"Reese Witherspoon is my idol." Former University of Leeds student speaks of moment she handed Hollywood star her dissertation

A former University of Leeds student has spoken of the heartwarming response she's received after a video in which she hands her dissertation to her idol went viral on the internet.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 1:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 1:45 pm
Reese Witherspoon (left) Pic: Ian West/PA Wire. Lucy Forde (right).
Reese Witherspoon (left) Pic: Ian West/PA Wire. Lucy Forde (right).

Lucy Ford (26) got the opportunity to hand over her final year Cultural Studies thesis to Hollywood superstar Reese Witherspoon while conducting an interview as part of her role as entertainment reporter at London-based Bauer Media.

The 15,000 word piece of work, which was based around Witherspoon's strong female character in hit movie Legally Blonde, brought a look of genuine shock on the 41-year-old actress' face, and Lucy admits she toyed with the idea for a while before she decided to go ahead.

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "Reese is my idol, and I've wanted to interview her since I started my job two years ago.

"I floated the idea of giving Reese my dissertation as a joke during a production meeting with my team, but my boss thought that it would be a nice moment for me and too good an opportunity to miss.

"In those moments your adrenaline just takes over, and you kind of don't think about anything at all."

Lucy, who is originally from South Wales, only took in Witherspoon's reaction when it came to editing the clip, which was shot ahead of the release of her new film a Wrinkle in Time in which she stars alongside Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling.

"In the moment I didn't really take in her reaction," Lucy said. "I was consious that I had to actually do an interview with the three of them afterwards. it was only when I edited the footage that I saw her reaction and that she did seem genuinely touched."

And for Lucy, who graduated from the University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in Cultural Studies, the response from people all over the world on social media has been out of this world.

She added: "Seeing it gain momentum so quickly was insane, but then realising that it connected with a lot of people who also unashamedly love pop culture and celebrities felt incredible.

"I've had loads of people send me their dissertations and the things that they love and it's been so interesting and heartwarming.

"I think the internet can sometimes be an incredibly cruel place, but I got none of that. 99 percent was positive and the one mean thing someone said to me was shut down by University of Leeds, telling me they were proud of me, which made me cry."