs.”

While any fan of Witherspoon knows she admires Parton (she made a tote bag that reads “What Would Dolly Do?”), she actually explained that at five years old she knew she wanted to grow up to be Parton. “You were such a big inspiration to me. I loved country music, and I thought you stood for so many things. You were a beautiful story teller. And you made me feel proud about being from a place that other people made fun of. I wanted to be you — and I still do.”

So does Parton carry around the tote bag inspired by her? “I can’t carry that myself, of course, but my friends are buying them up. It was sweet of you to do that!”

What do you think of Witherspoon’s cover? 

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