Well I’m just going to come right out and say it: On Wednesday, I ate literal breakfast at Tiffany’s just a few seats away from actor, producer and businesswoman Reese Witherspoon. Later, I asked her questions about career, morning food and Sweet Home Alabama.
Yes, I fainted.
The room was full of very cool fellow diners (many of whom assured me that they, too, made the same breakfast joke on their social media accounts), who were there as guests of Tiffany & Co and the brand’s brilliant cohost, Reese Witherspoon. The way these things typically go is that, as press, you first get a tour of the situation. For me this meant a trip around the newly-renovated fourth floor where it was a coffee-drinking gift seeker’s heaven. I dropped lots of hints to anyone nearby who would listen about what to buy me. For those reading right this moment, a.k.a. parents, friends, family, significant other — both past (so??) and present, I would like these blue china “paper” cups, these metallic playing cards, and this 26+ carat yellow diamond.
Then, after observing the product, you sit down to eat. (Eat we did.) Then a majority of guests leave while you wait your turn to interview the aforementioned esteemed cohost. You usually get just under five minutes with the interviewee to ask questions so rapid fire you’ll later wonder, “Should I host car auctions?” and, “Did my phone successfully record the conversation?” In this case, my answers were, “you can do anything you put your mind to” and “yes” — thankfully.
Below, a quick Q&A with the inimitable and wise Reese, with whom I’m now pretending I’m on a first-name basis.
You’re known for empowering women in the workplace, and championing women to go after their dream careers. While the message of ‘follow your dreams’ is great, what is the advice you really wish someone had given you?
Speak up, even if your voice shakes.
You started your own production company, Pacific Standard. For all those who want to build something of their own, what do you advise is the first step to take after, “I have this great idea…”?
That’s a long conversation for another day, but I think incubating the idea, then writing a business plan are really important. If you’re a creative, find a business person. If you’re a business person, find a creative. It’s the blend of the two that creates success, and the two of you will sort of police each other and beat it [the idea] out pragmatically. I started as the creative and have now become more of the business person, and my business partner has become more of the creative.
I love how actionable and practical that advice is: Create a business plan. Change of topic. We’re surrounded by Tiffany’s holiday gift collection. What are you eyeing as potential presents?
I’d say the tea service. The little tea cups and the tea pot are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. They’re also just so chic and timeless. Great for both giving and receiving. I’m also eyeing the wallets. My husband and son both need new wallets.
Since you brought it up in your toast, I have to ask: What was it like walking into Tiffany’s the first time you filmed that scene in Sweet Home Alabama?
It was incredible. It was all lit like a movie set. It was a beautiful movie moment, and a really important moment in my career because it was one of the very first movies I ever starred in. Many of the same salespeople [on the first floor of Tiffany’s] today were in that scene, and when I walked in this morning they were all like, “Hi, Reese! Haven’t seen you in a while!”
And, because we’re at Tiffany’s, after all: favorite breakfast?
Two cups of coffee with coconut milk and a veggie omelet.
Feature photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.