As Big Little Lies returns to our screens, we talk with star of the show and Storyteller-in-Chief for Elizabeth Arden, Reese Witherspoon, about her love affair with beauty.
Between writing, acting, producing, advocating for women’s rights and raising a family it’s hard to believe that award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon has time to work in close union with one of the world’s most successful beauty houses, Elizabeth Arden. But Witherspoon is the epitome of the modern woman, busy proving you can be a mum, have an ever-burgeoning career and follow your passions. Besides, Witherspoon explains that she has always had a bit of a love affair with beauty. “I have a long experience of just loving beauty,” she says. “I love make-up, I love skincare, I love all things beauty.”
She can pinpoint when her love of all things beauty blossomed – it was back in Nashville, Tennessee as a young girl who would sit and admire her grandmother’s own relationship with beauty. “I spent a lot of time with her because my mother worked and I would just watch her beauty routine.” Witherspoon recalls going with her grandmother each Tuesday to get her hair done and then each Friday to get her nails done. “I would go with her and I’d watch all these women discussing world issues and things that were happening in their community,” she says. “I saw it as this great experience of women sharing their lives with one another.”
Reese’s Entrepreneurial Spirit
Having such an affinity with the beauty realm, it’s surely a given that Witherspoon would eventually take on a more hands-on role within the beauty world. And while Witherspoon has had the opportunity to work with various brands over the years, there was something about the entrepreneurial spirit of founder Elizabeth Arden that really resonated with the actress. “I really love the story of how Elizabeth Arden started her company,” says Witherspoon. “Her entrepreneurial spirit and her advocacy for women to be their best selves and feel their best through beauty by creating products that make women feel beautiful – it really drew me to the brand.”
Witherspoon says her role as Elizabeth Arden’s Storyteller-in-Chief sees her not only talking about some of the brand’s most iconic and loved products but creating a community around stories. “Women love to talk about beauty and share beauty tips and I think exploring the relationship that women have with products through storytelling is really how I define my role with Elizabeth Arden.” Witherspoon is no stranger to advocacy – recently she spearheaded Hollywood’s Time’s Up movement to end sexual harassment – therefore it’s understandable that she felt a connection with the original Elizabeth Arden’s own involvement in advocating for women’s rights.
More Than Skin Deep
Any lipstick enthusiast knows that the perfect lip colour has the power to uplift and instil confidence. It was with this in mind that back in 1912 a young Elizabeth Arden marched down New York’s 5th Avenue, alongside the suffragettes. As a symbol of strength and solidarity, Arden handed red lipstick to each of the suffragettes marching to win the vote. Fast forward to 2018 and it was this historic event that inspired Elizabeth Arden’s ‘March On’ campaign that Witherspoon has been heavily involved with in her role as Storyteller-in-Chief.
This year, Elizabeth Arden brought the next phase of the philanthropic campaign to life with ‘March On Pink’. The beauty house launched a limited-edition lipstick with 100 per cent of the proceeds donated to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (known as ‘UN Women’). In addition, Elizabeth Arden pledged US$1 million to support the UN Women’s work around the globe. “It’s an incredible time to be a woman. The work we’re doing with Elizabeth Arden and UN Women is igniting real change and increasing possibilities for women globally,” said Witherspoon when the announcement was made.
“I’m in this for all women –for my daughter, my mother, and all the amazing women in my life.” Last year Witherspoon had the opportunity to speak at the United Nations on International Women’s Day as part of her work for the brand’s March On campaign. “It was a really big moment last year to go to the UN and sit with so many amazing women from around the world talking about gender equality, the importance of advocacy for women’s rights worldwide, and the importance of education,” she says. “These women come together to help lift each other up, and it was an incredible moment when Elizabeth Arden donated US$1 million to the UN Women to help advocate for those causes and to help have that discussion.”
Witherspoon admits there’s still plenty of work to be done as far as women’s rights are concerned. Fortunately, she says, UN Women is currently working to gather crucial data around women’s biggest concerns. “We need to know how much money women are making, what their level of education is, how they feel about motherhood, their ability to get a job or ability to take care of themselves and their family,” she says. “Once we have all that data that’s a great starting place to advocate for what people need within their own communities. Right now they’re doing that critical work which will establish a base from which a lot of action can be taken.”
So can we make the world a better place for all women through the power of lipstick? Witherspoon believes so. “As our world gets smaller and smaller through our connections with social media, I think it’s so important to advocate for women’s rights – whether it be financial or educational, it’s a great opportunity to further the evolution of the women,” she says. And as more of us look to spend our money with brands that align with our own values and beliefs, it’s likely Elizabeth Arden and Witherspoon are onto something. “I always look for products that have a positive impact on the world and I think it’s really great to know when you’re buying a product that it’s going towards something really valuable and something that makes an impact.”
Reese Witherspoon’s Beauty Must-Haves
“I wear a lot of make-up at work. It’s really important that I cleanse my skin twice a day, so I take off my make-up with coconut oil or a soothing gentle make-up remover,” Witherspoon says. As for her wellbeing tips, she says nothing replaces great sleep. “I notice such a big difference on camera when I’ve slept well. I definitely go to bed early when I know I’m on camera the next day. I drink a lot of water. If I have breakouts I drink a lot of green juice and chlorophyll. It really helps my skin clear up.” Take a look at Reese Witherspoon’s current beauty routine below.