Inside Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's 'totally legitimate' and 'completely bonkers' wellness empire

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The July 29, 2018 New York Times Magazine cover.
The July 29, 2018 New York Times Magazine cover. Credit: The New York Times Magazine

In this Sunday's New York Times Magazine cover story, Taffy Brodesser-Akner serves up a deep dive into "the most controversial brand in the wellness industry": Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's 10-year-old business that's supposedly now worth $250 million ("according to a source close to the company"). The author spent months working on the piece, which not only deftly deconstructs Paltrow's persona and Goop's brand values, but places the company's success in a larger cultural context.

As Brodesser-Akner writes,

The minute the phrase "having it all" lost favor among women, wellness came in to pick up the pieces. It was a way to reorient ourselves—we were not in service to anyone else, and we were worthy subjects of our own care. It wasn't about achieving; it was about putting ourselves at the top of a list that we hadn't even previously been on. Wellness was maybe a result of too much having it all, too much pursuit, too many boxes that we'd seen our exhausted mothers fall into bed without checking off. Wellness arrived because it was gravely needed.

Brodesser-Akner places Paltrow at the center of the "wellness" hype cycle and traces the evolution of the Goop brand—including the Goop newsletter that's at the heart of empire, noting that,

It wasn't until 2014 that it began to resemble the thing it is now, a wellspring of both totally legitimate wellness tips and completely bonkers magical thinking: advice from psychotherapists and advice from doctors about how much Vitamin D to take (answer: a lot! Too much!) and vitamins for sale and body brushing and dieting and the afterlife and crystals and I swear to God something called Psychic Vampire Repellent, which is a "sprayable elixir" that uses "gem healing" to something something "bad vibes."

Keep reading here, because the feature story's got a lot more great dish, including details about Paltrow's strained interactions with the celebrity-industrial complex that created her in the first place—most notably Condé Nast, her publishing partner for awhile. ("They're a company that's really in transition and do things in a very old-school way," says Paltrow.)

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