As a beauty editor for most of my career, I’m used to working in a cloud of fragrance Monday to Friday. Thankfully, today’s scents are 100 per cent chemical-free. At the desk of my current boss, beauty-wellness-lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow, we’re surrounded by sample bottles, all worthy candidates for goop’s next ‘clean’ perfume. Every one of the possibilities is completely free of the toxins common in conventional fragrances, but jam-packed with incredible-smelling plant essences. Paltrow’s been diligently spraying her faves on the wrists of fellow goop-ers (there are 72 of us) all morning, gauging reactions, considering and reconsidering. The end result? Her office is a cloud of earthy-spicy-fresh-woodsy scent. “I’m in perfume-testing hell,” she sighs, happily.
You've been a thought leader in wellness - alternative health, exercise, diet, beauty - for years. How did you get interested in the first place?
When my father was diagnosed with cancer in 1998, I really started to think about the link between environmental toxins and cancer. What’s the impetus behind the way our bodies are no longer able to overcome all these skyrocketing diseases, from immune disorders to autism to diabetes and cancer? What is going on? I started asking questions, and the answers were and are horrifying. You look at, just for example, graphs correlating pesticide use with just about every kind of disease. It’s devastating. That exploration definitely started me down the path. I want to be healthy, to feel as good as I can.
How do you trust your audience will go where you go - eg. cupping and vagina steaming - without judgement?
They’re not without judgement. When you’re at the forefront of something that’s new, people can get really reactive: “This is crazy! Why are you doing this?” Then, five years later, everyone’s fine with it. So I have a bit of pattern recognition in hand at this point – which is helpful. Also, when someone doesn’t like something you do, or doesn’t share your interest in something, that doesn’t have anything to do with you. One of the best things someone ever said to me was that the only time criticism hurts is if you have a judgement about yourself about that very thing. If someone’s like, “You dick, you have red hair!” and you’ve got brown hair, it doesn’t bother you. It’s a blessing to be liberated from the chains of other people’s perceptions of you. It’s part of wellness, working at that. I’ve gotten to a point where I like myself. I do my best as a person. I also have nothing to hide.
What weird emerging trends are you most curious about right now?
I’m really interested in the impact of heavy metals and parasites on our bodies. I think they’re two of the biggest culprits in terms of why we feel bad. I’m knee-deep in figuring out ways to clear them from the body, looking at all sorts of potentially weird modalities.
You famously exercise every day. Do you like working out?
I like feeling good, and I know I feel my best when I exercise. But it depends on the day – I definitely don’t always feel like doing it. I’ve made it a habit, just like brushing your teeth. That’s how you have to look at it. I’ve been a Tracy Anderson fanatic for over a decade, I’m an investor in her company, so yeah, I go every morning. I drop the kids at school, work out, go to work. I’ve been supplementing it a bit with lifting heavier weights lately, to deal with some lower-back-pain issues. You can’t bottle a great workout.
Read more of our exclusive chat with Gwyneth Paltrow in the newest issue of Women's Health, on sale Monday!