How Tina Fey Inspired Reese Witherspoon To Help Women In Hollywood

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Actress Reese Witherspoon has certainly come a long way from her ‘Cruel Intentions’ and ‘Legally Blonde’ days. Not that we weren’t already in love with the bubbly blonde famous for her rom-coms and iconic roles. But it seems after winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for her role as June Carter Cash in ‘Walk The Line’ she stepped things up in a major way. New hubby, new cause (she’s an ambassador for the Avon Foundation for Women) not afraid to talk about her vulnerabilities, and she even advocates more women in leadership and playing better roles on screen to set an example for her daughter Ava.

While we’re sure it wasn’t just one thing that lead to her making drastic changes in her life and taking her career to the next level, she has admitted there was one woman in particular who inspired her: comedian Tina Fey.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday program, Reese spoke about Tina’s book ‘Bossypants’ being somewhat of a revelation to her and made her want to help more women in Hollywood have a seat at the proverbial table.

“One of the biggest inspirations for me was reading Tina Fey’s book,” Witherspoon said. “She said, you know, if I can help one other woman create something in Hollywood, I’ve done my job.”

The ‘Mean Girls’ writer detailed in her book how female comedians are often portrayed as “crazy” and that the best solution to remedy this is for more women to write roles for other women and promote and hire diverse women throughout the industry. For Reese this was an eye-opener.

“[I feel] obligated to stay in the business and try hard to get to a place where I can create opportunities for others.”

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“I hope…to create opportunities for other women to tell their stories, because women aren’t just girlfriends and wives, you know, in movies, to big leading men,” she added. “Those are great roles, but I feel like women are much more complex than that. And I’m excited to be able to help them get their stories to the screen.”

“I really want to put interesting creative characters into the world and create opportunities for audiences to see complex women on film. So I get excited when I go to work. And I read new books. And I think about characters that are really going to change the way people think about marriage or what women are capable of bearing.”

Her new film ‘Wild’ portrays the real life story of Cheryl Strayed (who also wrote the book of the same name) which Reese immediately wanted to make after reading her memoir. The thing about ‘Wild’ is that it is a firm departure from what we are used to seeing with Reese on screen. It doesn’t necessarily have the redemptive or predictable love-story or ending that audiences are used to, but that’s the whole reason she wanted to make the film.

“I’ve never seen a woman on film outside in the wilderness all alone. And it’s a true story,” she said. “But it’s something I’m really proud of and I’m excited to show my daughter.”

She also stars in ‘The Good Lie’, a drama that sees her playing a woman who helps young Sudanese refugees emigrate to the United States, and ‘Gone Girl’ starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Needless to say, Reese Witherspoon is busier than ever on-screen, but behind the scenes she is shaking things up and staking a claim for women in Hollywood to have greater representation.

It makes us happy to see women in high places supporting other women and recognizing the importance of female encouragement.

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