A funny thing happened to Gabrielle Moss on the way to becoming like Gwyneth Paltrow. A regular reader of Paltrow’s lifestyle web site Goop and an owner of one of the actress’ cookbooks, the Brooklyn-based writer has emulsified turmeric with almond milk into a smoothie that was supposed to be good for her skin and tested a technique that could be euphemistically described as hymen hygiene. Other than the hue of their hair, the likeness between Moss and Paltrow ends there.
“I can’t do the things that Gwyneth makes seem easy on Goop,” Moss said. “I would say that my domestic and personal-care skills are certainly serviceable for the average human being but seem downright tragic when compared to those displayed on Goop.”
Confessing to not be “any kind of domestic genius,” Moss is a Millennial savant when it comes to writing humorous articles about dating guys, “Lean In” and other topics related to women’s lives, as a staff writer at Bustle. She cast the same satirical eye to Paltrow and Goop in her first book, “Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas That Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious.”
“I feel like Goop and sites like Goop are pretty ripe for parody because they present lots of ideas or solutions to problems in your life that are very complicated, or at the least prohibitively expensive for people,” she said.
Published by Dey Street Books and printed with a matching typeface and similarly stylized photos of caviar, wheatgrass and Zenned-out models as seen on Goop, the 240-page tome appeals to both parts of the brain that react viscerally from reading a typical post on Goop. “Give me a break and also if I had this kind of money I would absolutely buy all of these things,” is how Moss summarized it.
“Aspirational and pretentious and Goop go together so well,” she said of the de facto descriptors for the site. “It’s aspirational for a particular lifestyle. It’s not a wealthy lifestyle or a healthy lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle with vague spiritual beliefs, a lifestyle with New Age health techniques involved.”
It’s also a fantasy of what perhaps the rest of the country imagines a wealthy Californian does when she’s not basking in the glow of the Oscars, bee pollen and hired help. The projection is “I can become wealthy and move to the West Coast and do hot yoga everyday and have an astrological adviser,” the author theorized.
Moss plays into that fantasy. While the book opens with a disclaimer that tartly reminds the reader the book isn’t serious self-help (“They’re not only potentially hazardous to your health — they won’t make you any more like me, either. Sorry. You’re just not on my level.”), she skims reality with recipes based on actual foodie fads. For instance, the age-defying broth requires fresh chicken feet because “every day the chicken feet lie around makes them less effective.” Also, she suggests the youth-obsessed stalk plastic surgery centers and go “grabbing the ‘old noses’ of kids trying to get cast on the ‘Even Stevens’ reboot.”
To be sure, Moss said she would love to send a copy to Paltrow, whom she’s never met. “If I knew where to send it, I would absolutely,” she said. “I feel a parody of the sensibility of Goop has nothing to do with Gwyneth personally. She projects a personality for the web site.”
And she has no shame in plugging her work as a gift for the holidays. “It’s a good book for, obviously, people who have friends who are frustrated by Goop,” she said. Paltrow and her fans have shown they can take a joke. “No one from the wellness blog community has come at me with a 100 percent organic axe — yet.”