Since its humble beginnings over a decade ago, when users would throw avocado toast and grainy borders at the millennial pink wall to see if it’d stick (disclaimer: it did), Instagram has been the cause of many an op-ed, the subject of investigations about mental health and body image and even accused of causing people to grow horns on their necks from too much time spent bent over their phones.
It’s resulted in a booming industry whereby influencers and celebrities can make millions off a single post and is to thank for countless other business successes – just last year, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley posted that she’d found a sold-out Celine coat via a young woman in Sydney and now that young woman, Gab Waller, has been featured on WWD.
But amid all the chaos and obsession, one unsuspecting celebrity was quietly going about perfecting the art of Instagram.
While Jennifer Aniston’s mere decision to walk into the party late famously broke the app in 2019, her friend and The Morning Show co-star Reese Witherspoon has been playing the long game, joining all the way back in May 2013 – the era of grainy filters and weird borders and a time when celebrities weren’t really sure what to make of the platform, carefully placing copywrite infringements at the bottom of each and every image.
Her first post, a photo wishing her mum, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Witherspoon, a happy Mother’s Day, got less than 3,000 likes. Her most recent post, a video also featuring Betty, has had over 3.3 million views in just 12 hours.
Reese’s early days on Instagram prove just how quickly she picked up the knack for social media: her second-ever post kickstarted the book club she still has to this day with the unassuming hashtag #RWBookClub (and some terribly taken flat-lays) and, not long after, she realised how much people wanted to see the behind-the-scenes moments of her life, introducing her two children, heroing her mum – who to this day is a regular guest on the ‘gram – and sharing candid photos from her film sets.
Fast-forward to 2020 and Reese’s Instagram game has never been better. She perfectly walks the line between being self-deprecating – reposting memes of herself found on the internet, hilarious – watching a mother of teenagers learn the language of Tik Tok will never not be funny, and political, using her platform to speak about women’s rights, the Time’s Up movement and inclusivity in the workplace.
It’s Reese Witherspoon’s app and we’re just living on it.