How Adweek Media Visionary Reese Witherspoon Turned Hollywood on Its Head

She became a producer to make the female-centric stories the industry had long ignored

Reese Witherspoon says acting is her first love. John Russo/Contour by Getty Images

When she filmed her first movie at 14, Reese Witherspoon certainly didn’t think she’d stumbled upon her lifelong career. “I didn’t know how viable it was to really consider being an actor. I grew up in a practical family of doctors and nurses,” she recalls. But three decades later, Witherspoon has not only amassed a resume that includes several hit films and an Oscar, she’s created a second, even more influential, parallel career path as one of the industry’s most groundbreaking producers—an achievement that has led to her being named Adweek’s Media Visionary.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 26, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.