GP ON INTERMITTENT FASTING, LANDING BARACK OBAMA, AND HER RETURN TO TV WITH HER HUSBAND

GWYNETH PALTROW: MOGUL

I remember watching Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love like it was yesterday. I had just graduated college, was living in San Francisco, and was working as an entertainment TV reporter at my first full-time job. The movie was magical, she was sensational, and the pink Ralph Lauren dress she won her Oscar in? Whoa. That would become an iconic Hollywood moment etched in my mind for eternity. I’ve always liked Gwyneth Paltrow. From a distance. I had interviewed her maybe a few short times over the years, but never had the opportunity to meet her without cameras, without reps keeping time of our conversation, without the hoopla that is the Hollywood machine. Until almost a year ago. 

I emailed her, asked her if she’d want to meet, and she said yes. As simple as that. In a million years I didn’t expect it to be that easy (hell, I would have emailed her earlier). She was makeup free, wearing a gorgeous but casual dress, and sneakers. I sat and chatted with her about everything from our kids, people’s obsession with the Kardashians, her exploration of unscripted television for Goop, my career and more. She was warm AF, unfiltered, authentic, and uber-intelligent. 

I left that meeting inspired. She left that meeting saying, “Stay in touch! Let me know if I can be of any help, ever.” And let me tell you something: PEOPLE IN THIS TOWN SAY THAT ALL OF THE TIME. FEW MEAN IT. One of the most attractive traits I find in people is when they are who they claim to be. They do what they say they’re going to do. They do not disappoint. 

When I asked GP if I could interview her for theCATTWALK Naked series, she said, “Of course. Can it wait just a few weeks? I’m exceptionally busy.” Little did I know she was leaving the country to get married and enjoy her honeymoon. See, she was, in fact, exceptionally busy. 

From her dream guest on her Goop podcast, to how she approaches aging, to her kids most requested dish on Thanksgiving, Gwyneth let’s us in. I hope you enjoy this little gem. I am grateful for it. 

Editor’s note:  No, we didn’t dish on her recent wedding to Brad Falchuk. She wanted to keep those details private and I respect that.

Frank Trapper / Corbis / Getty Images

Frank Trapper / Corbis / Getty Images

Catt:
Hi Gwyneth! How are you?

Gwyneth:
I'm good! How are you?

C:
I'm amazing. I'm fantastic! I'm just thrilled that you agreed to do this. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

G:
Of course. I'm sorry it took me so long. My life's been a little nuts.

C:
You're just running an empire, getting married, away on your honeymoon and living your best life. I get it.

G:
Yeah. It's been a little nuts. But we're good, we're good.

C:
I'll just dig in is that cool? I know you’re a busy woman.

G:
Hit it. Yes, and then let's have lunch or a drink someday where we can like hang out.

C:
I mean that's my only regret is that we're not doing this with a glass of whiskey on the rocks or something fun but next time. Let's start with Goop. And congratulations because it blows my mind that it's been ten years! I know you just celebrated the anniversary, and I can honestly, visibly, remember the day that I was on E! reporting the news that Gwyneth Paltrow was launching a website called Goop - and just the shock and how that kind of came out of nowhere for all your fans. Is it mind-blowing that it's been ten years?

G:
I mean it's so strange. It's like I can barely remember my life before it, it seems so long. But then also it's hard to believe. It doesn't feel like ten years, and then it also feels like a lifetime.

C:
What has the last decade really meant to you?

G:
I think as human beings we tend to mark passages of time, or we use these anniversaries as a way to take inventory on what we've done. And, so for me, it was like people were so surprised. And why was I doing it? And why did I want to be in this space? I feel like to look back and say, "Gosh you know I've always had a lot of wind in my face. And to be able to build a business of this size, that's sustainable and growing and kind of trailblazing in certain areas of the culture, it feels like a huge accomplishment, you know?"  People aren't necessarily behind female founders to begin with and it's a really difficult thing to do, to become an entrepreneur. When I started I was 35. I had no experience in the space. I had no idea how I would build what I foresaw building. And so I also feel really proud of the perseverance. How much focus and humility and hard work it has taken to get to this point.

Goop

Goop

C:
Yeah. It's okay to pat yourself on the back, and go, "Yeah, fuck yeah, I did this." I have to say one of my personal favorite indulgences now are your podcasts. I am a subscriber. And obviously you don't do all of the interviews, but do you have a favorite guest so far?

G:
I loved Ashley Graham. I thought she was so brilliant and refreshing and surprising. She really made me laugh. She was very open. I felt really inspired by her. She's really a cool chick.

C:
She's amazing. I've done a couple of panels with her. She is a force of nature, isn't she?  So what about a dream guest in the future? Any one person you're dying to get?

G:
I'd love to get Barack Obama on there. That would be a dream.

C:
Yes, that would be amazing! Is it in motion?

G:
I don't know. I sort of floated it out there, and I didn't get a no back. I didn't get a yes, but I didn't get a no. So you know, fingers crossed.

C:
I loved your interview with Julia Roberts. Listening to that ep was like two best friends talking. She’s now starring on TV in Homecoming. I thought acting was indefinitely on hold for you but then this Netflix show popped up right?

G:
Acting was completely on hold for me until my now husband told me a few months ago, "Oh I'm writing this new show for Netflix, and I'm kind of writing a part for you. I know you'll never do it. But you know it's really for you, and would you maybe read it?" I was like, I can't!  He's like, "I promise it won't be too big of a part." Anyway, I read it and it was fantastic. So I'm in a Netflix show that's gonna come out in July called The Politician with Ben Platt and Jessica Lange, and Bob Balaban and Zoey Deutch.

C:
So any trepidation then about the working-with-your-husband dynamic?

G:
No it's been so great, it's been so nice. I'm done shooting. I finished last week. It's been great working with him, I loved it.

C:
The Goop Holiday Gift Guide has landed! I was very happy to know that you still have vibrators on your gift guide.  I feel like, you know... you find the best, and they're all in one spot, which is awesome.

G:
We try, you know? We try.

C:
Do you have a single favorite gift item this year?  

G:
Well, I like some of the experiential stuff.  Like, I've always wanted to go on the Orient Express, there's one of those trips on there. But I think honestly, one of the best gifts on there, I don't know if you've tried it, but are Himalayan salt scalp scrub is like the greatest...it might be the best thing we've ever made. And it lasts forever, and it's non-toxic and it is so good.

C:
I have not tried it, but I will now add it to my list of things to get my hands on.

G:
I'll send you some!

C:
Incredible. Thank you! Listen, what would you say is the biggest misconception about shopping Goop?

G:
I think if you were to only know about us from clickbait-y, headline kind of stuff, you would think that it was all vagina eggs and you know, like you would take the most ridiculous item from the ridiculous but awesome gift guide and think that we sell $20,000 bananas or something like that. I think that people have a lot of misconceptions, you know, when they don't go to the site and they just hear about it from other sources, then I think people are filled with misconceptions. But when you go on there, you see there's really something for everybody and across lots of different price points and across lots of different verticals.

C:
Once upon a time, I believe that you said that you wanted Goop to grow so that one day your kids could grow up and maybe run it one day if they wanted. Are there any signs of interest from the children?

G:
It's funny, Apple and I were talking about it yesterday, because I think she's probably gonna. She seems to be headed towards entertainment, but she said, "Well, maybe then when I'm older, I'll run Goop." And I was like, "That would be great!"  I think they want to probably pursue other stuff, but it would be amazing if they wanted to get involved with the family business.

Instagram @gwynethpaltrow

Instagram @gwynethpaltrow

C:
You are a legitimate girl boss in the truest sense of the word but what would your employees say about the kind of boss and leader that you are?

G:
Elise, for example, my Chief Content Officer, she loves that I'm brave. That's her favorite quality of mine. And that I try to inspire everybody and push everybody to think big and be brave. I think I'm inclusive and I try to create a good culture which is actually increasingly difficult with the growing size of the company.  And I think on the negative side, I can lose patience quite easily. And if I feel like people are making the same mistake multiple times, you don't wanna be around me.

C:
What happens? Do they get a time-out, or do they lose their job, or...?

G:
No, they don't get a time-out or lose their job, it's just a little icy around me for a while. I mean mistakes are a part of life, I make them all the time, but I just try not to repeat the same mistake over and over again, so I don't have a lot of patience for that.

C:
There are a lot of young women who are new entrepreneurs or want to grow a business, many of whom come to theCATTWALK. Did you have any key advice that you would give them if they're just starting out in business? Just a single piece of advice that might serve them well?

G:
I think we need female entrepreneurs now more than ever, and we can see how much female entrepreneurs are hitting nerves and really changing the culture. But it's not easy. I think that you need a hundred percent self-belief all the time. And I think the other thing is just to learn as much as you can. I've had to learn so much on the job and I wish I had gone into it knowing more than I knew.  I would say get mentors, do research, bang on doors and say, "Can you help me? Can you explain this to me?" Just get as thorough an education as possible in whatever it is you're trying to do.

C:
You say a hundred percent self-belief and I think all of us as human beings and as women suffer from the insecurities of the fear that lives within all of us, at some point or another. How do you channel that one hundred percent belief when there are nay-sayers, and others are sadly sometimes rooting against us rather than for us.

G:
Yeah, totally. I think for me, I just try to get really quiet and try to get back to the feeling that I had when I started or I go back to the feeling that I have on a great day where we had a win. And I try to channel that energy of forward motion and success and expansiveness and it's really an internal process - it's very simple. I just go back to a great feeling and then I reconnect with the mission and then I'm like, "Okay, this is what we're doing."

C:
I love that. We are days away from Thanksgiving. How will you spend the day? What are you doing? Are you hosting?

G:
I'm hosting, yes. And I'm very excited. It's my favorite holiday, and I'm very excited to make food. My kids really are specific about me making things, so I will be making things for them. And we have a bunch of family coming from all different sides, and it should be really fun. It's my favorite holiday, you know? Because it's not based on religion, so there's nothing to argue about, there are no presents. It's just about gratitude, it's just about togetherness, and eating and drinking too much, and having fun. I just love it. I'm so excited.  Isn't it the best?

Mario Testino

Mario Testino

C:
Agreed! Yes. Do your kids have a signature dish that they request you make?

G:
Oh, multiple. They think that I'm the only person that makes mashed potatoes correctly in the world, which is insane. They love my mashed potatoes, they love my stuffing, they love my sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top.

C:
Does Brad cook? Will he assist?

G:
Yeah, he's a really good cook.

C:
Will you tag team then on Thursday or is this mostly you?

G:
Oh, it'll be a full group effort. We'll all be in there. Really fun.

C:
Speaking of food, people are obviously, no surprise to you, super hyper-obsessed with your diet, what you eat. Other than Thanksgiving obviously, how would you describe your diet today? Is it Macro? Is it Keto? Is it Paleo? Is it none of the above?

G:
I would say it's none of the above. It's so funny, you know this whole intermittent fasting thing that everybody talks about. I do that, I've always done that without knowing. I'm not a breakfast person at all. So I guess I'm an accidental intermittent faster. I try to eat a clean lunch, that's my thing. Just good protein and vegetables. I try not to have too many carbs, I try not to have anything too naughty, dairy or whatever. And then at dinner I have whatever I want. When I finish work, I need to eat some things that make me feel good, you know?

C:
I do!  I want to talk about aging. You're clearly dedicated to wellness as a whole, it's become your life's work.  But, how are you coming to terms with aging mentally? Because there's not a day that goes by that I don't think right now about my age, and I'm not proud of that. It's like a mind fuck for lack of a better way to say it - even though I'm happy and I've never wanted to be alive more, and I know I have more to offer, and there's all that there.  How do you wrap your head around the fact that we're not 25 anymore?

G:
I mean I'm so happy that I'm not 25 anymore. I think it's interesting, I think as women, it's kind of fucked up. Like we're taught that our appearance and our identity are intertwined, and it's not true. And so there is a little bit of grief for us when we're like, "Oh, we're not 25, we're done with this phase of our lives, we have crow's feet, we have wrinkles," or whatever the case may be. I really do think that there is this fantastic phase of life that is post-45, where you can just be so in your own skin and your own body and you can re-define your sexuality, and you can be so self-possessed, and so chic. Instead of feeling grief around losing something, I try to focus on, "How could we re-invent this next phase of life? What could we do?"

C:
Oh. I love that so much. Gwyneth, you’ve accomplished so much. I know that you and your dad were incredibly close. So if he were still with us today, with you, and he was alive, what do you think of all of your many accomplishments that he would be most proud of?

G:
My children. By far. He would be so obsessed with my children because they are so unique and smart and funny and conscientious and they're just so much fun. That would be it. He would be the proudest of me for them. Definitely.

C:
My kids right now are 17 and 13, and I have a lot of conversations with moms about how I feel like when we have children - there are toddlers, and there are diapers, and there are strollers, and there's so much out there on parenting when you have little kids. But, as they become teenagers, we're navigating this really crazy, almost scary time when there isn't any kind of manual. I personally find these years harder than when they were babies. How have you found it, mothering this age, and this time with the screens, the technology, and with social media? How are you managing?

G:
I guess I'm just doing the best I can. I just keep trying to draw out their humanity, my humanity. Look for ways to always lean into connection, manners, you know those things that create pillars together that they'll always fall back on.

C:
Yeah, connecting. It's huge. The communication and connecting.

G:
Yeah, because the truth is that this is the digital age that they're gonna grow up in and they have to learn, they have to live through it. And they have to learn how to cope. So, wrapping them in cotton wool and limiting screen time forever, or banning it, I just don't think it's realistic.

C:
Before I let you go, a quick game of rapid fire. And thank you, Gwyneth for being you. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Goop Magazine / Steven Pan

Goop Magazine / Steven Pan

How many times have you slept in your make-up in your lifetime?
Oh my god. Never. I am so OCD about that. I cannot sleep in make-up. I don't even wear make-up unless I really have to wear make-up. And there's no way that I could, I would not be able to sleep if I had make-up on.

Current Netflix binge?
It's a cooking show. Salt Fat Acid Heat.  If you like cooking shows, it's really fun. And I love the woman.

Favorite person to follow on Instagram?
My favorite person to follow on Instagram is my daughter who's private, but it's just a prize a minute.

True or False? Did you write "TMI" on Hailey Bieber's Instagram when Justin was gushing all over her saying that she turned him on?
Oh yes, I did. I don't need to see him saying, "You turn me on." Come on. I'm too old to see that.
C: Did he respond or did she respond?
G: I have no idea. I literally am barely on Instagram, sometimes I just get a little salty on there. So I would not know if someone responded. But I like to joke around sometimes.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?
I would clone myself. Is that a superpower?

When was the last time you cried?
I cried yesterday. I was at this place called the Color Factory in New York and a woman came up to me and she had lost her twelve-year-old son, and I cried yesterday when she told me the story.

Vintage or new?
New.

Girl crush?
Natalie Massenet.

Wake up ritual?
Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

You put cupping on the map. You still do it? When was the last time you did it?
Oh, yeah. I love cupping. Probably a couple weeks ago.

Most rewarding part of your new role as stepmom?
I think the lesson that there's always room for exponential love in your heart.

Catt Sadler