An Ode To Gweneth Paltrow, Intrepid Wellness Pioneer

As Paltrow announces she's parting ways with Goop we pay tribute to the one and only celebrity lifestyle blogger

An Ode To Gweneth Paltrow, Intrepid Wellness Pioneer

by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

Gwyneth Paltrow was a lifestyle blogger before everyone else. Others (like Blake Lively and her ill-fated lifestyle site Preserve) have attempted, and failed, to follow in her footsteps.

Paltrow was all about wellness before it was even a trend. She was a celebrity lifestyle pioneer before Instagram even existed. She was extolling the virtues of vagina steaming before ‘detox pearls’ went viral. Gwyneth was preeminent.

This week Paltrow announced that she would be stepping away from Goop. She is consciously uncoupling from her own brand in order to let it flourish. Speaking at the 2016 Sage Summit in Chicago, Paltrow said ‘in order to build the brand I want to build, its scalability is limited if I connect to it…I always think: “How can I grow the brand? How can I separate myself from the brand?” and I think it’s going to be more its own brand.’

She added, ‘My dream is that one day no one will remember that I had anything to do with it.’

Gwen launched Goop back in 2008, predating wellness Instagram stars. Instagram launched in 2010. Initially, Goop started as a weekly lifestyle newsletter which divided up its content into ‘Make’, ‘Go’, ‘Get’, ‘Do’, ‘Be’ and ‘See’, giving fans of Gwen detailed instructions by which to emulate her. Soon, it became a fully-fledged multimedia platform in its own right.

Like its founder, Goop is divisive. It’s not cool or particularly feminist to say you like Gwyneth, a woman who seriously advocated the Mugwort V-Steam:

‘You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al.’

Nor is it socially acceptable to admit you occasionally browse Goop in such austere times when it suggested that $125,000 18k gold dumbbells were a legit gift.

And yet, I must confess, I had a stealthily concealed soft spot for Goop. In a time before I felt completely saturated by wellness blogging and Instagram lifestyle celebs, Goop represented a very particular brand of unselfconscious, unapologetic and shamelessly self-righteous ridiculousness.

Of course it’s easy to lambast her and critique Goop, it goes without saying that pretty much everything about it is problematic. But, in 2008 and 2009, as a poor student for me scrolling through the site and imagining Gwyneth Paltrow’s fully steamed, cheese-free and yogalicious life was more than just light relief, it was escapism. Sort of like the wellness equivalent of MTV Cribs.

Whatever you think of Goop I challenge you to deny that Paltrow intrepidly went where celeb culture has since followed – name a celebrity today who doesn’t also want to be a lifestyle brand? Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see Millie Mackintoshes and Louise Thompsons selling you everything from protein shakes to workout gear. They might not tell you that they’re being paid to promote stuff by wearing or eating certain things, but we all know they are.

In terms of celebrity culture there was also an admirable honesty to Goop and about Gwyneth. She didn’t pretend to gorge on burgers or flake out on the gym, she really lived her brand. As she said back in 2009, ‘I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year’ or in 2005, ‘I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-A-Soup.’

It’s now 2016 and we find ourselves living in a time where everyone’s a wellness blogger. We’re being bombarded with aspirational lifestyle images from all angles, so let’s take a moment to salute Gwyneth for her unwavering dedication and thank her for, somehow, still managing to be more over the top and totally ridiculous than all of them put together.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Jennifer Anniston Is Actually Fine, It's Our Idea Of What A Woman Should Be That Needs To Move On

Monica Lewinsky TED Talk Quotes To Live By

Sofia Coppola Quits Little Mermaid Over Ariel

Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us