MAVERICK LIFE

In Gwyneth we trust

By Malibongwe Tyilo 28 May 2020

Image from Gwyneth Paltrow's Instagram account

A letter from a stan.

Dear Gwyneth, 

Best actress ever, winner of an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award, and Grammy Award nominee; author of cookbooks, face of Estee Lauder, mother to Apple and Moses, founder of Goop, inventor of conscious uncoupling, former bestie to Beyoncé, and purveyor of vagina scented candles. I just want to say thank you for your online leadership during this confusing time.

‘This smells like a vagina’ scented candle – Goop

I remember back on the 26th of Feb, when “they” were telling us not to wear masks, you donned a stylish black one while on a flight to Paris. Judging by the crisp white pillow on your Instagram post, I’m going to assume you were either in first class, or a private jet. To be perfectly honest, I imagine that is how you always fly, privately; no paltry life for Paltrow.

Anyway, from the comfort of your flight, you posted that image of yourself in the “Urban Air Mask 2.0”, a collaborative design by Swedish brand, AIRINUM®  and Italian fashion brand, NEMEN®. Between your post and the reality of the lockdown, the price of the mask has since shot up to $99 (R1,781). I want one, but now they’re out of stock. Sigh.

But the best part of that post was your caption:

En route to Paris. Paranoid? Prudent? Panicked? Placid? Pandemic? Propaganda? Paltrow’s just going to go ahead and sleep with this thing on the plane. I’ve already been in this movie. Stay safe. Don’t shake hands. Wash hands frequently.”

Horrible nasty comments started streaming in from the common people: “Buying into and promoting panic, come on Gwen, you’re smarter than this!” wrote @beth_noahitall.

“Delete this post, I hope celebrity culture dies with pieces of shit posts like this. Totally ignorant”, trolled @rwesseloo.

Some of these unknowns could not grasp the concept of referring to oneself in the third person. “Do you always refer to yourself in third person? Not a good sign ‘Paltrow’”, commented @pagetherageplus3.

Some, out of desperation, like @glenzlenz tried to make their problems your problem: “I’ve been trying to get Airinum mask since the end of Feb b/c of compromised immune system. Any suggestions?” Naturally, you didn’t respond. I mean… You gave these people Goop, and now they want to make you their personal shopper. If they’d taken time to check Goop’s recent “The Vitamin and Supplement Starter Kit” article, which features loads of options for immune boosting supplements, for the combined price of $542 (R9,748), they wouldn’t be bothering Paltrow with their questions while Paltrow is comfortably, privately, “en route to Paris”.

Anyway, even with all that hate, you stood your ground, you didn’t delete the post. I for one stan a principled queen. And thank you for reminding us of your prescient 2011 movie, Contagion. Sorry you died of the virus so early in that movie. But I suppose that’s just the kind of humble A-lister you are, you don’t need to make a movie all about you in order to accept a role.

A month later, on 23 March, your AIRINUM® + NEMEN® Urban Air Mask 2.0 made another appearance on your Instagram feed. This time, according to your caption, you and director-producer hubby, Brad Falchuk, were “grateful to learn our local farmers market was open this morning; we walked there (keeping lots of distance) and donned masks and gloves once we got nearer to the market, only taking them off when we were almost home and there were no other pedestrians in close proximity. Yesterday I heard tales of crowded hiking trails and parks. Although we are all on a learning curve and aren’t always perfect as we figure out this temporary new normal, we must take the orders seriously and not abuse the freedoms we still have; grocery store and essential errand runs, bike rides or walks (being disciplined about correct protocol). It’s not the time for denial”.

You tell them Paltrow! 

“We must take this seriously and shelter in place. It’s time for nesting, reading, cleaning out closets, doing something you’ve always wanted to do (write a book, learn an instrument or a language or learn to code online, draw or paint) going through photos, cooking, and reconnecting on a deeper level with the people you love.”

“There will be spirituality workshops, workouts, intimate conversations, interactive exercises, and practical, effective takeaway tools for navigating this time.”

Tell those underachieving lazies. I bet you that even today, most of them still haven’t taken your advice, they still haven’t written a book, learnt an instrument or a language or learnt to code online, draw or paint.

Instead, they continue to whine in the comments below your post, like @avonnaboyd: “It’s hard to stay indoors and do all these activities u describe in tiny apartments that many of us live in, with no backyards etc, many of us need to be out of our tiny boxes to remain sane.”, and @jmhumphrey: “Easier to say when you live in a 20 millions dollars house like yours. Shame on you for being so judgy”.

Some of your Goop customers even used rather ungoopy language: “I paid 89 dollars for your jade egg to shove up my ass for chakras and immunity, yet here you are wearing plastic gloves shopping @goop”, commented @amandocabba.

Pay them no mind, Gwen. Privilege is your lived experience. What else are you going to post about? What do you know of cramped spaces and neighbourhoods with no farmer’s markets? What do you know of economy-class flights? You just can’t make everyone happy. Do they even know the sacrifices you and your Goop team are making right now to improve your readers’ quarantine experience?

I absolutely love this article by Goop fashion director Ali Pew: “The New Uniform: Our Fashion Director on What Works Now”. So NB! How on earth would we know what to wear while at home without Goop guidance? Visionary Pew recommends jeans, shirts, oversized sweaters, culottes, and sandals. She also provides links so we can shop all of these from Goop. So thoughtful.

You’ve even taken your annual “In Goop Health Wellness Summit” online and made it completely free. I remember last year they complained because of the $5,700 (R102,520) ticket price for the one-day 2019 edition of the summit. And here you are this year, democratising wellness, with a free ticket for everyone with an internet connection.

We hope you’ll join us now, virtually, as we meet once a week to learn from expert practitioners and to find solace in the wisdom of world thought leaders.”

Yes. Yes I will.

“There will be spirituality workshops, workouts, intimate conversations, interactive exercises, and practical, effective takeaway tools for navigating this time.”

You’ve even structured it so it is relevant for the lockdown. Omg I love you so much.

“Every Wednesday, we’re doing a one-hour wellness session with an expert we admire. (Each session will be hosted by a goop editor, GP, or our chief content officer Elise Loehnen—so you’ll get time with them, too.) The sessions will be livestreamed on YouTube initially. They are free to join. Please consider making a $20 donation to Doctors Without Borders if you can. Please invite your friends. And bring your questions, because our experts will be answering them live at the end of the session.”

This morning, I watched your livestreamed session, hosted by you, a whole Paltrow, and featuring Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class, “a fitness method and ‘practice of self-study’ that incorporates cardio, meditation, and therapeutic yelling”, loved by the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Christy Turlington and Gisele Bündchen. I was glad to hear how “critical” it is for you to do The Class at least once a week.

I tried not to be distracted by how gorgeous Toomey’s spacy lounge was; it was so tranquil, I loved the carefully considered neutral colours. Her grey marble table, her grey couch, her grey carpet, her taupe and cream armchair; it all matched her grey and taupe outfit perfectly. A colour scheme perfect for these times. But, like I said, I tried not to be too distracted, because like Taryn said during The Class: “The work of The Class is not performance based; so while there’s somebody on your screen sharing, the work is to go inside.”

I can’t wait for next Wednesday’s one-hour wellness session!

Yours in Goop health, 

A Fan DM/ ML

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