Zoey Deutch says she wants to be Reese Witherspoon when she grows up
At just 25, Zoey Deutch has already made quite a name for herself. From starring in blockbuster films like Set it Up and acclaimed TV shows like The Politician, to standing out in retro hairstyles and colorful looks on the red carpet, to making her 2.2 million Instagram followers fall in love with her friendship with Ben Platt and pasta-eating habits, it’s clear that Deutch is on the rise. And when she looks at her soaring career trajectory, the star of the new movie Buffaloed has one path in mind to follow: Reese Witherspoon‘s.
“I look up to Reese Witherspoon so much—her body of work, her choice in parts, her ‘put family first, but also run an empire’ kind of vibe. That’s my dream,” Deutch tells HelloGiggles. “I want marriage and kids, a clothing company and store, and I want to act and produce in TV shows and movies that people around the world love and respond to. I also want to be known for being inclusive and kind like she is—I want all of the things that she emulates. That’s who I want to be when I grow up.”
In the entertainment industry, Witherspoon is one of a few trailblazing women who not only dips her toes in many roles of the field, but full-on dives into them. The star pushes the boundaries of what many people think it means to be a woman in Hollywood, so it’s no wonder young actresses like Deutch look up to her.
“She’s a real role model to me and I feel lucky to be an actress during this time,” Deutch says. “You can’t be what you can’t see, and she makes me see that it’s possible to do it all, and that I will do it all.”
This desire to get her hands dirty in every area she’s mentioned—acting, producing, fashion, entrepreneurialism, motherhood, and marriage—is palpable when talking to Deutch.
She’s already crossed several categories off of that list: Acting, producing, and becoming a fresh force to reckon with in the fashion arena. Hearing her talk about her goals, it’s clear to me that there’s only one way for her to go: Up—and fast.
“I want a lot and I feel so lucky that I have people who champion that, tell me that I can have a lot, and that I should go out and get a lot,” Deutch says. “It’s mine for the taking, and that’s a privilege that I’ve been granted—that that’s not a foreign concept to me. I want so much for my life, and I can have it if I work really hard.”
It’s an age-old lesson, but in a world where the notion of hard work seems to get lost sometimes, hearing this from Deutch’s 25-year-old mouth is refreshing.
A prime example of the actress putting her money where her mouth is? Buffaloed, in theaters now. Not only did Deutch star in the poignant comedy about a young woman desperate to escape her life in Buffalo, New York, but she co-produced it. It marks the second feature with a producing credit under her belt, and there’s more to come—she’s producing a movie for Netflix this summer, and is currently producing a podcast.
“I love the process of producing,” she explains. “There’s a lot that goes into it, but I love the details. As a type A personality, I like having all of the information and being involved every step along the way.”
Alongside producing and acting, Deutch used her eye for fashion when designing her character Peg Dahl’s wardrobe for Buffaloed, which is full of power suits, sweatpants, scrunchies, and sneakers. She found many of Peg’s outfits by sifting through thrift stores in Buffalo, and says she still loves wearing the white Reebok sneakers and red suit seen in the film. Deutch also labored over Peg’s voice, working with a dialogue teacher to nail down the character’s accent—Buffalo roots with “a little bit of a Minnesota thing happening,” she says. Deutch went full method in the city to find Peg’s distinct voice.
“I illegally recorded some conversations that I had with people at their stores and restaurants in Buffalo,” she admits. “I wanted to make sure [the accent] was accurate and consistent with my research and my dialogue teacher’s research.”
This passion for getting things right seems to carry over into everything Deutch pursues. As for ventures on her to-do list she’s yet to tackle, she mentions starring in an action movie or a musical, and playing a Disney princess (“Snow White maybe?”). I can already see her in a blue and yellow gown with a red bow in her hair, flocked by dwarfs—and if there’s anything I learned from our conversation, it’s that Deutch will embody her role model Witherspoon’s drive and make it happen.