The Hollywood star told Cannes Lions today that she considers herself first an foremost a businesswoman, a marketer and a brand, rather than an actor.
Gwyneth Paltrow has turned her attention from acting to her online business with the creation of the weekly curated lifestyle platform, Goop. In a conversation with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur at Cannes Lions, the Hollywood superstar shared her thoughts on everything from politics and gender equality, to her much talked-about diet, being voted the world’s most hated celebrity, and, of course, her famous ‘conscious uncoupling’ from Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
On being an actor and a businesswomen: “I see myself first on a day-to-day basis as a businesswoman. But the reason I’m able to do that is because I built my career as an actor. Acting will always be in my DNA.”
On changing career path: “I believe that people have different seasons in their lives and at this point in time I’m focused on scaling my business. I decided to pivot my career and follow a passion. It’s been an interesting change of course and I’ve had to be brave to do it.”
On starting Goop: “I never consciously set out to build a brand around myself. I just wanted a place to aggregate and share the information I’d collected over the years from my travels and experiences. In the days before the Internet, my friends always came to me to ask for travel, restaurant and cooking tips, so it was just about sharing my learnings with people I thought might be interested. It was only during the gestational period of the site that I realised the potential to develop it into brand.”
On her company name: “It’s called Goop because it has my initials in it, and because I was told that all the biggest internet companies have two O’s in them…”
On living on “planet wealth”: “We actually have a complete range of prices on the site, from an $8 lip balm and upwards. But [the prices] have become an easy criticism for people to make. Now we joke about it, and we look for products that will provoke a reaction, like affiliate linking a $15,000 gold dildo. Of course I’m aware of the criticism, so it’s funny to troll people.”
On her brand values: “We believe in family, good food, wellness and non-toxic beauty. Goop is about executing these values, not about some lofty unattainable lifestyle.”
On the pursuit of wellbeing: “People tend to think I just eat seaweed and a bit of air but I’m actually all about balance. I love to eat and cook. This is my path and it’s what I’m here to do. If I piss people off that’s ok.”
On being voted the world’s most hated celebrity: “I was like, I’m more hated than Chris Brown?! What did I do?! But all I can do is be my authentic self. If you know me, you know I have fun and I eat. But there’s a perception that I was raised with a silver spoon in my mouth, that I’m a Hollywood princess. Yes, my parents did well and gave me access to a good education, but the truth is when I left for college I was completely on my own.”
On her “conscious uncoupling” from Chris Martin: “We put it out there via Goop because it was my platform, so we were able to frame it exactly how we wanted. We didn’t know it would inspire so much conversation. Everyone thought it sounded crazy at first, and it does, but ultimately it’s had a positive impact. We’ve helped to show people that you can get divorced and still be a family. So I’m very proud of it, and I’m very proud of us.”
On social media: “People have created whole careers out of it. I’ve lived in the public eye since way before it, for over 20 years. I think it’s about trial and error: there are things you want to share on it and things you don’t, things you should put out into the world and things you should keep back.”
On what she wished she had known at the start of her career: “That self belief is everything. It carries you through every aspect of life. If you listen to your instinct and you align with yourself, it will carry you wherever you want to go in your career.”
Subscribers should look out for the Big Ideas report from Cannes Lion on the site next week.