Move over Beyoncé. You’re not the only one in town throwing out cryptic signs anymore. Over the weekend, Reese Witherspoon posted a bizarre Easter homage to Instagram, a promotional video for her southern lifestyle brand (a phrase which on its own sounds like a potential slur in this day and age), Draper James, and I firmly believe it was a coded message.
Stay with me…
Reese Witherspoon is an enigmatic figure. She is an A-list actress whose work spans everything from iconic, stylized kitsch like Legally Blonde to character roles like June Carter in Walk the Line to her emotionally real turn in Wild. After stunningly crafting her most recent character of Madeline Mackenzie in Big Little Lies into something of a endearing comedic drama queen, she proved yet again that she’s not just a ’90s burnout or pretty face. Despite being kind of A-list light in that she’s never really put out an existential tearjerker (which shouldn’t be the qualification for good or award-worthy in my opinion, but it’s often the standard entertainment is judged by), Witherspoon is a force and I won’t be argued with about it.
But my favorite part about her by far is her mysterious real-life persona. You may have read the infamous Gawker (RIP) article about Witherspoon a couple of years ago, that delved into her online depiction of herself in what ended up being a fantastic piece of both humor and journalism. No matter how funny, it’s true. Witherspoon, despite the Oscar and frilly clothing for sale, has a sorority girl from hell inside her.
There’s this run-in with the cops:
This Met Ball moment for the ages:
This self-posted very drunk Instagram photo (which is one of many from around the same time):
So, let’s get back to the Easter video now that you are apprised of the rich dualities that comprise Reese Witherspoon’s mystique. There is part of me that wonders if Draper James in and of itself is the best exploitative celebrity joke on all of us ever. Witherspoon is clearly a low-key hellcat — what if it’s all just a giant gag on the infamously noxious Goop? It’s just too fucking twee not to have self-referential humor to it. She sells sundresses that look like something out of a “How to look like you had a threesome with Lilly Pulitzer and racism” think piece. She sells totes that say, “Totes Y’all” to women who probably fill them with arsenic-laced bread to feed the ducks when their husbands stay out golfing too long. It can’t be serious.
And neither can that Easter video. I get it, it’s an ad for their new Easter-themed line — because if Southern people love anything (I’m from the South and going to claim my right to stereotype on this one after a lifetime of having to wear layers of lace in April and look for rotting hard-boiled eggs in 85-degree heat), it’s an antiquated and nonsensical tradition. The way she talks to the bunny, the way she bites a Peep’s head off and continues to talk with her mouth full, her excitement for the giant Peep and ominously showing it to the bunny, her unhinged giggle… That video was either pure comedic genius or a secret message that it’s all an elaborate ruse to make us into a Steel Magnolia’s sequel for Witherspoon’s pleasure, and you’d better get your damn “Hello Everybunny” shirt today.