In her first cover shoot since her wedding, Gwyneth Paltrow gives an intimate glimpse into a life beyond the headlines with a shoot directed by herself and bought to life on a phone. Josh Newis-Smith opens the gates of Goop’s first London store to meet the queen of wellness…
Entering Goop’s first London store – in the well wheeled yummy mummy pram route of Westbourne Grove – is akin to stepping inside Ariel’s cave of treasures in The Little Mermaid. There are gadgets and gizmos aplenty, from a Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo to what looks like a sculptural hand cream, but is in fact a vibrator named 'The Fireman.' Not exactly Disney friendly, but it looks far more enjoyable.
At the centre of this world is, to quote Ariel, “the girl who has everything”: Gwyneth Paltrow. And after spending 15 minutes in her company, I instantly want to be part of her world. As I comment that her energy and warmth is palpable, she replies in her trademark breezy – yet cheeky – west-coast tone, “Well, you have my husband to thank for that!”
Gwyneth is of course referring to Brad Falchuk, her long-term boyfriend, now-husband, who she married last week in a secret Hamptons ceremony. The pair surprised us with a nonchalant Instagram post, sent to her 4.7 million followers, of them holding hands modelling their simple gold wedding bands.
Gwyneth Paltrow has shared a photo from her wedding and she looks absolutely incredible
Much was made in the media about her “conscious uncoupling” from first husband Chris Martin (father to her two children, Apple, 14, and Moses, 12) in 2014. So, how does it feel to find happiness and get married a second time around, I wonder? “It’s fantastic,” Gwyneth beams, “I feel so lucky and I am so grateful. It’s different to be in your mid-forties; do it again and bring all your experience, your pain, your happiness, suffering – everything. It’s actually very heartening, I feel very optimistic!” The 46-year-old is still basking in her post-wedding glow – and the Goop beauty products (“we really believe in non-toxic beauty and in not putting things on your skin that are transdermally absorbed,”) are serving her well, too.
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For GLAMOUR’s inaugural digital issue – shot on a mobile phone and controlled completely by the cover stars themselves, from where they’re shot to how they’re shot – Gwyneth Paltrow has chosen her Goop store as the backdrop for her cover. With barely there make-up, it feels like the real Gwyneth: the mum, the wife, the boss and friend – not the woman who some have wild misconceptions about – who greets me.
It’s come full circle, for Goop. “I just can’t believe it,” Gwyneth shakes her head, “I sent out a little newsletter from my kitchen in Belsize Park in 2008 and now this whole business has been created. It’s so nice to come home to London and to open a shop where this all started. I love London so much, my children were born here, they are half British – so I feel tied to this city and this country,” she says looking around her with amazement.
Gwyneth has certainly travelled a long and winding road since her first wellness epiphany after undertaking her first detox, “I was a person who loved sugar, fried food and alcohol – I still am, quite frankly,” she laughs. “But when I did my first 21-day cleanse called, The Clean Program and cut out caffeine, gluten, diary… I felt completely re-born. I was like, ‘this wellness thing is real! I feel incredible!’ Of course, I went back to martinis, but I try to do one once a year!”
The martinis now come in the form of bath salts and the brand’s portfolio has evolved from a humble newsletter with recipes for turkey ragù and banana-nut muffins into a multi-faceted, formidable business. All the corner stones of her brand hold court in their own department in this new emporium of Goopness: beauty products, gym wear and high-end clothing are all proudly on display, with the quarterly Goop magazine and Gwyneth penned books artfully punctuating the products.
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With the store as her playground, Gwyneth has chosen – alongside a minimal makeup look framed by beachy blonde waves – two outfits that symbolise the woman we have come to know as The First Lady of Wellness: kickass business garb and yoga-bunny gear. All personally picked from the shelves of her store.
In a black form-fitting knitted dress, Gwyneth puts the boss into girl boss, after all, she does preside over a company that has amassed a $250-million-dollar fortune in a decade. “I am trying,” she exclaims as I observe that she is ever-morphing into a fiercer female boss. “I think I am very much a girl boss, meaning that I try to lead from my feminine. For me, what that means is leading from a place of collaboration and consideration to very much keep that flow of energy going through everything. All start-ups are inherently feminine because it’s creative, it’s collaborative, it’s feelings – and as you grow, they get more masculine and more orientated to masculine processes and PNLs and patriarchy. That is also necessary, but I think it’s important to find the right balance. I love being a woman leader and I love employing mostly women – it’s amazing to see women win.”
Whilst we may live in a world of loud and proud feminists, it hasn’t stopped over-zealous journalists spinning Goop’s investigative quests into negative stories, with Gwyneth firmly in the firing line. Elaborate and exageratated headlines stating that Paltrow recommends everything from buying an Island as a casual Christmas gift to crystals, have ensued. But such is the press’s thirst for tearing Gwyneth down – this is the celebrity who in 2013 was named the Most Hated Celebrity by Star magazine and People’s Most Beautiful in the same week. In reality, having thrown off her teal heels and simply accessorising her, “favourite lounging look,” of G-Sport blush leggings and a grey sweatshirt with bare feet, Gwyneth is one of the warmest – and dare I say, most grounded – people you could ever meet.
Sitting before me on the plushest navy sofa it’s hard to imagine that GP – as she is affectionately referred to by her loyal employees – ever struggles with the criticism she has faced. “It’s important to keep going,” Gwyneth gestures with her trademark resolve. “It’s an important lesson. Women get a lot of push-back and a lot of criticism in a way men don’t – with women leaders you see it all the time. You see it to an incredible degree right now, especially in the United States.
You cannot be defeated. You have to keep your eye on the prize and keep going, especially in a company like this, where I really feel that we are moving culture forward. A lot of the criticism we get, six months later or a year later everyone is doing it. By pattern, by recognition, I can see that everyone is up in arms that we are talking about acupuncture, but however many months later it’s adapted into culture.”
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In light of the obstacles, what would the Gwyneth of 10 years ago say to the woman of today? “Don’t do it!,” she says with a ripple of laughter breaking over her face, before conceding, “It’s been such an incredible journey to go from having an idea to finding the bravery to do it, put pen to paper and start something, and then watch it evolve and employ so many people.”
When Gwyneth began to get her Goop on, the world perceived wellness and the talk of bettering oneself as the exclusive pursuit of barefoot hippies who may, or may not, dance and chant around a campfire. A decade on, wellness is now – largely thanks to social media – a democratic pursuit, something that Gwyneth has come to symbolise. “There was an idea for a while that wellness was for the rich and that is absolute bulls*t,” she proclaims as if it’s a verbal ‘two fingers up’ at those who think she trades in unattainability.
“I think it’s important, the idea that we all have autonomy over our health and wellbeing. Wellness is really a state of mind and an integration between mind, body and heart.” Gwyneth persists showing that wellness can start with a simplest of steps, “Even walking to work, cutting out sugar or limiting alcohol are small things you can do. Breathing and meditation, too. It’s been incredible to see it go from this rarefied, bizarre concept of wellness to everybody in the world seems to understand you can take a small step towards something and feel much better.”
Surely the weight of wellness must get too much, on occasion, and just like us, Gwyneth must want to take an indulgent trip to McDonald’s? “Yes, of course,” Gwyneth giggles. “I always strive towards what is coming next and how can we optimise our health, but I am always very honest and transparent about the fact I love a martini and a plate of French fries! This idea that you have to be an aesthetic monk on a hill, have just brown rice, drink green tea and meditate all day doesn’t sound fun or sexy or interesting. So, you have to know you are living in the modern world and balance is key.” However, if ‘Monk Orange’ could ever look good on anyone, it would be Gwyneth.
One of the most remarkable things Gwyneth has achieved with Goop is the change in dialogue, not only around wellness, but female sexuality as a whole. A decade ago, it would be unthinkable that a Hollywood actress would even mutter the word sex, let alone put her name to a brand selling an array of sex toys. It’s a pursuit the woman herself is very rightly proud of, “One of the things we really try to do is eliminate shame. Women, I think have a lot of shame around their sexuality – we have been conditioned that way for a long time. We feel if we open up conversations, sell a product and we shine a light on it, the shame starts to dissipate.”
Selling Jade Vaginal Eggs for £60 illustrates that you can’t put a price on a good orgasm, I jest. “No, definitely not,” she laughs. “Women should have a great and satisfying sex life! I think that sexual health is important for a women’s overall health.” Hear, hear!
Looking to the future on Goop’s timeline, the brand states (in jest) they’ll discover the first anti-gravity colonic by 2098, “Hopefully,” Gwyneth smirks. “You can see how much wellness is becoming a real market, it’s a trillion-dollar market now, it’s going to continue to progress. There will be more money and research behind different healing modalities. People do want to feel good and optimise their lives, and now there’s a whole industry being created to support it, so I think it’s limitless.” If I have learnt anything from worshipping at the altar of her wellness: never underestimate Gwyneth Paltrow.
However, the future of the business could fall to Gwyneth’s daughter, Apple Martin. Having recently shared a look-a-like selfie of the mother-daughter double act on Instagram, perhaps she could be trained up as an intern, I ask? “That would be great! She has her finger on the pulse. She really is my focus group; I am always asking her opinion about this or that. She represents that Gen Z generation, I don’t know half the things she talks about, but I try to keep up with her!”
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Whatever’s next for Goop, it seems the perfect time to actually celebrate Gwyneth as a woman of our time. One who has hurdled elegantly over criticism, emerging stronger and hungrier. After spending a small fraction of time with her, Gwyneth clearly deserves her happy ever after. Just like Ariel.
Watch Josh’s get his Goop on with our exclusive Gwyneth haul video – vibrators included!
Goop’s London store, at 188 Westbourne Grove, is open now and Goop now ships across the UK
CREDITS: Gwyneth wears Black Ribbed Dress, £621.75, G Label; Seamed legging, £98.41, and Sweatshirt, £111.83, both G Sport. Makeup by Emma Lovell and Hair by Dayrucci, both at Wall Group