5 Crazy Things I Learned at the Goop Conference

Photo: Owen Kolansinski

Gwyneth Paltrow says that when she launched Goop in 2008, critics told her to stay in her lane and just stick to being an actress. Now the Oscar winner-turned-lifestyle guru who introduced you to conscious uncoupling and vaginal steaming is pushing her brand into new realms—first with an old-media collab with Anna Wintour and Conde Nast, and now, with In Goop Health.

The conference, held over the weekend in Los Angeles, drew a sold-out room of wellness lovers who paid anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to get a taste of the good-for-you life. Matcha brewers and bone-broth vendors stood alongside a crystal shaman and an aura-photo experience (all free). There was also an expansive marketplace featuring Goop’s skin-care products, kitchenware, and health supplements (totally not free).

“I’m here with you as somebody who is a student. I’m still a deeply flawed person.”

Paltrow, who began exploring wellness after her late father’s cancer diagnosis, says one of her first forays into clean eating was baking him healthy zucchini bread. His reply: “It’s like biting into the New York Times.”

“I’m here with you as somebody who is a student. I’m still a deeply flawed person,” she said, before admitting that she still sometimes sneaks a cigarette at a party. With that bit of humility, Paltrow set a let's-get-real tone, with thoughtful—and hilarious—confessions coming from the stage all day. (Miranda Kerr admitted to putting leeches on her face in the name of tighter, brighter skin, for starters...)

Keep reading for the 5 most unforgettable, yeah-I-said-it moments from the Goop summit.

Jenni Konner
Photo: Instagram/@jennikonner

1. Girls producer Jenni Konner admits her show never depicted good sex

Konner & Co. did that for a reason. “We showed sex in your 20s honestly. The one time Hannah has good sex is when she’s being fingered,” she said. “Women who direct [television and films] have, in my experience, the more humorous and realistic point of view. The way men direct sex is, I think, unrealistic.”

Psychotherapist Esther Perel then took Konner’s observation about the male gaze and went to town with it. “I don’t think women don’t want sex. I think women don’t want the sex we can have,” Perel said, in a mic-drop monologue. “They just don’t want the male definition that ends with that squirt. When we say sex, we first need to define it. If it’s a male definition of sexuality, the conversation is rigged from the start.”

Goop summit Cameron Diaz
Photo: Marc Patrick

2. Cameron Diaz explained why you haven't seen her in movies lately

It’s been about three years since she’s made a film—the author of The Body Book and The Longevity Book has been on something of a wellness sabbatical. Diaz says she separated her public life to nurture her personal life. "It got to the point where I just felt like there’s aspects of myself that I had severed and kind of became disassociated with," says the actress, who also began practicing Transcendental Meditation. "There’s no way I can make a movie for three months leaving my home, husband, family. I can’t do that if I want to have a full, rounded life. I had to put some balls down, and pick some other balls up."

Goop summit
Paltrow with Dr. Phil Stutz, center, and Dr. Barry Michels. Photo: John Salangsang

3. The audience screamed, "I’m an animal!"

The psychotherapy/comedy duo of Barry Michels and Phil Stutz culminated in a live therapy session, where they coached a woman to better communicate with her boyfriend. To do this, they emphasized that women need to be—you’re reading this right—more entitled. “People…are listening less to your words than to your energy,” Stutz said. “The woman who feels entitled and feels the same words is more likely to get what she wants.”

Their remedy unfolded in three steps. First, close your eyes and think about how deeply you want something. Second, build up that desire internally, even by repeating a mantra in your head like, "I want this." Finally, say, "I demand this" to the universe. To prep their on-stage patient for the last step, they asked the entire audience to channel strong, positive energy toward her by shouting, "I'm an animal!" Says Stutz, "The more scary this seems, the better." The crowd responded thunderously, and Paltrow was impressed: "You don’t fuck with this group!"

Goop Summit
Photo: Emma Feil

4. No one wanted to see the 10-minute facelift

The crowd thinned out as it became apparent that plastic surgeon Dr. Julius Few was really going to perform this procedure—local anesthesia and all—in front of them. “Gwyneth, if people get squeamish, it’s your fault,” he said, periodically advising the faint of heart to avert their eyes. The facelift involves placing a biodegradable string threaded with beads made of complex sugar under the face’s fat layer. As a body breaks down the beads, it replaces them with collagen. Et voilà (did we mention it’s popular in Paris?): instant facelift. Done correctly, there is no bruising. “Typically,” said Few, “you can go out and have dinner the same night.”

Goop summit Gwyneth Paltrow
Photo: John Salangsang

5. Paltrow confessed that her hyper-perfectionism is an issue

She admitted to Dr. Michels that "she's struggled with it," and the therapist gave her heart-centered Rx: "View perfectionism as the height of egoism. You’re not perfect; you never will be," Dr. Michels says, explaining that being a stressed-out control freak can impact your overall health. "That separates you from holistic or collective forces...The paradox of being human is that you have to accept the most imperfect part of you to be part of something greater."

If you're feeling serious FOMO right now, there are lots of ways to get started on your own: Here's how to incorporate crystals into every room in your house and a matcha recipe that will transform your weekends.

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