Gwyneth Paltrow: Why people love to hate her

There’s something about Gwyneth Paltrow that gets under people’s skin, and not in a good way.


Jordan Strauss, Wire Image

There’s something about Gwyneth Paltrow that gets under people’s skin, and not in a good way. More often than not, the actress is getting her face slapped in the press for daring to style herself as a lifestyle guru in the vein of Martha Stewart or Oprah Winfrey. Adding fuel to the ire, there are even rumours that Paltrow is starting a food magazine in the coming months. 

 Full disclosure: I am a subscriber to GOOP and I will openly admit to loving nearly all of the recipes, fitness, beauty, travel and deluxe recommendations provided by Paltrow and Co. I especially love it when Gwyneth plays Barbie doll and dons some of the clothes she recommends we GOOPer scoopers should buy (if only we could!). The only time I press delete on GOOP is when Gwyneth gets touchy-feely on me and enlists the aid of a priest, a rabbi, a shaman and a yummy celeb mummy to tell me how to deal with a frenemy, time management, or detoxification. 

Paltrow may aspire to Marthadom, but she’s currently in Rachael Ray territory, perennially getting abused for being annoying and/or overreaching in her aims. If she’s not getting smacked down for her weekly newsletter GOOP, she’s getting clotheslined by the foodie press before her new book, My Father’s Daughter, has even hit bookstores. 

Eater has gone through her new cookbook, pulling out (and bolding!) its most groan worthy passages. 

The highlights: 

“One year I was given a birthday present I’ll never forget — a cooking lesson from Jamie Oliver.”

“When I was twenty-one, a friend gave me a book called Diet for a New America by John Robbins, which exposed the brutal practices of American factory farms. That, coupled with a lecture from Leonardo DiCaprio (when he was nineteen and I was twenty-one) about how such animals are kept and processed, made me lose my desire for factory farm pork and beef right there.”

As Jezebel points out these sections almost read like a parody of privilege and pretension. (Though, you can pull out equally obnoxious excerpts from any edition of O Magazine just as easily.) Paltrow should be savvy enough to realize that a dash of sanctimony sprinkled with savory name-dropping are a pretty potent (and universally accepted) recipe for creating contempt. 

In fairness to Paltrow, she’s probably thinking, ‘Hey, that’s my life, jerks. I talk to Leo all the time!’ But maybe it’s her transparency that’s the problem. Gwyneth is offering too much of herself—her wealth, her boldface friend list, her memories— to the world and not enough of the world to the culture. That’s what celebrities do, and perhaps that’s why all the pushback when she tries to be more than a celeb–when she tries to be our guru, a role that demands a little more self-sacrifice. A little warmth minus all the do-gooding instruction and the Dicaprio shout outs would go along way toward bridging the gap between Gwyneth and her audience. 

Oprah and Martha have figured out a way to balance their private and public personas a little more soundly, maybe Gwyneth could take notes? Failing that, can she find herself a Gayle King, ASAP?