Reese Witherspoon on the power of reading

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Oscar-winning actor, book club founder and ambassador for Elizabeth Arden’s March On campaign, Reese Witherspoon reveals the power of reading.

While Reese Witherspoon has earned a platform from the characters she portrays on-screen, the stories she tells off-screen are even more impressive. She is one of the key players in the Time’s Up movement, the initiative fighting for safe, fair and dignified work for women. Then there’s her book club, production company and podcast, Hello Sunshine, which celebrates female stories. Her mission is not to fight for a seat at the table, but to create our own table. 

Last year, Witherspoon spoke at the United Nations on International Women’s Day as part of her work with Elizabeth Arden’s March On campaign, which pledges to donate $1 million to UN Women. “My role as storyteller-in-chief is to help other women tell their stories,” she explains. Here she talks to Stylist about self-care, reading and inspiring women. 

Which women do you admire?

There are so many inspiring female leaders. We have six women running for president in the US, which is groundbreaking. Last year, I worked with Oprah and found her lovely, inspiring and determined, and the women at Time’s Up, like Shonda Rhimes, are incredible. That’s why I started working with Elizabeth Arden, as she knew what women wanted to express and how they wanted to feel. The fact she gave out lipsticks to all the [US] suffragettes marching for their right to vote in 1912 – I love that the theme threads through women’s lives for generations.

Your book club is female-focused too – why was that important to you? 

Yes, it’s me and three other women. We all represent very different backgrounds and life experiences. I want to expand the world I’m interested in and, for me, books are an escape into a different consciousness and a way to stop that cycle of thinking about yourself all the time. 

What are you reading now?

This month, it’s The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, but I just read an amazing book called Educated by Tara Westover. It was about one woman’s journey out of a very difficult childhood towards her own success. It was incredibly moving and inspiring. 

If you could recommend one book, what would it be?

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, who wrote Wild. It has so many answers to things we all struggle with as humans.

Is beauty a big part of self-care for you?

I wear a lot of make-up on set so I love a deep cleanse at the end of the day, otherwise I tend to break out. Lately, I’ve also been using retinol capsules at night and my skin looks so much better.

Find out more about Reese’s book club Hello Sunshine at

100% of the proceeds of Elizabeth Arden’s new limited edition red signature lipstick go to UN Women, a global champion for women and girls, gender equality, and women empowerment.

Elizabeth Arden Limited Edition Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick in Pink Punch

Main image: Courtesy