Elle Woods

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Elle Woods
Reese Witherspoon, 2009 cropped.jpg
Reese Witherspoon played Elle Woods in the first two Legally Blonde films
First appearance Legally Blonde
Last appearance Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
Created by Amanda Brown
Portrayed by Reese Witherspoon
Gender Female
Occupation Lawyer
Nationality American

Elle Woods is a character and the protagonist of Amanda Brown's novel Legally Blonde and the film of the same name.

In pop culture[edit]

Woods was portrayed in two films by Reese Witherspoon. In a Broadway theatre adaptation of the first film, Legally Blonde - The Musical, Woods has been portrayed by eight different actresses in different stagings of the show. They were Gabby Cinque, Olivia Mezzerina, Laura Bell Bundy, Bailey Hanks, Becky Gulsvig, Jessica Jung, Nikki Bohne, Luna Park, Jung Eun-ji, and in the West End by Sheridan Smith OBE (who was later to be replaced by her Legally Blonde co-star Susan McFadden). From 11 July 2011 Carley Stenson took over the role of Elle Woods with Susan McFadden leaving the show.

Entertainment Weekly put Elle Woods on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "She's blond, bubbly, and carries a tiny Chihuahua. But despite the inevitable Paris Hilton comparisons, Reese Witherspoon's Legally Blonde dynamo managed to be taken seriously. Case closed!"[1]

The character is mentioned, but not seen in a later direct-to-video sequel, Legally Blondes, which portrays the adventures of her two British cousins.

Elle Woods is also the basis of a series of young adult fiction novels featuring the character and written by Natalie Standiford.[2][3]


Elle Woods is the archetypal valley girl from Bel Air, Los Angeles, growing up across the street from Aaron Spelling. She is a vegetarian, a Gemini, and has a pet chihuahua named Bruiser.

Woods is a senior at the fictional ULCA (an anagram of the real-life UCLA), where she is majoring in fashion merchandising and is president of her sorority, Delta Nu (ΔΝ). She attends Harvard Law School in an effort to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, who had ended the relationship on the basis of her lack of seriousness before heading there himself. Although superficially nothing more than the stereotypical dumb blonde, she demonstrates a surprising intellect even before going to Harvard––albeit mainly focused on fashion-related details––and also shows genuine concern and care for others.

Once at Harvard, it is revealed that Huntington left Woods for his ex-girlfriend from prep school, Vivian Kensington, and is now engaged. She eventually earns her Juris Doctor (JD), gains the respect of her peers, and becomes engaged to Emmett, whom she met on her first day of law school.

In the sequel to the original film, Elle is in the middle of planning her wedding while in line for a promotion at work. She decides to track down the birth mother of her beloved dog, Bruiser, and discovers that she is being used for animal testing. After getting fired for trying to bring up the testing facility, Elle goes to work on Capitol Hill, seeking to advance animal rights. She begins the film with naïve expectations about the motivations of members of Congress, and although these expectations are dashed, she perseveres and succeeds in the passage of the desired animal rights legislation. At the end of the movie, she marries Emmett in Washington, D.C, and is seen looking at the White House when she is asked where she wants to live.


  1. ^ EW Staff (December 4, 2009). "100 greatest movies, TV shows, and more". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080): 74–84. 
  2. ^ "Juvenile Series and Sequels Title: Elle Woods". Mid-Continent Public Library. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. 
  3. ^ "Legally Elle Woods". fictfact.com. 

External links[edit]