Gwyneth Paltrow Talks Aging, Acting and Recession Fears at Goop Event

Ninety Goop-ites flew in from as far afield as Georgia, New York, Texas and Oregon (many in mother-daughter pairings) to attend Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Immersive wellness experience at the Santa Monica Proper hotel on Sunday, Oct. 16.

The $1,200 invite-only event kicked off at 8 a.m. with Drea Wheeler’s “Flowlicious” core workout and a beauty master class with Iván Pol of The Beauty Sandwich (clients include Ana de Armas, Lily James and Sydney Sweeney), who showed guests how to use Augustinus Bader products and facial massage to create a “snatched face” with sculpted cheeks, defined jawlines and lifted brows.   

Makeup artist Jillian Dempsey (married to actor Patrick Dempsey) provided touch-ups with her namesake product line, alongside bra fittings by Cuup, 24-karat gold ear seeding by Vie Healing, B12 shots by Hydration Room and Therabody facial massages. There were Paleo Puffs and Bjorn Qorn to snack on, and a hyper-healthy lunch with cauliflower steak, honey-roasted yams, branzino, Chicken Paillard and more. Hollywood dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban, Chicago-based plastic surgeon Julius Few and L.A.-based naturopathic doctor Nigma Talib discussed anti-aging topics with Goop beauty director Jean Godfrey-June. 

The highlight of the day was Paltrow’s 45-minute “Ask Me Anything” Q&A where she got personal about turning 50 last month, her 18-year-old daughter Apple starting college, her future acting plans and more.  

“My daughter’s here for the weekend from college and she’s going back this afternoon, so I’m trying not to cry,” said Paltrow, wearing a cozy oversized G. Label Schnell High-Cuff wool cardigan thrown over a blush-toned G. Label Gloria Bustier dress. “It’s been amazing having her home. Personally, I’m really good. Work is stressful. The economy sucks. I’m just worried about next year and how bad the recession’s gonna be. I was up last night worrying about everything at three in the morning!”

Below, THR shares some highlights from Paltrow’s talk.

Paltrow Felt “Amazing Liberation” When Turning 50

“When I was turning 40, I was having a bit of a midlife crisis around it, and I was in the midst of a big transition. I knew that I wanted to leave a marriage and move back to the United States. So there was a whole lot going on with me in a bigger context. Also I think that transition is particularly hard for a woman because of what society tells us about turning 40 — in some way, that when we lose reproductive viability, we’re no longer desirable or important or visible. I think those messages are so inculcated within us that it gave me a lot of anxiety. What does it mean if you’re not, like, [feeling] fuckable and pretty or you can’t have a kid? It was very hard for me to shift out of that kind of younger paradigm. And then I turned 40 and I was like, ‘Oh, this is great, I don’t know what I was so worried about.’ 

Gwyneth Paltrow - Goop Immersive Wellness Experience

Gwyneth Paltrow speaking at the Goop Immersive wellness experience.Courtesy of Goop

“Turning 50, I felt this amazing liberation start to come. I really know myself. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life and I’ve achieved a lot of things.  I wrote about this in my essay on Goop. How will I course-correct going forward, if I feel like I handled something badly? I’m really aware of my faults, I think in a good way. They’ve come into focus. Like my fear of confrontation. Underneath that is a real panic about hurting someone’s feelings. But that has gotten me into more trouble than one conversation being honest. What are the choices that I want to make with what I have left, which is most likely shorter than what I’ve lived?

“Also it’s like, I just don’t give a fuck! I used to care so much what people thought. I remember when I interviewed Oprah for our first Goop podcast. We were talking about getting older, and she was like, ‘Just wait ’til you turn 60. It’s amazing!’ So I look forward to that. To not be caught up in what other people think means that you’re close to yourself, you know yourself, you like yourself. There aren’t cracks for people to get in there and hurt you as much.”

Paltrow Says She Stopped Reading Press About Herself When She Was 22 Years Old

“Before I started Goop, when I became a person in the culture or a ‘famous person,’ I had to decide to cut myself off from the court of public opinion. … I stopped reading press about myself when I was 22 years old. There’s a part of us that’s so tender and a part of us that’s our ego. Both of those parts get so hurt when people don’t like us or they say, ‘I hate what you’re doing. I hate what you stand for.’ In a way, being a famous actress was a primer for me to now do this role. I started talking about things that were not in the mainstream, whether I was trying to get divorced in a nice way or have acupuncture. My first cookbook was gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free because my son had eczema — and the outrage that I was starving my kid! 

“I recognized a pattern — I’m introducing something and it’s making people uncomfortable. So why do I have to make that about me? It’s their discomfort. If I’m in integrity and I’m doing my work, then why do I care? I had to figure out how to separate those things. The other thing a therapist told me is that if you get hurt feelings when somebody says something nasty on social media or whatever and it hurts you, it means that it’s a judgment you’re already holding against yourself, so it becomes an opportunity … All I want is to help connect people to good things, help them make choices that are interesting, or elevate their life in some way.” 

Paltrow Doesn’t Miss Acting

“Do I have any plans to go back into acting? No, not really. I don’t miss it, which I think is an interesting data point. When I think about the back half of my life, I don’t long for it. I don’t miss it. I have no idea what’s going on in the movie business. I’m so focused on other things. I did promise my mom that if I ever am not doing this job, I’ll do a play. I would never say never. Things can rekindle for you at different times in your life. I have lived long enough to know that you can never make assumptions about your life or who you are or who you’re going to be. So I’m open to whatever happens. But I don’t look for it. I say no to stuff right now. With my job, there would be no way I could physically do it right now. But you never know!”

Paltrow Reflects on Daughter Starting College

“Now [kids] not only have the regular societal programming that we have, they’re being bombarded by images on Instagram and what they’re supposed to look like and what their lives are supposed to feel like. I’ve had this conversation with my daughter a lot. I realized it’s a losing battle to say, ‘Don’t be on Instagram’ and ‘Don’t see where your friends are on Snap Maps.’ It’s like when my mom would walk into my room when I was listening to N.W.A. and say, ‘What kind of music is this? There’s no melody.’ I was like, ‘No, it’s rap.’ And she was thinking at some point I was going to listen to jazz or whatever weird shit she was listening to. They’re these things that happen generationally that we just have to accept, right? They are never getting off social media, unless there’s some kind of miracle or armageddon. 

Gwyneth Paltrow -  Goop Immersive

Gwyneth Paltrow at the Goop Immersive wellness event.Courtesy of Goop

“I think it’s really dangerous for their self-esteem. So I talk to [Apple] about things that make her feel connected to herself. When she says she’s reading a book that’s interesting, I delve into it with her. The more that she has an inner life, the more she starts to feel better about who she is. She’s had a big function and growth step going to college. Every little opening she gives me, that she talks to me about her experience of being this new person on the campus, I try to lean into. I’m trying to respect her as this emerging adult.”

Paltrow Felt Like She “Let Everyone Down” After First Marriage Didn’t Work

“I think that all successful marriages are second marriages. Because if you don’t find your second marriage in your first marriage, you’re in trouble. You have to have many marriages in a marriage. I was not able to make my first marriage [with Coldplay’s Chris Martin] work. I took it as a huge failure. I felt like I had let everyone down. It’s still hard. A couple weeks ago, my son came home from his dad’s and he said, ‘It’s just hard for me that I don’t get to be with you guys at the same time.’ And so we went out all to dinner last week! You know, I have disappointed kids. It’s never going to be the same as if I stayed together with their dad. But I couldn’t make that marriage work. I was lucky enough to meet [now-husband] Brad [Falchuk] and that we met at a time when our values and what we wanted and our interests really lined up. We do work really, really hard to maintain it.”

“Being alive is just a series of lessons and we learn them through pain, unfortunately. When Moses said that to me the other day, I had a pang. And then I thought, I can take this as, ‘I’ve hurt my kids and it’s my fault.’ Or I can take this as, ‘Thank you so much for giving me this feedback. This is such important feedback for me to know and I can do something about this. I love Dad; let’s do things more together.’ I think it’s more about a child having their feelings acknowledged and feeling seen than making everything OK. I always say we’re no longer a couple, but I want us to stay a family.”

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