Jake Perry summed it up best in “Sweet Home Alabama” when he said, “You can have roots and wings.” Reese Witherspoon has embodied that statement throughout her career and personal life by showing us what a Southern girl does, even when she leaves the South.
6 Life Lessons We’ve Learned From Reese Witherspoon:
1. Honor your heritage.
Names are important in the South. Going by your mama’s maiden name is exactly what Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon does. And what else would a Southern mama in California do but name her own baby boy Tennessee (but maybe skip carrying that baby into a bar.)
2. When the opportunity you want isn’t there, create it yourself.
When Reese realized there weren’t going to be as many opportunities for herself or other actresses over 30, she started her own production company. Just like Elle Woods, she saw what she wanted, and went after it.
3. Take the scenic route.
Reese portrayed Cheryl Strayed in the movie adaptation of the book Wild. Walking one thousand miles of trail got the character to where she needed to be. It was circuitous and difficult, but the lesson wouldn’t have made sense without the journey.
4. Coordinates make life easier.
Reese’s fashion line, Draper James, which is of course named for her paternal grandparents (see No. 1), is based on dresses that don’t require time or thought to match top and bottom pieces. Throw on a little cardigan in a coordinating color to balance the bold prints, and you’ve got yourself an outfit.
5. One bad decision does not make a bad person.
Following her arrest for disorderly conduct in 2013, Reese apologized for her behavior. She later went on to say, “I made a mistake. We all make mistakes. The best you can do is say sorry and move on.”
6. When in doubt, sing.
Reese was so nervous about singing and learning to play the autoharp for her role in Walk the Line that she asked her lawyer to terminate her contract. She overcame that fear and won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2006.