The Sweet Home Alabama actress-turned-lifestyle entrepreneur, who hails from Nashville, Tennessee, has been celebrated by the publication's editors for her Draper James clothing and home collection, applauding the star for prioritising "made-in-America, made-in-the-South products".

They notified Reese of her inclusion in the annual list via Twitter, to which she exclaimed, "Such an honor!!! Thanks @Southern_Living! @draperjames #SouthernPride".

Country legend Dolly Parton was also recognised for her continued philanthropy work with Imagination Library, which provides free books to underprivileged kids, and the success of her biographical TV movie, Coat of Many Colors, which became a huge hit with viewers in December (15).

Others included as top innovators of the south were blues rockers Alabama Shakes and their frontwoman, Brittany Howard, comedians Aziz Ansari and Tig Notaro, documentary maker Joe York, authors Jesmyn Ward and Brene Brown, U.S. women's soccer star Morgan Brian, and jazz musician Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the house band on America's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.