Reese Witherspoon, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Melissa McCarthy and more are featured in ELLE magazine’s 20th annual Women In Hollywood issue.
Check out their covers below and a few highlights from their feature!
Reese on her children: “Somebody was saying to me the other day, ‘Oh, people get less interesting when they have kids.’ I just don’t think that’s true. I feel like I was so confused before I had kids, I almost got in my own way. Having kids made me clearer about who I was as a woman. I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter. I was a little competitive before I had kidsprobably really competitive, to be honest. It really made me let go of that.”
Reese on producing movies: “I started noticing a couple years ago that I wasn’t seeing women as the stars of movies. I’m seeing them as the guys’ girlfriends, or so-and-so’s wife. I just thought: God, if I don’t start buckling down and start producing some movies, what’s my daughter going to see in the movies?”
Penelope on Hollywood stardom: “The concept of a ‘star’ will always sound foreign and surreal to me because growing up in my country [Spain], you’re an actor, not a star.”
Penelope on the best piece of advice she’s ever received: “How important it is to learn to say no. You’re going to have to put a lot of your time into a project, and you have to know if it’s something you really feel connected with, because it’s not a job you can do like you press a buttonno.”
Melissa on the women comic she enjoys watching: “I watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep and she is so good, because she is playing the world’s biggest asshole narcissist, and yet you can’t take your eyes off of her. In fact, you still strangely like her and almost want to hang with her.”
Melissa on playing nontraditional female comedic leads: “A lot of times, women have had all their tools taken away (in Hollywood comedies). It’s like you’re never inappropriate, you have the greatest job, you look great, your hair is amazing, and now go be funny. And it’s like, with what? You have to fall down for us to want to watch you get back up. And it’s like they never let you watch women fall down.”
Shailene on her future: “I’m so young, and I’m single, and I just want to drift. I’m just going to be a drifter. I want to do something totally different before Insurgent [the second film in the Divergent trilogy]. Maybe I’ll work in a tea shop. Or live in Amsterdam. Or be a nanny. Life experience only helps us as actors. I need new experiences to draw upon.”
Shailene on staying true to herself in Hollywood: “There’s nothing like walking into a meeting and people expecting me to shake hands, and you hug them. For me, a hug is to disregard all of that bullshit and be like, This is me, Shai. This is who I am. Now let’s talk about real situations. Let’s not talk about all this surface-level stuff.”
Images: Thomas Whiteside & NICO for Elle