Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Summit Proves Hollywood Retirement Is Working for Her

By Matt Donnelly

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Across the country on Saturday, movie theaters sold over $12 million in tickets to “Avengers: Endgame,” helping it amass $771 million in the U.S. since its release in April.

On the same day, in a stunning urban greenhouse complex in DTLA, the film’s supporting star Gwyneth Paltrow counted tickets of her own — pricey, perk-loaded passes to the third annual Los Angeles In Goop Health Summit.

Paltrow’s 11-year-old lifestyle and wellness empire is her sole full time job, the Oscar winner confirmed to Variety in February, as she’s resigned her Marvel Universe gig as Iron Man’s better half Pepper Potts.

Instead of giving sound bites about getting red carpet ready or reflecting on Marvel’s remarkable 22-film run, Paltrow sipped a collagen-infused punch and nibbled a quinoa breakfast porridge before hundreds of pristine Goop devotees. This was just before a healing sound bath came ahead of opening remarks, set to the vibrations of plants transmitted through proprietary tech.

An entire campus of experiences awaited the summit, like a workshop on cultivating happiness with optimism doctor Deepika Chopra in a space called the intuition studio. The food studio held advice from Goop health editors and the company’s new podcast host, chef Seamus Mullen. The beauty studio provided stations that taught attendees how to properly massage the face to contour the cheekbone, stimulate the scalp for hair growth and volume, and use aromatherapy to balance genetic and autoimmune conditions.

If this is Paltrow’s new set, she’s a mix between executive producer, studio head and well-placed megastar cameo. She also has a sense of humor about it.

“Don’t worry, the group vaginal steam is optional,” she joked in her opening remarks before unleashing the overwhelmingly female population on the summit. Anchored at the top of the entire space was Goop Hall, a retail epicenter where users could buy everything from her eponymous sportswear line to sex dust to restored farm tables. Food was everywhere: organic crudites from Lady and Larder; Kreation wellness shots in glass bottles; Pitfire Pizza made with vegan cashew mozzarella. We saw one chicken breast, served over a kale caesar salad with cabbage and heirloom tomato.

Traces of her old life were present, like her recruiting of Kevin Smith to share his heart attack ordeal on a breakout panel with Mullen and his “Goopfellas” podcast co-host Dr. Will Cole. Between f-bombs, Smith said he shed serious weight through diet and the help of his daughter, actress Harley Quinn Smith. Veganism ultimately did the trick, after many false starts like the potato diet (which is exactly what you think it is).

“The first day was amazing, I ate like nine potatoes. But then I realized I actually hate potatoes, I liked the butter and salt that made mashed potatoes.” Through dramatic portion control, he took off 70 pounds and added years to his life, he said.

Transformation is a key component of Goop’s sales pitch — and it was thoroughly explored in the “evening fireside” conversation that closed the event. Paltrow convened a panel of Hollywood women including Taraji P. Henson, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Alba and former talk show host Busy Philipps for a conversation about pivoting.

When I look at you all, I think of you as trailblazers. Women who are brave enough to take their initial career, turn it into a platform and do things that change the world,” Paltrow said. 

Philipps discussed sharing her personal abortion experience on E!’s since-ended “Busy Tonight,” and tapping into an unacknowledged community of women. Alba expounded on the necessities that led to her toxin-free range of baby, household and beauty products via The Honest Company, while Henson explored the deep sitgma-removing work and “conversation starting” she has done around mental health and the black community through a foundation named for her father Boris Henson. Wilde shared her journey to her upcoming feature directorial debut, “Booksmart,” a rarity for women in Hollywood.

“I had a lot of insecurity about not having gone to film school. I thought, without going to film school, how do I have the right? This happens to be a uniquely female trait. Men don’t think a lot about whether they have the right,” Wilde told the crowd.

“[I realized] my film school has been shadowing these great directors I’ve had a chance to work for. So I got over that,” she said.

After evening cocktails (botanical vodka, courtesy of Ketel One), guests shuffled out past a giant refrigerator stocked with kombucha, boxed alkaline water and matcha lemonade. Beneath the Goop logo was a sign urging: “Help yourself.” As if the day was about anything else.