Paltrow’s Goop is on a health kick
Women pay a lot to get chakras in order
CULVER CITY, Calif. – How much will women pay to try cryofacials, get their chakras in order and dangle from the ceiling in fabric nests?
Thousands, Gwyneth Paltrow has found. Saturday marked the third installment of her In Goop Health Summit, which launched a year ago, providing a new revenue stream for her lifestyle-turnedskin-care-and-vitamin company, Goop.
This event corralled a wealth of trendy alternative therapies and experiences under one tent: There was a tantric sex panel, aerial yoga, a new breastfeeding room, vitamin
B12 shots, reiki classes, chakraclearing lessons and lymphatic face massages.
Paltrow doubled the staffing (her corporate team walked around in “Goopfellas” Tshirts) and inflated the cost of entry, which started at $650 for the lowest tier of access. The VIP experience, which included a mostly vegan, gluten-free lunch by Sqirl chef Jessica Koslow and a late-day cocktail party hosted by Paltrow, cost
$2,000. (There also was a new digital-only experience available for $60.)
“These are expensive to put on,” Paltrow told USA TODAY backstage, defending the price points before the start of a panel called the Future of Cannabis. (Attendees were gifted a CBD-infused bath bomb afterward.)
“If you look at price points of other conferences, we are nowhere near the high end of the spectrum,” she says. “Like, people charge $15,000 for the Vanity Fair conference; there are way more expensive (ones). It’s a big lift to put it on.”
What hasn’t changed are Goop’s demographics. The crowd attending Paltrow’s summit continues to be predominately white, affluent women dressed in athleisure. But refreshingly, marquee panels no longer solely focused on an echo chamber of Paltrow’s famous friends.
Though Paltrow closed the day with a frank talk with her one-time co-star Meg Ryan, the most packed discussion of the day was a Paltrow-led Q&A with trans activist, memoirist and “Pose” writer Janet Mock, who offered advice for parents raising trans children. (Paltrow’s fiancé, Brad Falchuk, is a co-creator of the FX drama.)
“What my parents eventually did right, especially my mom, was that she listened more than she talked. And that when she felt any fears or worries ... she didn’t bring that to me,” Mock says. “She took that to adults.”
Paltrow and Mock’s talk made for a fascinating juxtapo- sition of how privilege affects self-actualization. Paltrow’s journey, she revealed, has focused on “accepting” and “forgiving” herself. Mock’s work, the activist responded judiciously, has been to claim her spot in the world as a woman, despite those who call her an “abomination.”
The room was rapt. What else has Paltrow adjusted since the summit’s launch?
“There was a lot,” she says, recalling last year’s lines of frustrated attendees clamoring to try aura photography and crystal readings. This year, guests prebooked their skin regimen classes, shoulder massages and numerology readings on a bespoke app ahead of time.
But none of this takes the wind out of the chief argument from critics, who accuse Paltrow of peddling medical advice, cleanses and trendy tips (yes, the vaginal Jade Egg is still being sold at the summit’s sex shop) that have scant scientific backing.
“There are many, many healing modalities that have been around for a really long time that don’t have double-blind placebo-backed studies,” Paltrow says. “What we really like to do is open the forum for discussion. … We’re not suggesting that anyone do anything.”
Take Anthony William, the self-titled “medical medium” (listed as one of Goop’s “trusted” experts online) who claims to intuit his medical advice from a divine voice. A woman approached Paltrow just that morning and said he’d changed her life.
“She’s like, ‘Do you follow it?’ And I was like, ‘No. I think it’s fascinating, but for me there are certain things that I think are great, but I like to have all the information. I like to see empirical stuff,’ ” Paltrow says.
“And I think that’s the point,” she says. “Women are not lemmings. Just because we are raising a question doesn’t mean that we’re expecting somebody to follow our advice. We believe women are intuitive enough and intelligent enough to hear both sides of a lot of things and make a decision for themselves that’s resonant for them.”
Next stop Dubai? Paltrow is dreaming of a “more mobile” version of the conference that could traverse the U.S.
“But also internationally,” she says. “It’s my dream to do one of these in the Middle East and have an all-female day where there’s incredible information and doctors. And I would love to do it in the U.K. and Hong Kong.
“I’d love to scale this, but it’s hard because it takes so much work. And I need to be here (in Los Angeles).”
“There are certain things that I think are great, but I like to have all the information.” Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow defends the price of her health summit: “These are expensive to put on.”