Reese Witherspoon is ambitious, and she wants you to know it.
Witherspoon is Glamour's October 2017 cover star, and she wrote an essay about her Hollywood ambition for the magazine. The Big Little Lies star got real about misogyny and inequality in Hollywood — and why she won't let gender discrimination stop her.
"I remember, 15 years ago, being a young actress and starting to audition for movies in L.A. There were always a lot of young women waiting in the green room for their shot at the one part there was for a girl in any given movie. Because that's all there was — one part," Witherspoon wrote in her Glamour essay. "As I got some of those parts, I would arrive on set to realise I was the only girl with a speaking part. There were also no women in the crew: Maybe a girl or two in the wardrobe department, but no one in any other department. I was literally surrounded by 150 men. I remember thinking it was odd that women made up half the population but such small percentages of roles in Hollywood, on and off the screen."
The actress added that today, women are much more involved in movies, both onscreen and offscreen. She also noted that her two upcoming films, Home Again and A Wrinkle In Time, were written and directed by women.
"People want to see dynamic women onscreen," Witherspoon wrote. "Big Little Lies featured five actresses who were 25 to 50 years old, and 8.5 million people on average watched each episode. We had a pretty gender-balanced audience too, proving men are interested in women's lives."
Witherspoon also noted that 38% of characters on TV today are female, which she noted is "not equal, but it's pretty good." Similarly, women accounted for 29% of protagonists in 2016's highest-grossing movies, Witherspoon noted. It's progress, for sure, but there's still a long way to go before Hollywood achieves gender equality.
The actress proved she's an intersectional feminist in the essay, too, noting her privilege as a white woman in Hollywood.
"Another thing I think about a lot is how it feels to be a minority woman in America, so rarely seeing yourself onscreen, and it's unconscionable," Witherspoon wrote in the essay. "When I asked Mindy Kaling, 'Don't you ever get exhausted by always having to create your own roles?' she said, 'Reese, I've never had anything that I didn't create for myself.' I thought, 'Wow, I feel like a jerk for asking that;' I used to have parts that just showed up for me. I can't imagine how hard it is to write your own parts and simultaneously have to change people's perceptions of what a woman of colour is in today's society."