Gwyneth Paltrow sits on stage with her long, tanned legs crossed, staring intently at her interviewer and offering the audience only her profile. She's the keynote speaker at BlogHer, here to talk about her lifestyle website GOOP.
Chatting to women in line before the room opened, it's clear that Paltrow is loved and hated in almost equal measure. She's out of touch with real moms. She's a great advocate for moms struggling with divorce. She's a role model for healthy living. She represents an unattainable perfection that just makes moms without a thigh gap feel bad. She was great on "Glee." And then conversation stops. The doors crack open and everyone is suddenly elbowing for a spot at the front of the room.
The first question is an easy one. How did the site come about? Paltrow seems stumped. She isn't immediately articulate. Her answer meanders. This isn't the polished movie star armed with sound bites that we were expecting. She's nervous.
It take a few more questions until she explains that she goes into the GOOP office every day after dropping her kids at school. It's her "actual, real job. It's my whole focus right now." She turns to the audience with a huge grin and shrugs. The entire room is now with her. Maybe it's the forehead wrinkles (what no botox?!), or the fact that she was nervous (just like we would have been). This woman is way cooler that we thought. And once she warms up, she has a lot to say — about GOOP, motherhood, Chris Martin and divorce, parenting in the age of the Internet and her new organic skincare line.
On starting GOOP:
"[My friends] said, you can't start a [private] website! It will be public. I look back and I think, 'What was I thinking?' They suggested I put it in a newsletter form. I stupidly didn't think larger when I was first doing it. I'm very passionate about travel and health and wellness and food and trying to become a better person. I was using the website to get closer to myself in a way."
Apple (11) and Moses (9) pictured below from Gwyneth's Instagram feed.
On getting her 11 year old daughter, Apple, a smart phone:
"They have iPads, and my daughter is furious that I haven't gotten her a phone yet. I don't want to get her [a phone]! That's too young! She's tells me 'this friend has it and this friend has it' — and I'm like, 'you're 11!' She has a private Instagram account and I don't particularly love it, but I don't know! This is the world we're in. "
On Internet safety:
"I tell [the kids] that some people in the world are creepy, you gotta be a little careful. Internet safety is a huge thing for any parent — it completely freaks me out. It's a conversation I have a lot with my friends who are moms. Hopefully I can stave [the phone] off for a little while longer."
On family life after the divorce:
"I'm very, very lucky in that I have a partner who is willing to do it with me in a really collaborative way. Fortunately, even though we couldn't stay in a romantic relationship, our values are very much around the importance of family and the importance of those relationships."
Apple and Chris Martin pictured below, posted to Gwyneth's Instagram feed to celebrate Father's Day. She wrote: "Nothing like father/daughter love ... Here is to all the engaged and present fathers, you create a backbone for society."
On prioritizing family:
"It's been hard, and we've gone through really difficult times, but we've always said these children are our priority. What that really means is, even though today you hate me and you never want to see me again, we're going to brunch because it's Sunday and that's what we're going to do."
On talking divorce with the kids:
"I don't know how much they're aware of. One of the things I said to them, originally, when we were separating is, 'You know daddy and I are really famous, and there's going to be a lot of stuff out there I can't control ... but you know what it is to be here in this house. There's the outside life and the inside life.'"
On dealing with negative press:
"If you read something bad about yourself and it stings you, I've learned that somewhere that's a judgment I'm holding about myself, so I'll try to work through that. I definitely don't read any tabloids. You really have to find a way to separate the words of people you respect — strangers or not, but respectful content, positive or negative — and people who are just in pain and projecting their own sh*t onto you."
On her new skincare line:
"We are working on launching organic skincare in 2016 [with San Francisco-based Juice Beauty], which is really exciting, They've been in the space for 10 years. I've been able to go and create my dream products. Clean skincare is a big thing for us. In the next 10 or so years, people are going to get very focused — the way they did with food. We absorb 80 percent of what we put on."