Reese Witherspoon on her 40th birthday plans and being a role model to daughter Ava

Reese Witherspoon has been making films for 25 years, starring in everything from rom-coms to dramas. But these days before she adds another role to her impressive resume, she always takes her 16-year-old daughter, Ava Phillippe, into consideration.

In a new interview for Harper's BAZAAR's February issue, the 39-year-old reflected on how film roles available to top actresses don't always represent an example she wants to set. "There was a point, around 2011, there were like five actresses that I admire very much and they all called me and said, 'There's this role of this girlfriend in this movie,' which was kind of just a terrible movie. And we're all kind of clamoring for this terrible part? We are so much better than this."

Reese, who turns 40 this year, with 16-year-old daughter Ava Photo: Instagram/@ReeseWitherspoon

"I certainly can't star in all these movies," she continued. "I want to get a female perspective on film that would make my daughter [Ava] understand what it means to be a woman in a different way."

The actress, who played bubbly lawyer Elle Woods in the popular Legally Blonde movie when she was 25 and fashion designer Melanie Smooter in Sweet Home Alabama a year later, admitted, "In my 20s, I was scared of everything. I didn't know what my career was. I didn't know why people liked my movies. I was wary of interacting with people.” She added, “I was scared, really scared.”

"In my 20s, I was scared of everything," she told Harper's Baazar Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

However, now as she approaches her milestone 40th birthday this March, the petite blonde revealed that she feels like “a different person.” She said, “It's a great thing getting older. You are who you are; you say what you mean.”

The mom-of-three has certainly grown since her Elle Woods days. Back in 2006, the actress earned an Academy Award for her role in Walk the Line and scored another nomination in 2015 for her performance in Wild, which she both starred in and produced.

“It's a great thing getting older. You are who you are," she stated Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

Reese has her husband Jim Toth to thank for her newfound producing career. She recalled, "He said, 'You should produce movies. You read more books than anybody I know. You should just buy some of them and turn them into films'" – which she did. In the last four years the actress-turned-producer has optioned two books, Gone Girl and Wild, both of which earned Oscar nominations.

With her family, Draper James fashion brand and 25 movies in development, it’s amazing the producer manages to balance it all. Reese’s secret? Her sock drawer. She revealed, “I relax a lot. You know what I like to do? Reorganize bookshelves and my sock drawer. [My husband’s] like, 'What have you been doing for four hours in your closet?' I'm like, 'Um, reorganizing my underwear?'"

More about