American beauty

American beauty

Suzy Maloy chats to Reese Witherspoon about women in Hollywood, getting older and being a good parent

You recently starred in single-mom rom-com Home Again. The house in this movie is really beautiful. How important is the home environment to you? 

I think we discount a lot of times how important it is to feel safe and comfortable at home. When I come home at night, I just feel good because I’m finally home. And everybody should feel that way. I think it’s very important. It’s critical; it’s your wellbeing.

Do you have things in your home from your parents or grandparents that you value?

Of course. I have my grandma’s china and all her old quilts. I have my mother’s silverware. There are little touchstones everywhere that remind you of your family.

What does home mean to you? 

Home to me is where I feel most comfortable, most accepted, most myself. It’s where I feel like everybody accepts me for who I am – my quirks, my wrinkles, my good and bad side.

How has the movie business changed in your opinion? 

Social media changed everything. You can now engage in a direct and one-on-one conversation with people over your movie on social media. You get instant feedback. It’s fascinating to me. You have to have thick skin, though. It’s a much more transparent communication. I am on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

You are a very strong voice for women these days, working with female directors and producers. Was that a conscious decision?

Yes, it certainly was. I don’t think there are enough female directors and producers out there. And definitely not enough stories told through the female perspective.

Would you like to see female domination in Hollywood?

Oh, No. Not at all. I don’t think anybody wants just one gender to dominate anything. Take Big Little Lies, for example. The book was written by a woman, a man adapted it, five women starred in it and a man directed it. I think it has proved that it was a winning combination. I just think it’s important to give women and their topics a stronger voice in Hollywood.

Are we going to see you working with Big Little Lies co-star Nicole Kidman again?

Yes, we do have another Liane Moriarty book we want to produce. We are thinking of Big Little Lies 2. 

How are relationships different in your 40s?

In your 40s, you start realising that anybody who makes you feel like a worse version of yourself should not be in your life. You start making cuts – good cuts, cuts that make you feel better and not worse. You just don’t have the time for people like that anymore when you get older.

Do you like getting older? 

I love getting older, because I feel much clearer about things today. I am a lot more mission based. I feel I know why I am doing things, not just throwing things against the wall hoping they stick. It’s a good feeling.

Would you say this is the best time of your life right now? 

I feel it’s a pretty good time. Creatively, I am in a very good place. And I love to create opportunities for others now. I’ve had my moment in the limelight; to see how others can benefit from the work I do is so thrilling to me. It really is the next chapter of my life.

How do you manage to keep your career going with three kids? 

I think it’s an interesting balance for me. My children are on my brain all day long. I always wonder where they are, what they are doing at this very moment. I just try to encourage them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. I don’t want them to be versions of me or their father, or their step-father, for that matter.

In your opinion, what is the real goal of parenting?

I ask myself that all the time. I think the unique goal of parenting is to find out what their passion is and what is uniquely them and encourage them to be the best version of that.

Did your parents encourage your passion?

For sure. My parents were totally confused, though, when I told them I wanted to be an actress. My dad was a doctor and my mom was a nurse. I think they thought I would pick the same profession. And it could have happened.

Text: Suzy Maloy/TheInterviewPeople; Photography: Splashnews/Greatstock, gallo/gettyimages

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