Jade Eggs and Psychic Mediums: Dispatches from Gwyneth Paltrow's $2,000 N.Y.C. Goop Summit
Inside Gwyneth Paltrow's $2,000 N.Y.C. Goop summit, from panels with Drew Barrymore to psychic mediums and vaginal eggs
The wellness conference, which had its inaugural event in Los Angeles last June, is filled with everything you’d expect from a Goop event — turmeric chia pudding, psychic mediums contacting dead relatives and of course, the infamous jade eggs — for $650 to $2,000 a ticket. But beyond all the Goopiness, there was also a strong message of female empowerment, thanks largely to a powerful panel of women like Drew Barrymore, Elaine Welteroth and more.
So did I, your on-the-ground reporter, drink the Goop kool-aid? Read on for a rundown of my day in wellnessland.
8:30 a.m.: I arrive at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, where I’m greeted by at least 20 Goop employees on my way in to the airy loft space that is summit central. After checking in, we’re instructed to swap out our shoes for a fluffy pair of Minnetonka slippers, an offer most of the room happily accepts. After passing the highly Instagrammable entrance (the words “In Goop Health” are surrounded by pounds of fresh vegetables), we enter a massive hall, which is filled with dozens of food and wellness options, from facial cupping to B-12 shots to Moon Juice to avocado toast.
9 a.m.: Ahead of the day, we all signed up for three wellness activities (which seemed to cut down on the long lines the L.A. summit-goers dealt with last year). I was late to the sign-up so I unfortunately missed out on some of the Goopiest activites, like the psychic readings. But I went to for my first activity, essential oil therapy. It ended up being just a few dabs of UMA’s Pure Energy oil, but hey, at least it smelled nice.
9:10 a.m.-10 a.m.: I wander around aimlessly for a bit, snacking on the plentiful foods. A citrus salad with tahini-yogurt dressing from west~bourne was definitely my favorite, and I confirmed that I hate matcha. Good to know.
10 a.m.: Paltrow herself (or GP, as they seemed to prefer to call her) kicked off the day with a big welcome to her “Goopies,” whom she said like numbers and science, but also enjoy unquantifiable areas like psychic readings. “I think we like the in-between of data and the unexplained,” Paltrow told the audience. “There isn’t always a double-blind study that can explain it.”
She then introduced Laura Lynne Jackson, a psychic medium who roamed the room looking for people who, as she explained, have friends and relatives from the afterlife with messages to share. The first two women didn’t seem particularly into it, but the second two “shared a similar energy” to Jackson and excitedly nodded along. And she also predicted a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win, so place your bets now!
11 a.m.: The first panel was also on the afterlife, which personally was not my cup of tea. But I was very interested in the next one, on diet and body, with several dietitians and physicians. They had plenty of helpful tips, like focusing on eating the rainbow rather than worrying about calories, and to practice mindful eating by using your non-dominant hand to hold a fork.
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12:35 p.m.: My ticket got me into the upper-tier, or “ginger” events, so lunch was in a room off the main hall, where we noshed on bowls of roasted delicata squash, kale salad with yogurt, gluten-free tamales and more alongside Paltrow and actresses Laura Linney and Bryce Dallas Howard, who were both on panels during the day.
1:30 p.m.: I spot a woman taking a nap on one of the couches. That is a very expensive nap.
1:40 p.m.: I’m pretty full, but I signed up for a Pilates class with New York Pilates instructor Heather Andersen. She’s fantastic and the 30-minute class flies by.
2:30 p.m.: My second pre-booked activity is a manicure from toxin-free nail salon Côte. I go with a very New York grey.
2:45 p.m.: Paltrow runs a discussion on relationships with therapist Terry Real. The woman next to me and I were hoping for a mention of her recent engagement to producer Brad Falchuk, but no dice. Real then takes a couple through a live marriage therapy session and it’s pretty drama-free — they seem like they’ll be just fine.
3:45 p.m.: I eat vegan charcoal ice cream…and it’s delicious.
4 p.m.: The panel on stress and depression is making me more stressed, so I left and wander around instead, admiring the fancy skincare products and cashmere sneakers for sale in the Goop store area.
4:30 p.m.: I eat more vegan charcoal ice cream.
5 p.m.: Time for the main event — a panel on “changing the female paradigm,” moderated by Paltrow with Barrymore, Welteroth, comedian Chelsea Handler, Linney and author Gillian Flynn. I wasn’t sure how open the women would be, but the discussion ended up being incredibly empowering and motivating. They started off on the sexual harassment reckoning going on in Hollywood (Linney said it was something she was aware of for years), and touched on how we got to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements (Handler convincingly argued that it happened because of the 2016 election), how to mobilize and get out the vote this year and the growing activism of young girls thanks to Welteroth’s ground-breaking work at Teen Vogue. It was honest, funny and inspiring.
6 p.m.: It was pretty much the end of the day, but I had one more appointment, a shoulder massage from Chillhouse. The last panel was probably the highlight of the day for me, but this was a very, very close second.
6:30 p.m.: I and the other attendees gathered our gift bags (backpacks with $1,000 worth of goodies for the $650-tier crowd, and Tumi suitcases for the $2,000 group) and rolled out of there. While I certainly won’t be doing vaginal steaming anytime soon, after a day in Goopland I have to admit, I am slightly drunk on the kool-aid (metaphorically, it is a workday after all).