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Reese Witherspoon Is Launching a New Project for Women and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.

We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

American Music Awards!

The American Music Awards took place this past Sunday. Major awards were presented to Ariana Grande, Drake, Twenty One Pilots, and others. Among the performances, Bruno Mars’ explosive performance of “24K Magic” opened the evening, and Lady Gaga’s dialed-down performance of “Million Reasons” was another highlight. But possibly the most striking moment of the evening was when Selena Gomez accepted the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. Referencing her decision to take a break from performing, Gomez gave a surprising and powerful acceptance speech, exclaiming, “I had to stop, 'cause I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside. And I kept it all together to where I never let you down. But I kept it too much together where I let myself down.” She continued with a message of seeking authenticity over validation by showing our “bodies on Instagram.” Talk about a countercultural and important message for our time. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Ellen DeGeneres and Others Are Awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom

This week President Obama recognized twenty-one people for the highest civilian medal of honor, including Diana Ross, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, and Michael Jordan, to name a few. The Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to "security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Call me corny, but I, for one, was most touched at the words President Obama spoke as he awarded the medal to uplifting TV show host extraordinaire Ellen DeGeneres: "Again and again Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, and more loving place so long as we just keep swimming." —MRS

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Celebrate 69 Years of Marriage

On Monday Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary, and the international press took a moment to reflect on the longevity of their marriage. The now 90-year-old British monarch was just 21 years old when she married the 26-year-old Royal Navy Lieutenant back in 1947, and she became the country’s longest-serving sovereign earlier this year. So what can we non-royals learn from their long marriage? Privacy has always been incredibly important to this pair, who have been so much in the public eye for the majority of their lives, and their commitment to family and maintaining privacy is one we can all take to heart in our own relationships, too. And while Prince Philip’s sense of humor is infamously off-color, there’s no doubt that a sense of humor is vital for a happy and long-lasting marriage. Cheers to the royal couple! —Sophie Caldecott

Reese Witherspoon Launching Multimedia Brand for Women

Reese Witherspoon is launching a new multimedia brand for women come 2017. The cross-platform brand, called Hello Sunshine, aims to tell female-driven stories through social media and short videos. The Academy Award–winning actress is joining forces with Otter Media, which is a joint venture between the Chernin Group and AT&T. The companies said in a statement released on Monday that the goal of Hello Sunshine is to "create, curate and discover powerful content by and for women across all platforms, from daily social and short form digital content to television shows and motion pictures."

Witherspoon is no stranger to promoting and championing female voices in media and beyond. She is also the owner of Pacific Standard, a film and television production company, which is known for showcasing female voices and stories. If that wasn’t enough, she also launched the clothing line Draper James in 2015 and is working on a lifestyle memoir. Upon teaming up with Otter Media for the launch of Hello Sunshine, Witherspoon said, "My lifelong passion has been to tell women's stories with authenticity and humor. This partnership will allow me to reach a greater audience that is eager for more female driven content." —Katie Faley

A Gift from an American to Paris

American artist Jeff Koons is donating a sculpture to the city of Paris to commemorate the victims of the terror attacks that happened in the city last year. His 34-foot-high "Bouquet of Tulips" is a colorful echo of the Statue of Liberty and a reminder of the solidarity through hardship that the two nations share. “I hope that the ‘Bouquet of Tulips’ can communicate a sense of future, of optimism, the joy of offering, to find something greater outside the self," the artist commented. The sculpture is currently being made in Germany and will be installed next year in front of the Museum of Modern Art. —SC

Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Wins Dancing with the Stars

This week, Dancing with the Stars concluded one of its closest competitions yet. The first round of season 23’s finals aired Monday night, in which Calvin Johnson Jr. (retired NFL football player), Jana Kramer (actress turned singer), Laurie Hernandez (Olympic gymnast), and James Hinchcliffe (Indy Car driver) duked it out in a tight race until Kramer was eliminated at the end of the episode.

The remaining three contestants danced in Tuesday night’s finals which were held in a bedazzled outdoor holiday theme at The Grove in Los Angeles. Although eliminated the night prior, Jana Kramer was still present and performed her new single “Circles.” After one last dance and tallying all the scores, the coveted Mirror Ball trophy was awarded to Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy. “My goal is just to inspire others as I go on with my journey,” 16-year-old Hernandez exclaimed after the win. Chmerkovksiy, who throughout the season was inspired by his partner’s youthful zest for life added, “To all the kids out there, you don’t have to wait to grow up to change the world. Be great. You’re the future.” If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to watch Laurie and Val’s freestyle—quite possibly the most delightful two-minute clip you’ll see all week. —Rebecca Curry

New Anne of Green Gables Aired this Thanksgiving on PBS

If football is considered as essential as the turkey on Thanksgiving Day in your house, then you might have missed the airing of Anne of Green Gables on PBS. The latest adaptation of this classic story follows the life of Anne, a full spirited and lovable young orphan. Whether you’ve grown up with the story, or are hearing about it for the first time, it is a special worth watching whether you’re age 9 or 29. Weaving together themes of authenticity and kindness, the film is as meaningful as it is entertaining. Anne’s perspective is as refreshing as her personality is wholesome, making her a worthy model for girls of all ages. If you missed it or just want to watch it again, the special will be accessible on the PBS website. —Maleah Black

Happy Gilmore Girls Day!

The big day has finally arrived! We couldn't be happier to have a chance to hang out with all our favorite characters again. Enjoy your binge-watching session, Gilmore Girls fans—and remember, don't give away any spoilers if you finish faster than everyone else. —SC

Good News of the Week

An anonymous man in Pennsylvania and his team of volunteers donated $22,000 worth of groceries for families this Thanksgiving. That is enough food to feed 150 families who cannot afford a Thanksgiving meal of their own this year in the community. The annual donation has become a sort of tradition for the man and his company over the past few years. It started in 2008 when the company decided to trade in the company’s employee gift-exchange for donating enough food to feed 30 families in Ambler, Pennsylvania. In eight years that number has quadrupled from 30 to 150.

The meals were brought to the Wissahickon Fire Company to be distributed by the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund, which hands out groceries to families taking care of sick children. Meals were picked up by social workers, who provided them to their clients so that they could have Thanksgiving dinner at home instead of the soup kitchen. Other meals were distributed to families at two local hospitals. This certainly restores our faith in humanity this Thanksgiving. —KF