Reese Witherspoon

Lessons from the South (VIA SATELLITE)

Day 1: 8:25 am – 9:20 am

Academy Award Winning Actress, Producer, Founder of Hello Sunshine

Academy Award Winning Actress, Producer, Founder of Hello Sunshine

Witherspoon, an award winning actress and producer and founder of Hello Sunshine, has created the kinds of unforgettable characters that connect with critics and audiences alike. She won and Academy Award® for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line and was later nominated for her performance in Wild, which she also produced. She starred in beloved films Sweet Home Alabama, Legally Blonde, Election and award winning television series Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere. Witherspoon continues to utilise her platform to drive the production of female-centric content with Hello Sunshine, a cross-platform media brand and content company, which she founded.

Witherspoon can also be seen in Netflix’s You Place Or Mine starring alongside Ashton Kutcher. Witherspoon is a producer on the film and the title is also being produced under the Hello Sunshine banner.

Witherspoon can be heard as the voice of Rosita in Illumination’s Sing 2. The SING sequel stars a number of distinct iconic voices like Bono, Matthew McConaughey, Halsey, and Tori Kelly. Additionally, Witherspoon stars in the award-winning series, The Morning Show, which she also executive produces through her media company Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon stars opposite Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup and Steve Carell in the Apple TV+ drama which premiered to critical acclaim, garnering Witherspoon a SAG nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and three other SAG nominations on top of its eight Emmy nominations, SAG Award, and Critics Choice Award nominations for Season 1. The series gives an inside look at the people who help Americans wake up each day while also exploring the challenges faced by the people who work in morning television.

Witherspoon also played the dual role of actress and producer in the hit Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere. The most watched original series Hulu to date, Little Fires Everywhere earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding limited series. Witherspoon also executive produced and starred in two seasons of HBO’s critically-acclaimed Big Little Lies, with the first season winning eight Emmy Awards, four Critics’ Choice Awards and two SAG Awards Witherspoon starred opposite Nicole Kidman, who co-produced the first season under her Blossom Films production banner alongside Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. David E. Kelley who adapted the script also served as an executive producer. The show, originally adapted from the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, also starred Meryl Streep, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Adam Scott, and Alexander Skarsgard. In 2020, Hello Sunshine produced projects earned a total of eighteen Emmy nominations across Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Morning Show.

Witherspoon added best-selling author to her list of credits with the release of her book Whiskey in a Teacup, which debuted #1 on the New York Times best sellers list. The book invites readers to share in Witherspoon’s Southern heritage through her signature style, staple recipes, and favorite traditions.

Founded by Reese Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine is a media company that puts women at the center of every story it creates, celebrates, and discovers. Hello Sunshine tells stories across all platforms – from scripted and unscripted television, feature films, animated series, podcasts, audio storytelling, and digital series – all shining a light on where women are now and helping them chart a new path forward. Hello Sunshine is also home to Reese’s Book Club and the newly launched RBC App. Fast growing in reach and influence, this community is propelled by meaningful connections with stories, authors and fellow members. Recently Hello Sunshine acquired Sara Rea’s SKR Production to expand its unscripted content and also announced the launch of their Kids & Animation Division to create content that celebrates a younger audience.  Hello Sunshine was named the #2 Most Innovative Company in Media for 2020 by Fast Company Magazine and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies of 2021. Television projects include the critically acclaimed The Morning Show, the limited series Little Fires Everywhere, HBO’s Emmy-Award winning series Big Little Lies, and Truth Be Told for Apple TV+. Other scripted series include the highly anticipated limited series Daisy Jones and the Six, the limited series From Scratch, Last Thing He Told Me, and Surface. Unscripted series include The Home Edit with Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, Making the Cut, and My Kind of Country. Feature film projects that have been announced include Where the Crawdads Sing, Legally Blonde 3, Your Place Or Mine, and The Cactus.

Witherspoon produced and starred in the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s eponymous memoir Wild. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, Witherspoon received Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA Award nominations for her role. That year, Witherspoon launched Draper James, a retail brand with a focus on fashion, accessories and home décor inspired by the American South. The brand is named after Witherspoon’s grandparents, Dorothea Draper and William James Witherspoon, who remain amongst her greatest influences today. Draper James launched direct to consumer online at DraperJames.com , followed by its first brick and mortar store opening later that Fall in Reese’s hometown of Nashville. The brand has since expanded and now has four stand-alone stores in Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and Lexington. Additionally, this year the brand became available through outside distribution partners Nordstrom and Net-A-Porter.

In addition to creating more roles for women on screen, Witherspoon is a strong advocate for women and children in her philanthropic work by collaborating closely with programs such as Girls, Inc. and the Children’s Defense Fund. She currently serves on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund, with whom she has been involved for many years, raising money and awareness for their many programs.

Witherspoon strongly supports the passage of the International Violence Against Women’s act, which creates a comprehensive approach to combat violence. Witherspoon has been active on behalf of the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Save the Children. Witherspoon has been actively involved in Stand Up to Cancer for over a decade and recently hosted their annual benefit. She also currently serves as storyteller-in-chief for the Elizabeth Arden brand.

Her extraordinary performance as June Carter Cash in the 20th Century Fox bio-pic Walk The Line, earned her the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, as well as the BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, New York Film Critics Award, Broadcast Film Critics Award, People’s Choice Award and 11 other awards. Other film credits include Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time helmed by Ava Duvernay; Universal Pictures’ animated musical comedy Sing; the Nancy Meyers-produced feature Home Again, written and directed by Meyers’ daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer; Warner Bros. comedy Hot Pursuit starring opposite Sofia Vergara; Paul Thomas Anderson-directed Inherent Vice alongside Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Joaquin Phoenix and Maya Rudolph; Warner Bros’ The Good Lie directed by Philippe Falardeau; Jeff Nichols’s coming-of-age drama MUD with Matthew McConaughey; 20th Century Fox’s romantic comedy This Means War alongside Tom Hardy and Chris Pine; Water For Elephants with Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz; Dreamworks’ Monsters vs. Aliens; hit comedy Four Christmases opposite Vince Vaughn; Sweet Home Alabama, which had the largest opening at the time for a female-driven romantic comedy; breakout hits Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2 as the loveable “Elle Woods”; Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair; Gary Ross’ Pleasantville; Alexander Payne’s Election as “Tracy Flick”, and the teen cult classic, Cruel Intentions.

  1. Don’t wait for opportunities, create them
  2. Work Hard and do what you do well
  3. Life isn’t about perfection, there is no rule book. Life has many different chapters, and every chapter deserves celebrating


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