In Goop we trust? Gwyneth Paltrow has courted controversy since launching her wellness and lifestyle brand, Goop, in 2008.
What started as a weekly newsletter from the Clean Plate author, grew to an expansive website that spawned a fashion line, wellness products, recipe portal, podcast, magazine and health summit, among other projects.
“We operate from a place of curiosity and nonjudgment, and we start hard conversations, crack open taboos, and look for connection and resonance everywhere we can find it,” Goop’s website reads. “We don’t mind being the tip of the spear — in short, we go first so you don’t have to. We’re glad you’re here.”
Since its launch, Goop has released a few controversial products, including the Jade Egg (it is claimed to increase sexual energy when placed in one’s vagina) and the “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle. Paltrow, however, stands by her choice to release the items, especially the scent that may make some people uncomfortable.
“You grew up getting messaging around the feminine care that was heavily scented with synthetic fragrances and all this kind of thing,” Paltrow exclusively told Us Weekly in September 2020, regarding her cheeky candle. “I just felt it was time to make a bit of a feminist statement around accepting who we are and our femininity.”
A year prior, the Iron Man actress came under more fire after the In Goop Health conference in London in June 2019. Some attendees were upset about the $1,300 hotel price tag and what they called a subpar experience, with one reportedly labeling the actress a “f–king extortionist” and claiming the weekend was less of a summit and more of a sales pitch.
“Gwyneth acts like she’s a health goddess, but actually she’s a pretentious, greedy extortionist,” an attendee told The New York Post‘s Page Six at the time. “She had a ton of security. She was unapproachable. She did the minimum — a few fireside chats with Twiggy and Penelope Cruz, then she put on her Birkenstocks and snuck out.”
According to the company, however, there was no foul play.
“It should be noted that the actual value of the weekend package was over $8,000,” a rep told the outlet. “The cost included a hotel suite (valued at $1,600) and a gift bag valued at $3,000, among other items. During the event, Gwyneth opened the day, conducted three fireside chats (almost half of the day’s panels) and hosted a workout and Q&A the next day.”
Nevertheless, numerous attendees were left mystified after the event. “I was a huge fan of Gwyneth,” added the guest. “Now I feel like I have lost my faith in God.”
The Shakespeare in Love actress defended her the wellness company from criticism early on as well, telling Harper’s Bazaar UK in 2011 that “I very much want Goop to be its own stand-alone brand.”
She revealed that “at this point in time, it’s inextricably linked with me, but we really are a team of amazing people who bring incredible ideas to the site. It’s not only me.”
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