From The Big Screen To The Board Room


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Movie Stars Turned Moguls 

The association between a brand and a celebrity is nothing new. For decades, the famous faces allied with famous companies have been commonplace, frequently with companies willing to pay handsomely for a well-known pitchman or spokesperson. Stars spearhead films and trending television series, perform chart-topping songs, and captivate us on social media. But with growing regularity, many have become entrepreneurs by launching or investing heavily in their own tech, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle companies. 

And while it may be easy to dismiss some of these alliances as mere cash grabs, plenty of passionate stars have pivoted away from entertainment in favor of running their businesses. In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores several celebrities devoting their insights, passion, personal brand, and love of business to embrace a new role: entrepreneur.

From The Big Screen To The Board Room - JULY 2021

Ryan Reynolds - The Midas Touch

Aviation Gin

While Reynolds may not be the first in the world of celebrity-owned alcohol, he has undoubtedly taken Aviation Gin to a whole new level. In 2018, he purchased a stake in Aviation Gin and has since been the face of the company. As the co-owner, he sits on its board and champions as the brand ambassador and creative director. During a recent appearance at the Cannes Lions advertising event, Reynolds commented, “I used some of that sweet Deadpool money to buy Aviation Gin, and I needed to market that. Inadvertently, we became a marketing company, and we were having the time of our lives.” A mere two years after Reynolds invested in the company both financially and creatively, Diageo purchased the brand in 2020 for more than $600 million. In the statement announcing this acquisition, Reynolds commented, “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring. Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with.”


Photo Credit: Aviation Gin

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Mint Mobile

Reynolds and his marketing company turned to an essential technology with his investment and involvement with Mint Mobile. Mint Mobile was founded in 2016 and has built its network atop T-Mobile's network. Mint Mobile is one of many small carriers, called MVNOs, that live atop wireless networks deployed by the big four -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. What they lack in infrastructure, they make up for in cheaper plans, generally reliable customer service, and surprisingly high customer satisfaction. Reynolds acknowledged that the move is "a bit unconventional," but added that he believes American consumers are looking for cheaper wireless mobile plans. Mint has reportedly boosted its revenue by 50,000% Similar to his spokesperson status for Aviation, Reynolds plays starring roles in a series of hilarious commercials that certainly help boost the company’s profile. Spend a few minutes on YouTube checking them out. They’re awesome. Who doesn’t freaking love Ryan Reynolds?

Wrexham A.F.C.

In a move perhaps even more intriguing than his investment in mobile tech, Reynolds teamed with fellow actor Rob McElhenney in the acquisition of the Welsh professional football club located in Wrexham, Wales. The new partners pledged to be very hands-on with the operations of the club. Reynolds and McElhenney set out principles for their takeover centered around protecting the heritage of the Welsh club, reinforcing the values woven in the town itself, and making Wrexham champions again. The pair are understood to be prepared to use their own money, marketing, and fame to help the club return to its glory days.  Reynolds and McElhenney have already made a £2 million investment in the club, which had been in fan ownership since 2011. Under the terms of the deal; a Netflix-style documentary is also expected, which will surely further invest in the club and the intended improvements to it and the town of Wrexham itself.

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Reese Witherspoon - The Lady Boss

Hello Sunshine

Reese Witherspoon is the highest-paid woman in the entertainment industry. Indeed, she is one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, earning a reported $20 million for 10 episodes of The Morning Show. But her August 2021 sale of a majority share of her production company Hello Sunshine to a Blackstone-backed media company, earned a cool $900 million. What makes Hello Sunshine so valuable? A big favorite among Hollywood Branded staffers, Hello Sunshine was created to generate content by and for women, and has assembled an impressive list of projects spanning all channels of media, including television, film, audio, literary, social and digital outlets. The popular Reese’s Book Club has teamed up with like-minded partners including #HeyGoogle, Havenly, Lavazza, and SIMI Wine to help book club members curate cozy, cuddly at-home moments to curl up with a great read.

Coliena Rentmeester

Photo Credit: Colienta Rentmeesster

Draper James

Launched by Witherspoon in 2015, the line aims to emphasize her Southern roots and personal style. Draper James features a wide range of clothing, accessories, and home decor designed to embrace the beauty of the contemporary American South. Like her fellow savvy celebrity entrepreneurs, Witherspoon frequently uses her personal social platforms to model and promote the seasonal line. Originally an online destination exclusively, the company has begun opening brick-and-mortar destinations in large cities across the U.S. South.

Kristen Bell - The Mommy Mogul

Hello Bello

Together with her husband Dax Shephard, in 2019 Kristen Bell launched a baby line called Hello Bello. Their mission is simple and straightforward: produce high-quality baby products that everyone can afford. Products in the Hello Bello baby line are made with plant-based ingredients and include adorable printed diapers, shampoo, baby wipes, sunscreen, skincare, home cleaning, and laundry detergent. Hello Bello products are distributed at retail by Wal-Mart, CVS, Albertson’s, and also online via subscription services. A CNBC report stated that the company anticipated 2021 gross sales of $200 million, doubling sales from the year before.


Photo Credit: Hello Bello

This Saves Lives Bars

Bell teamed with fellow entertainment professionals Ryan Devlin, Todd Grinnell, and Ravi Patel fin the foundation of This Saves Lives Bars, with a mission to end severe acute malnutrition. Following the one-to-one model popularized by companies such as TOMS, every time a customer buys a snack bar, This Bar Saves Lives donates nutritional packets to a child in need. Since its founding, the company says it has provided more than 3.5 million packets to children suffering from malnutrition, impacting more than 270,000 lives. In an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine, Bell stated: “I believe the escalation of the business is due to genuine interest, from everyone involved, in helping others. The entire team genuinely believes in the cause, and it's a testament to the idea that the good you put out in the universe will make its way back to you. Giving back gives me an incredible endorphin release. Most people qualify helping others as selfless, but for me, it is actually selfish. I gain so much joy and esteem from lifting others.” This Bar Saves Lives are available online and in many stores such as Target, Whole Foods, and Starbucks.

Ashton Kutcher - The Tech Titan

You could argue that the income from Ashton Kutcher's Hollywood success is a huge advantage as an investor. Kutcher and his investment partners, including music manager Guy Oseary and others, took an initial investment portfolio of $30 million and multiplied its value to more than $250 million in a mere six years. The key to their success? A carefully cultivated focus on tech start-ups. They invest in founders who are breaking boundaries, creating new solutions to improve antiquated systems, and who have great stories to tell, to lure both new customers and press coverage. Their venture capital firm, A-Grade Investments, targets start-ups with three traits: appealing founders with whom they actively want to work, a problem-solving mission statement oriented around saving or enriching time, and a business model that could be boosted by their involvement. Their collective keen intellect and innate intuition paid off for the V.C. which identified disruptors in the tech industry during its early days, including Airbnb, Uber, Spotify, Warby Parker, Skype, and dozens more. Kutcher also cleverly uses his massive social media footprint to drive awareness, opinion, and viewers to the business sites. 

Just because someone finds fame in pop culture doesn’t guarantee equal success in the world of big business. But some make many smart and well-thought decisions, and use the power of their celebrity, to find success in the board room.


Photo Credit: Tim Pannell/Forbes Magazine

Eager To Learn More?

Like what you read? Click on some of our past blogs to read more about celebrities who spend time in the board room as well as the big screen.

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