“I think of you as trailblazers,” Gwyneth Paltrow told a gathering of famous Hollywood friends Taraji P. Henson, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Alba and Busy Philipps during an end-of-day panel discussion at her lifestyle brand’s In Goop Health Summit at Rolling Greens Nursery in Los Angeles.
Topics during the lively conversation ranged from new abortion restrictions in states including Alabama, Ohio, Missouri and Georgia to Hollywood career reinventions.
Paltrow mentioned to the audience that Philipps’ short-lived talk show, “Busy Tonight,” “sadly just ended” as members of the audience booed E!’s decision.
“It’s OK, guys. It wasn’t the right place for it,” Philipps said, later adding, “I’ve had a really strange few weeks.”
Paltrow also addressed Philipps’ #youknowme campaign, which encourages women to share their personal abortion stories on social media. “In light of what’s going on in the last couple of days in various states in our country and your willingness to talk about your own experience on social media, it’s incredibly brave to do that,” Paltrow said.
“It’s not brave of me to say that I had an abortion at 15,” Philipps said, “because it’s a choice that I made and I don’t regret it at all, and many women go through the exact same thing. … I don’t have a shame. I’m glad I didn’t have that guy’s baby. I’m OK. I rail against this idea that we are holding onto these things so as to not make men uncomfortable.”
Later, Philipps said, “I was so glad that I hadn’t been canceled yet. I was grateful for that opportunity to be able to say it on my show on television.”
Wearing an army-green G. Label romper, Paltrow roamed the downtown Los Angeles nursery, sampling Kreation Organic raw chi chia pudding and signing autographs for fans.
Attendees shelled out $1,000 to $4,500 per a ticket to experience a series of holistic activities, including chakra-balancing yoga, guided meditation, a fitness session with Julianne Hough, sound baths and an intuition course with Laura Day.
The space also featured a gift shop where Goop essentials were available including the company’s new Goop X Chloé capsule collection of classic saddle bags: the Small Tess bag ($1,690) and the C shoulder bag ($2,090).
The purses were featured alongside a curated collection of Chloé spring-summer 2019 pieces from creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi. (Paltrow and Ramsay-Levi recently attended the Met Gala together.)
Other panelists included author Elizabeth Gilbert, filmmaker Kevin Smith, Dr. Will Cole, chef Seamus Mullen, Nutrafol Chief Executive Giorgos Tsetis, energy healer John Amaral and journalist Lisa Taddeo.
During a panel discussion, Henson, a star of the Fox series “Empire” (she will direct an episode during the show’s upcoming final season), discussed her mental health advocacy nonprofit, the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. Named after her father, Henson said she’s working to “eradicate the stigma around mental illness.”
One of the organization’s initiatives aims to put qualified therapists in public schools. “There’s so much work to do, but at least I’m starting the conversation, because that’s how you break the ice,” said Henson, who worked as a substitute teacher before becoming an actress. “I wanted to work with special-ed kids,” she said, adding that she was placed at a school in Crenshaw and observed children being misdiagnosed because they failed to bring in their homework due to problems at home.
Henson remembered thinking she was going to be working with physically enabled children. “I go into a classroom with all black boys, and they’re special ed. I’m thinking, ‘They can walk. They can talk. What’s the problem?’ It comes time to do the curriculum. They kick their feet up [and say], ‘I can’t do that. I’m special ed.’ But you can talk. These young boys are believing these titles that are given to them, and it’s a lie. That’s because the therapists or the counselors that are in these schools are not culturally competent. Or they are not qualified to see if children are having real issues that need to be addressed.”
Wilde discussed her directorial debut with this month’s comedy “Booksmart,” starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. “I’m totally hooked. It’s all I want to do,” Wilde said of her newfound love of directing. “I was also inspired by my mom, who at 66, pivoted from a long career in journalism and ran for congress in Virginia and she ultimately didn’t win, but it was an incredible experience.”
Alba reminisced about launching the Honest Co. in 2011. “The moment when I decided that I wanted to do something [other than acting] was probably when I got pregnant with my first kid,” said Alba. “And I learned about how many potentially harmful things in the world I was going to maybe expose myself to and my child to that could have long-term effects on her health.”
She said affordability was important to her when developing the brand. “I grew up super blue collar, working class. My dad was in the military. We had no money; so I wanted to create a brand that stood for safety and health but also had a price point that was accessible to people.”
“Perfect is the perfect lie,” said Henson. “It’s a myth. It doesn’t exist. Once I started thinking like that, shame went away because how dare you judge me? Why should I feel shame?”
She’s turned to prayer and meditation to get through the day. “I have to meditate in the mornings,” Henson said, “so I don’t head-butt a fellow human.”