What Reese Witherspoon Taught Candace Nelson - Exclusive

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Like any healthy partnership, your best friends will support, inspire, and nurture your dreams. That's what Reese Witherspoon does for cupcake queen Candace Nelson. Witherspoon isn't a secret baking whizz, although — rumor has it — she was approached to play Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. In Nelson and Witherspoon's relationship, Nelson is the baked-goods guru. At the very least, Witherspoon owes her giant cookie skillet skills to her.

The two women, however, have at least one quality in common: being badass female entrepreneurs (hereafter BAFE). As any BAFE knows — and to borrow the words from Nelson's new book, "Sweet Success" — "develop[ing] a great network of people to support you" is paramount. It's also pretty sweet. 

Nelson recounted in a recent exclusive interview with Mashed how Reese came into her life. "We met through mutual friends in Los Angeles," she said. "It's funny because I tell her now, 'The first time I met you was in the store.' She came into Sprinkles to order some cupcakes and she was as sweet as could be. She was trying to keep a low profile because there were still ... a lot of paparazzi around at the time, but [she] wanted to engage in conversation." 

Nelson was no stranger to celebrity encounters, but Witherspoon was different. "[She] asked me about the new seasonal flavors. She was so lovely and I'd always admired her. When I became friendly with her, through friends, I was even more impressed by what an amazing friend she is," Nelson told Mashed. "She walks the walk in terms of showing up for women in her life, but also in the world in terms of uplifting their stories."

What Reese Witherspoon taught Candace Nelson about ambition

What else must any BAFE know? How to be fearlessly and unapologetically ambitious. "The way that [Reese] has inspired me is ... we're stronger together and inspiring and encouraging me to show up for other women in whatever form it may be — in mentorship, in friendship, as an investor in female-founded businesses," Nelson told Mashed. "[There's also] the way that she embraces ambition."

Embracing ambition was not always second nature to Nelson, who has never exactly been shy, either. You might recognize Nelson from "Cupcake Wars" and "Sugar Rush," but she started her career in the male-dominated world of investment banking. 

"When I was coming up in the career world, [women] didn't want to be thought of as 'ambitious,' because that was a dirty word," the Sprinkles founder recounted. "[Reese Witherspoon] has scrubbed that word clean for me. Of course you're ambitious. You want to make things happen in the world, you want to create change. You want to see your visions come to life. She is unstoppable in that way. She's such a creative mind, it never stops."

Candace Nelson's new book, "Sweet Success: A Simple Recipe to Turn Your Passion into Profit" was released November 8, 2022 and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.