Since peeking through the Looking Glass that was In GOOP Health I’ve been reflecting on the purpose of it all.

Paltrow says they don’t make much profit and that seems right to me. The take from the tickets would have been around $525,000 (500 of the $650 tickets and 100 of the $2000, my best guess by counting the number of people in the “exclusive” seats). Renting a large space in New York is not cheap and there was a massive security detail. Several speakers were New York based. The celebrities, the “other siders” (saved-dead-brain-with-love and talks-with-ghosts-for dollars and consciousness-is-a-verb people), Dr. Gottfried and the vaccines-caused-my-child-to develop-worse-reflux pediatrician who tests chakras for weight loss were not local. Whether GOOP paid or they flew in on their own dime for exposure and to sell books I don’t know.

We received an e-mail a few days before the event indicting they had some $2000 tickets available. It was interesting as they had previously advertised that they had quickly sold out of the ginger tickets! I don’t remember any fine print saying the ticket was refundable. Whether they truly sold out and someone found extra room (side eye), special people got refunds, or they weren’t truthful about selling out I don’t know.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 7.38.13 AM

Who Was There?

The breathless reviews in sources like People won’t tell you much about who was actually there, but I will. There seemed to be several cohorts of women, I have divided them as follows:

  1. Incredibly wealthy. These women were wearing expensive, but ugly designer clothes. Think $800 jeans, but they look like a style discarded in the 70s and for good reason. They probably party with celebrities at the Hampton’s. I didn’t speak with any of them, but it seemed that some of them knew the inner circle at GOOP. It seemed this was hanging with friends and being seen. I am sure they love Gwyneth.
  2. In the exercise/wellness business. Women who owned yoga or pilates studios. I can absolutely see the appeal for them. Many of their clients will be GOOP fans, so sharing what they “learned” at the expo would likely be of interest and good for business. I talked with a few. They seemed skeptical of the mediums (so half of the lectures), but thought the others were “good.” They loved Gwyneth and the spa treatments.
  3. Women my age, some with daughters and some without. The event seemed like a girls weekend. Also some side eye on the mediums and the “other side” mumbo jumbo, but they also loved Gwyneth and the spa treatments and the food.
  4. Women in their 20s. Also, not too interested in the health information, but loved the spa treatments and of course loved Gwyneth. Several told me they aspired to be an incredible business woman just like GP. I pointed out that she was born wealthy, amassed even more wealth acting, has famous friends and can get on any magazine cover or talk show for free press anytime she wants. Hers is not rags to riches story. They agreed, but didn’t care. “She’s so amazing.”

Did Anyone Learn Anything?

The first time a practical piece of health advice was mentioned was 12:12 and it was “sleep more.” The only real advice came in the session on diet and it was all impractical, random, or weird and sometimes all three. The main “eating better” advice was to get your chakras tested, eat more colors, get more sleep, have orgasms, and try intermittent fasting as defined as going 4-8 hours between meals. And no, I’m not shitting you as none of the women I spoke with could remember any practical dieting advice either besides buying one of the many books being promoted.

The lectures quickly dwindled to half full after the too long meditation session and the wacky medium. It seemed the lectures were a place to hang out while waiting for the spa treatments. The lectures were boring. As the day progressed there was fewer note taking and more Facebooking.

What was the Point?

This was about rewarding the faithful. A bit like Mary Kay giving a pink Cadillac, except you get to pay for your own Cadillac!

Everyone spoke about how much they admired GP and if she recommends a product that seems good enough. Buying a jade egg means you are living your best life just like GP, although as she clearly has never used one (based on her Jimmy Kimmel interview) not really. It’s all an illusion. GP is the traveling snake oil saleswoman who gets up and gives the pitch. She is attractive and “cool” so if you buy these products you will be like her. Not everyone can afford the $650 t-shirts on her site, but many people can afford the $35 bath products (the one I tried was gross, so beware).

The other point is the free publicity. The breathless yet superficial reviews in many magazines amounted to a lot of free publicity as well as her appearance on Stephen Colbert. All of Colbert’s previous mocking of GP and GOOP was just comedy. That was truly a disappointment. I guess the next time he eviscerates someone I will wonder if maybe he is friendly with the person in real life and this is just a show for ratings. Maybe he will ruffle Donald Trump’s hair too?

The sub par content fascinated me. It was in the same vein as the content on the GOOP site. Interesting headlines, but biased and ill researched content. An illusion of thought and science and curiosity to prop up product.

Crazy GOOP headlines likely translate into sales, but I wonder if bad headlines don’t and that is why they ultimately attacked me last year?

As GOOP is planning two more conferences this model is clearly successful in some way. It’s a chic quasi religious experience designed to prop up the cult of Gwyneth and the snake oil that she sells and it is clearly a winning business model. The fact that no one actually gets any healthier is clearly besides the point.

Join the Conversation


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. I’m thinking it may be an element of it also simply being enjoyable for Paltrow. Being surrounded by hundreds of people who love you and are willing to pay you for the privilege of being near you has to be nice, if you’re into the whole adulation thing.

    (And she presumably is – becoming a hollywood actress would be a very strange career choice for someone who weren’t.)

    1. So, deer sir, what do you shove your jade egg into? Though you may be one of the vendors making the silly stuff Goop sells. Perhaps the criticism is starting to affect your cash flow.

  2. This incessant lampooning of everything Paltrow smacks of an obsession. You don’t like her. I get it. C’mon, girl. Hitch your wagon to more important health issues. Or . . . is there a little whiff of jealousy going on here?

  3. I suppose the thing which amuses me most about the Cult of Gwynneth is this: all these people are seeking advice on how to find stability, peace and tranquillity from a woman in her mid-forties (she’s 45) who came to attention through being engaged in one of the most insecure professions on the planet.

    Think about Hollywood acting for a moment: the tenure of employment is non-existent; your income depends very heavily on whether you’re “popular” with the public or not; if you’re female you’re practically unemployable between the ages of about thirty-five and fifty-five (which is, I suspect, at least part of why Ms Paltrow is engaged in selling GOOP – it probably provides her with a more reliable supply of both money and adoration than acting work); the work itself consists of brief periods of twelve-hour shooting days interspersed with long periods of “resting” between jobs (and presumably worrying about when the next one is going to show up). Oh, and as the ever-continuing saga of Harvey Weinstein shows, your initial employability depends very strongly on your willingness to be able to pander to the egos of a very few, very powerful individuals. Never mind the people who get into the profession tend to be largely as neurotic as a shaved monkey to begin with, and being involved in it only makes things worse.

    Given all of this, why, in the name of all that is potentially sacred, would you believe people who are involved in this profession somehow have access to information on the true nature of health? What Gwynneth Paltrow has is a photogenic face, and a well-known name, and she is basically licensing them out to the sort of practitioner who needs to advertise to find appropriate clients (namely, suckers) in order to obtain an income for herself.

  4. When I was 20 something I didn’t have $650 to throw away on nothing. But I really have enjoyed the numerous posts and articles you have either written or been quoted in on this subject. More science, less junk!

  5. Thanks for “review.” Love your descriptions. Guess the message is not the medium. Sounds like an immersive ACLBS experience (Aspirational Celeb Lifestyle BS). At least Martha sold instructions on how to actually make stuff. Might even have a good bathbomb recipe in the archives…..

  6. I was also extremely disappointed by Colbert’s pandering toward “GP” when she appeared on his show. I’ve gained respect for him this past year for embracing public awkwardness and asking actors like James Franco to discuss their sexual harassment allegations, but this was such a bummer. I guess he needs ratings as much as anyone so trying not to entirely lose faith because he IS funny and we are all bound to external needs to some degree, but not sure how much more Colbert I’ll be watching. Thank you, as always, for writing! I’ve passed on your work to all my girlfriends and we are all grateful for your incisive wit :).

    1. Makes sense. Goop is a charity sponsor for of which Colbert is a board member.

  7. What do you think is the way to help these women to better understand real health? I see these women in my practice and socially and have always wondered what the best way to truly reach them because I don’t really think that I am unless there child is really sick and they are desperate to make them feel better…then they will listen to me.

    1. Oops, lots of grammar problems but I think you probably get the message! 😉

      1. Maybe it should be subtitled…”Science Deniers United” or ” Everything is Nothing” or “Never Took a Science Class and Never Will…sign here” ” We Are Why Women Get No Respect”(Too far there, maybe, but why do these”cute” girls think it’s okay to be ignorant and continue to live in the fairy tales of youth instead of challenging their minds and asking serious questions, looking for hard, serious answers? Why? It’s easier to believe made up, simple solutions. I taught Science for 33 years and the stereotype of the “pretty little girl who will be cute and can’t challenge her little brain, but a strong man will take care of her” exists in this day and age, sadly. Yes, Science means studying, asking questions, searching for answers, building a foundation of knowledge, but it’s so vast, so amazing that one’s mind will never be bored or unsatisfied. Why it is resisted is multi-faceted, from “why aren’t you teaching Creationism,too?” to
        “Oh, I’ll never need this, I’m going to be a model”. So many excuses to be ignorant, stupid and lazy or wanting quick, easy to comprehend nonsense that instantly satisfies and requires no effort whatsoever. We haven’t advanced much as a society, attitude-wise, since Copernicus’s time. Reputable information is easy to obtain, education is free and mandated for minors in this country, yet we still have GOOP. If only her name had been Patty, then we’d have POOP.

%d bloggers like this: