Gwyneth Paltrow became a household name after starring in multiple films, including “Se7en” and “Shakespeare in Love.” However, she made the decision to step away from the limelight and for over a decade, she has turned focus to her lifestyle brand Goop.
For this week’s Sunday Sitdown, Paltrow visited her company’s store in Sag Harbor, New York, to speak with TODAY’s Willie Geist about running Goop and what roles she might pursue in the future.
After testing some of her Goop products on Geist, Paltrow opened up about how she takes pride in building her brand, which began as a newsletter in 2008.
“I always find it surreal — a little bit — when I come into a store and watch people as they mill around and ask questions and pick things up,” she said. “It’s such a place of discovery for people and everybody’s always smiling when they’re in the store. So, I love coming into the store.”
Many Goop products — such as the best-selling $75 candle called “This Smells Like My Vagina”— have made headlines and been widely discussed on social media.
As she began to describe the meaning behind the candle’s eye-catching name, Paltrow asked, “Can I say that on morning TV?”
"This candle is really like that provocation to say like, ‘It’s amazing to be a woman in every way. It’s amazing to have that kind of power and you deserve to have that agency,’” Paltrow explained.
The 49-year-old became Goop’s CEO in 2016 and has since expanded the brand to include a podcast and a Netflix show. She said going from being an actor to the head of a company has been “scary” because of all the responsibilities that fall on her.
To create Goop, Paltrow took a step back from her acting career, a decision that was made easier by the fact that she didn't enjoy the spotlight.
“I think it was probably around the time of winning the Oscar where you go from people kind of being curious about you or discovering you or rooting for you to it all being upended, and people really wanting to tear you down and take great pleasure in it,” she said. "Which ends up being a really beautiful lesson in knowing who you are. Loving the people you love. Being totally in integrity. And like f— everybody else.”
The businesswoman referred to herself as “a fake extrovert” who tried to pretend that she loved being in front of the camera when that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t like being the center of attention,” she said. “I hate speaking in public. And I’ve had to learn all those skills to sort of like prop myself up and do it anyway. But I never felt very, fully comfortable being in the public eye to that degree. I still don’t, but it’s fantastic that I’ve been able to do something that’s very fulfilling and work with a team that I adore.”
Her work as a CEO also still allows her to spend time with her two children, 18-year-old daughter Apple and 16-year-old son Moses, whom she shares with ex-husband Chris Martin.
"I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to try to pursue this other career and kind of like keep hours where I’m able to be home and make them dinner and stuff like that," Paltrow said.
Despite no longer seeking the spotlight, Paltrow hasn't quite given up acting.
Paltrow revealed that she is open to acting again if she would get to collaborate with her husband or her friends. Recently, she starred in the 2020 Netflix series “The Politician,” which was co-created by Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and her husband Brad Falchuk, whom she married in 2018.
“I mean, if my husband was doing something and wanted me to do it. I would do it,” she said.
The other type of role she'd do, Paltrow said, was a stage performance, so she could fulfill a promise she made to her mother.
“I told her that I would go and do a play,” she shared. “So, I’m going to deliver on that promise at some point.”