I spent the weekend with Gwyneth Paltrow at her £1,000-a-ticket wellness summit and this is what I learnt

Glow like Gwyneth.

01 Jul 2019

Goop. Has there ever been a more controversial wellness brand? From advocating benefits of vaginal steaming to sound baths, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle empire has attracted lovers and haters in equal measure since it started on her kitchen table in London, in 2008. She has answered the haters by growing it into a hugely successful wellness empire, with shops, Goop branded products including vibrators, cookbooks and homewear and a successful wellness summit, Goop Health, now in its 7th instalment.

And now she has brought it to London for the first time. Two hundred and fifty wellness lovers came to immerse themselves into her world of reiki healing and clean beauty, from her favourite facialists and brands, Anastasia Achilleos, and Dr Barbara Sturm, Aesthetics Doctor, to her psychotherapist, Barry Michels. You can even have a workout session with her personal trainer Tracey Anderson, and enjoy a fireside chat with her good friend, Penelope Cruz, who came because she wants to normalise “talk of periods and perimenopause so they’re no longer shameful for women to mention.” Gwyneth mingles with guests throughout the day.

She took time out to talk exclusively to GLAMOUR about opening our minds, how her children hold her to account to be more sustainable and the ordinary but powerful wellness change she and her husband enjoy together. So how does it feel bringing Goop to London? “I’m so proud and proud of the team who’ve put it all together. I’m not surprised Goop was born in London. I think when you’re living in a foreign city you’re hyper aware, noticing everything around you, the architecture, you question so much more in a new environment. It started on your kitchen table? “Yes, I edited the copy, I sent the newsletters. It was just me to do it. There was no one else.”

And here she is now, with a massive brand and hundreds of UK-based devotees willing to pay £1000 to be personally part of it all. Do you think there’s any difference between what the UK and US women expect when it comes to wellness? “Not really. Of course there are some cultural differences. But I think fundamentally, women everywhere are eager to connect with each other and themselves. They are eager to ponder ideas like, how can I become a better person? How can I optimise my life? What is my purpose on this planet? That’s true of the forward-thinking woman everywhere.”

Clean living and sustainability are a reoccurring theme across much of the Goop brand. Has she made any personal changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle? “Yes. My kids hold me to account when it comes to sustainability!” she smiles at the mention of Apple 15 and Moses 13. “It’s something we’re all very focused on. We’re trying not to have any single use plastic in our house at all. We are passionate about making changes big and small. It started with my daughter on plastic straws. I’d never thought about it before and she said ‘We can’t have these in the house.’ She was showing me videos on YouTube on why I shouldn’t use plastic straws. Now we pretty much try to have a single use plastic-free household. The only things we haven’t swapped are cling film and zip lock bags.”

Should we look forward to Goop sustainable cling-film? “You never know,” she says.

Gywneth has brought her LA sun-kissed glow to London with her, which she has attributed in the past to her new husband, Brad Falchuk, who she married in September 2019. Has she brought wellness and sustainable-thinking into her new marriage?

“You know what we do together as a couple that I never did before, is walk. For wellness and sustainability. We’ll always walk to a restaurant, if we can, or walk to the grocery store. We were just in Florence and we walked everywhere and in London also.

Gywneth never sits still, always opening her mind to new ways of thinking. Has she discovered anything new in wellness recently? “I’m always trying to delve deeper and push myself to the point things get really uncomfortable” she admits. “That could be a conversation with someone that’s pushing me further, or some new modality or a fast mimicking diet. I’m always trying something new. For me, what makes it good or bad depends more on the practitioner that the modality. If someone is incredible at what they do and gifted then I will usually take something worthwhile out of it.”

I wonder what the one thing she hopes her Goop guests will have taken out of their UK Goop Health experience?

“If every woman had a lightbulb-moment go off. Something that made them think, I’m going to change that in my life for the better – however big or small – then wouldn’t that be great.”