This past Saturday, I went to bed with a dozen pretty women, participated in a group Kundalini meditation, read a complete stranger’s aura, ate elevated vegan food, gulped down buckets of kombucha and matcha, spoke to a psychic medium (actually, three) and did some yoga, all before learning how to perform reiki, deal with conflict, eat more mindfully, manage my personal finances, apply “stealth” makeup and access my innate intuition. As if that wasn’t enough, I went to a seminar on psychedelic medicine, had a subcutaneous B12 shot and knocked back some non-GMO grain botanical vodka before hanging in the Green Room with Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, and Elle Macpherson. I later rode (a Lyft) into the sunset, clutching a black canvas Lululemon gym bag bursting with swag. No, I wasn’t at Burning Man. I was in downtown Manhattan at the second annual installment of Paltrow’s wellness summit, In Goop Health.
For the record, the aforementioned bed-in was actually a class on sleep-enhancing, wind-down rituals, and it wasn't kinky at all. As for the rest of the day, the kinks I noticed at last year’s event weren’t evident at this year’s gathering. The schedule was more organized, the general attitude and atmosphere more relaxed, and ticket holders (still mostly women, still mostly white) were upbeat and intent on getting as much from the experience as possible. “I wouldn’t say I’m a 'goop person,'” said one 26-year-old finance executive. “I thought it was shallow and elitist. But a lot of my friends are obsessed, so I was curious. And after coming here today, my new take is that it has more depth than I thought, and offers ideas and solutions that a lot of people can relate to.” Her favorite panel? A class on beating burnout and managing stress led by writer and researcher Emily Nagoski.
Paltrow—glowing, as usual, and dressed in a navy blouse and pale-pink cargo skirt from her G-Label line—was excited to be at the event with her mother, Blythe Danner, and daughter, Apple Martin. “I’ve having a great day,” she says. “It’s so nice for me to have them here.” Instead of asking her pithy questions about her company (you can go to the Corner Office column in last week's New York Times for that), I asked if her new husband, TV producer Brad Falchuck, is equally wellness-obsessed. As I suspected, even her relationship is on message. “My husband has always been into exercise and clean eating. I think we were sort of aligned in that way,” she says. “You know, we love an infrared sauna together, we love to hike. I think part of the reason it works is because we’re both interested in pursuing those kind of things.”
Macpherson, the founder of WelleCo, a booming beauty ingestibles business, was there to participate in a panel on clean beauty (along with celebrity makeup artist and clean-cosmetics entrepreneur Gucci Westman, and Gregg Renfrew, founder and CEO of Beautycounter), and was excited to talk about WelleCo’s latest launch- Super Booster Detoxifying Liver Tonic, which purports to help support liver function with ingredients like curcumin, dandelion root, and shizandra berry. “We came out with a Libido Booster last month, and it sold out almost immediately,” she says. “People want to take care of themselves and are hungry for information. I mean, look at the fact there is such a buzz around Goop Health, and that there are so many beautiful, interesting women here.”
Elle Macpherson, Arianna Huffington, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Gucci Westman, and Gregg Renfrew at the 2019 Goop Health Summit.
Her own wellness journey started six years ago, when she was 49. “When I was younger, I thought there was a correlation between beauty and youth,” she says. “But as I’ve matured, I’ve realized the true correlation is between beauty and wellness. You don’t see that when you’re 20 years old, but as you mature, you start to realize that you can’t rely on genetics anymore, and that you must make a conscious effort in your life. It’s easy to make, it’s not like oh, I have a huge list of things I do. But I am conscious about the decisions I make for myself. And I have noticed that when I feed my body rich, plant-based nutrients, I feel better and I look better. It’s that simple.”
Moore, who was doing raw vegan and yoga before it was fashionable, was slated to participate in the day’s headliner panel with Paltrow, who she counts as a good friend. “It was about stepping out of my own comfort zone to say yes,” she says. “Because normally I say no and feel shy or uncomfortable. So, this year has been about trying to say yes more often.” She also stepped out of her comfort zone to star in director Patrick Kack-Brice’s comedy Corporate Animals, which recently debuted at Sundance. “I loved filming this movie. We had this incredibly interesting and eclectic cast, and I did feel kind of like the odd man out, as most of them have done a lot more comedy than I have,” she says. “The experience came down to how we connected with and supported one another, which made the whole process so joyous. And you know, at this point in my life, I really have come to seek out and desire those kind of experiences.”
Moore, who looks around half her age, with great skin and shiny hair that practically reaches her waist, clearly takes care of herself, but she’s sanguine about aging. “Because you know, things do change,” she says. “The biggest difference, I think, is that I’m not in nearly as good shape physically as I have been before, and I have skin going in a direction that I would prefer it not go. There are things that just come with getting older. But I think my big mantra for this year is about acceptance. I was reading this book that was written around 1919, if I am remembering correctly, and it was very of its day. It was discussing all the 'female' concerns. There were some horrific suggestions on how to take care of yourself, including putting some kind of acid on your skin. But there was one thing I took away, because I think it’s true—the author said not to frown because at a certain point it will stick. And what speaks to me here is that I do believe that when we hold upset, anger, hurt, pain or bitterness, it ages us and we wear it. That isn’t to say we are always going to feel happy. But it’s important not to hold on to things.”
It’s also important to have the right facialist. Moore has been going to Los Angeles-based facialist and energy healer Terri Lawton for years. “It’s kind of a whole mind-body experience,” says the actress of her treatments with Lawton. “I also really respect her opinion on products, because I know it’s very aligned with my view that they have to be active, but really clean.” Other than regular facials, she keeps her beauty regimen pretty pared down. “I think my biggest thing is really that less is more, as it’s much easier to keep a routine going if we keep it simple, so it’s doable. Look, I don’t have any super big secret. But I definitely think beauty starts on the inside. You can do anything you want to the outside, but if the inside isn’t looking or feeling good, then I don’t know if anything you do on the outside is going to be good enough.”
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