Reese Witherspoon celebrated the 15th anniversary of her hit movie Legally Blonde by praising its message of female empowerment and lasting legacy among young women.
The 40-year-old actress starred as sorority girl-turned-law student Elle Woods in the 2001 film, and on Wednesday, she donned a frock in her character’s signature pink to pay tribute to the persona who inspired millions of girls around the world.
In an interview with Instagram, Reese reminisced about the first days on set, recalling that everyone was “excited about creating something that wasn’t just confection,” and how it has since evolved into an inspirational movie for future generations.
“It actually had a meaningful story that we had no idea would resonate so strongly with so many people,” she explained. “And it was about female empowerment. It wasn’t necessarily about the girl getting the guy… It was a pivotal moment in feminism only because it was like, Oh wait, you don’t have to be learned and boring. You can embrace your femininity, you can love to get your hair and nails done, you can love fashion, but also be incredibly intelligent.
“And I don’t know why those were two separate ideas at the time. Now it seems crazy to think that people thought that. It was kind of a lightning rod moment. Which was crazy that was 2001!… I’ve had people send me essays their daughters have written to get into school or camp where they’ve said Elle Woods was their hero. And I have had so many women say to me, ‘I went to law school because of Legally Blonde.'”
Reese went on to describe how much the film meant to her personally, saying, “It’s a big piece of my life, a big piece of my career. I owe so much to the creation of that character. She’s a big part of who I am as a person… It makes me so proud that people watch it and it’s still relevant and it reaches so many people all over the world. It’s very rare you create a character that people know that well.”
And although the Oscar winner has had plenty of memorable roles since first starring in the film 15 years ago, she revealed the most requested thing she hears from fans is to recreate Elle’s iconic “Bend and Snap”, a move which she uses in an attempt to flirt.
“That is still the most asked request I get from people,” she admitted. “I have a feeling I will be doing the bend and snap until I am 95.”
And Reese didn’t let her followers down – she even posted a tutorial on Instagram on how to perfect the signature move.
In preparation for the anniversary, she also asked her social media followers to show off their own Bend and Snap videos, many of which she reposted on her Twitter page.
Reese also retweeted messages from female fans who were moved by the film to go to law school, with one college grad tweeting, “Thanks, @RWitherspoon, for the movie that inspired 12 year old me to be a lawyer! I owe you!”
Reese reprised her role for a sequel in 2003, but did not return for a 2009 direct-to-DVD spin-off. The story was also adapted for Broadway play Legally Blonde: The Musical, which earned seven Tony nominations in 2007.