The Goop rush: why celebrities are racing to build wellness empires

Sirin Kale
Photograph: Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for goop

Forget scents that make you sneeze or scratchy blouses manufactured in sweatshops. There is a new celebrity racket in town and this one does not involve slapping your name on some cheap tat in a lucrative licensing deal. Goop is the name, and money-making is the game. And 2020 has already seen a number of celebrities attempt to get in on the Goop rush.

Former Spice Girl turned businessperson Victoria Beckham is clambering aboard the Goop train this week with her World of Victoria Beckham website. On it, the pioneer of trousers so overlong they are suitable for women who only travel by chauffeured vehicle shares her favourite post-gym snack. Fancy an egg white scramble with a side of sliced avocado? Nope, me neither. Alongside other hearty, rib-sticking recipes such as grilled octopus or edamame noodles (a gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb alternative to the “indulgence” of traditional pasta), World of Victoria Beckham features lifestyle tips and product recommendations for women wanting to live their best, carbohydrate-free lives.

Visitors to the World of Victoria Beckham can also learn how the millionaire fashion designer “empowers herself every day” by means of a £161 face serum made from porcelain flower biopeptides. As the National Women’s Liberation Movement demanded at its historic 1970 conference: equal pay, equal opportunities, contraception and abortion on demand, free childcare – and porcelain flower biopeptides for all.

When it comes to monetising celebrity in the modern age, there is no pseudo-scientific quackery so ludicrous that you can’t use it to sell product. Hence Elle Macpherson’s new range of “libido and endurance” boosters, an £85 sachet of “botanicals and adaptogens” that promise to enhance the body’s response to stress, relieve the symptoms of the menopause and “support emotional wellbeing“.

These celebrities are taking their lead from a woman who needs no introduction: Gwyneth Paltrow, the Nelson Rockefeller of wellness. Where Paltrow went, other celebrities followed. After the success of her vagina-scented candle, you can now buy incense that smells like Erykah Badu’s vagina. Who can blame them? Where we have been sneering at Paltrow’s oddball recommendations for coffee enemas, she has been busy building Goop into a $250m business empire, taking her cues from the US chatshow host Oprah Winfrey, who pioneered lifestyle branding back in the 90s.

I could speak at length about how venal it is for wealthy women to distort our fears about our bodies, ageing and health to shift product. I could ask why the World of Victoria Beckham barely features any recipes including carbs. I could point out that the single thing most likely to enhance the body’s response to stress and support emotional wellbeing is being rich, white, and living in a developed nation. But mostly I just want to say that I am so very tired of all of this and I would like all these celebrities to stick a jade egg in it. Stop the Goop train. I want to get off.