Reese Witherspoon Celebrates Malala Yousafzai: My Daughter Is In “Awe” Of Her

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Reese Witherspoon Malala

By Daniel Gates

Reese Witherspoon Malala

(Getty Images)

Reese Witherspoon celebrated her “role model,” newly awarded Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, at the Variety Women in Power event on Friday.

The Oscar winner, who works with Yousafzai’s Malala Fund, has a personal connection to the teenager — as does Witherspoon’s daughter Ava. “I remember one day when my daughter Ava was really little, she’s 15 now, but she was 7 or 8, she said, ‘I don’t wanna go to school,'” Witherspoon told the audience. “I took the opportunity to explain to her that there are a lot of girls all over the world who don’t get the opportunity to go to school.”

The actress continued, “She was shocked and she asked me why. I told her that in certain places, people control women by not teaching them to read and write. If you can’t read, you can’t vote. If you can’t write, you can’t create new laws, and my daughter found that astounding.” “And from that point on Ava became determined to help others understand the plight of women around the world,” said Witherspoon.

The star explained with admiration, “When I was 14, I was worried about learning my lines and impressing casting directors. When Malala Yousafzai was 14, she was speaking out against an oppressive regime and fighting for the rights for girls to be educated around the world.”

Witherspoon and her daughter met Yousafzai over the summer.

“She’s just a regular teenager in some ways,” said the actress of the activist. “She sat next to Ava at dinner and they talked about schoolwork and homework and what their life goals were and Ava was just in awe of this 17-year-old woman who’s making a difference in this world, but she’s never stopped talking about her education. Because her education is her biggest gift.”

Witherspoon marveled, “They told her today in chemistry class that she won a Nobel Peace Prize and she said, ‘Oh that’s wonderful. Okay I need to finish my classwork.’ Amazing.”

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