Every year, Elle magazine dives deep into the careers of the most talented names in film for their annual Women in Hollywood Issue. For the 20th annual edition, the glossy tapped Reese Witherspoon, Penèlope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, and Melissa McCarthy to grace the cover of the issue.
All are movers and shakers in their own right. For Witherspoon, it wasn’t until she had her children that she was clear on the kind of content she wanted in the world for her daughter. “I started noticing a couple years ago that I wasn’t seeing women as the stars of movies. I’m seeing them as guys’ girlfriends, or so-and-so’s wife,” she said in Elle on newsstands in the coming weeks. “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?”
The Water for Elephants actress has also become less competitive, thanks to motherhood. “I was a little competitive before I had kids—probably really competitive, to be honest,” said Witherspoon. “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 want to exhibit good qualities for my daughter.”