She's beautiful. She's got an Oscar. She's married to a rock star. She's best friends with Beyoncé. And she wasPeoplemagazine's pick for Most Beautiful Woman of 2013.
Yet she's mocked for what she eats. She's criticized for the pricey Christmas gift guide on her lifestyle website,Goop. She's dissed for driving her kids to school on a Vespa. And she toppedStarmagazine's Most Hated Celebrity list for 2013.
How exactly did this princess of beloved Hollywood royalty - she's the daughter of actress
"Inevitably, in a saga of Hollywood, people identify with either the sympathetic character or the villain," says
LOVE HER? HATE HER? OR LOVE TO HATE HER?
A 2010Voguearticlewritten by a journalist who visited Paltrow, 41, in her
And it seems she does.
Paltrow not only has it all (as mentioned above). Shedoesit all.She acts. (She snaggedher Oscar early in her career, in 1999 for
Do you hate her yet?
But it isn't just having it all or doing it all that has fostered both the iconic worship and the intense scorn.
This has been building for years - or at least the past five, going back to when she launched Goop and began branching out from acting. And she began putting herself out there, Martha Stewart-style.
It's the very thing fans love about her. She'll share with you the best place in
Love her yet?
"She's on this incredible high horse," says James Heidenry, editor in chief ofStar, the publication that put her at No. 1 on the Most Hated Celeb list for 2013 (along with Chris Brown,
Hollywood Reporterstaff editor Michael O'Connell says, "It's that detachment, perceived detachment that comes with wealth and fame."
Earlier this year,Daily Beastwriter
- In 2006 shetoldThe Guardian: "I love the English way, which is not as capitalistic as it is in America. People don't talk about work and money; they talk about interesting things at dinner parties."
- In 2009, she told the March issue ofElle UK: "I am who I am. I can't pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year."
- In 2010, she told the Press Association: "Every woman can make time (to work out) - every woman - and you can do it with your baby in the room. There have been countless times where I've worked out with my kids crawling around all over the place. You just make it work."
- In 2011,GQput her on itsLeast Influential list, noting it was the year she "unleashed her awful cookbook on the world, a book that included such amazingly vapid sentences as 'We've got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden - a luxury, I know, but it's one of the best investments I've ever made.'"
- In 2011, Buzzfeed came up with a list of7 Reasons Why People Hate Gwyneth Paltrow. Alternate title: 7 incredibly pretentious Gwyneth Paltrow quotes
- And this month, she unveiled her Goop Christmas gift guide with toys including a $100 slingshot for a boy and $531 pajamas for mom. It has been called"silly"(New York'sDaily News),"outrageous"(Yahoo.com) and"ridiculous"(Radar).
"She doesn't have that common touch," explains brand expert David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision in
Paltrow has admitted she's aware of her image problem. "I'm a real lighting rod," she acknowledgedin an interviewwith USA TODAY in May. But she doesn't think it's her fault.
"People project a lot of stuff onto me. It's nothing to do with me. I don't read stuff about myself. I feel like it's none of my business. People perceive that I have too much. I understand that, but I also feel like I've suffered so much. It's not something I talk about. I don't have a perfect life. I don't have a perfect anything. I have incredible struggles, and I'm far from perfect. I struggle like every other woman, every other mother. I understand that things look a certain way."
Now, she says, she has gotten to the point where she basically doesn't care what people think.
In one of her most recent interviews, withU.K.'sRedmagazine, she said, "The older I get I realize it doesn't matter what people who don't know you think. It doesn't matter. You're wasting your energy." Her advice is to "do what is right for you and don't give a (expletive) what anyone else thinks."
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
"For a celeb brand to be boring" is the kiss of death, says brand expert Allen Adamson, managing director of
Paltrow is doing exactly what she should to be successful, he says. "Brands need to have a point of view. Her point of view can be polarizing, but on balance, you're better having half the room loving you than having the whole room thinking you're just OK."
It's true of any big business, he says. "Look at Apple. There are people who hate Apple, and of course there are Apple fans who are nuts about it."
Paltrow is "far more ambitious than the average Hollywood celebrity." He adds, "The best brands create friction and passion in the marketplace. I think she's doing very well."
"It's interesting the amount of chatter Gwyneth Paltrow is generating," says Ammiel Kamon, executive vice president of Kontera's products and marketing division. The data analyst group measures "consumption" - or how often a brand is seen - of celebrities. In the lifestyle category, which relates to Paltrow's Goop, she has carved out 14% of the audience, second only to Martha Stewart.
So whatever anyone's saying, Kamon notes, "may be in a bad context for her, but it does have a net positive effect."
Paltrow's Q score, the likability measure for famous folks, is 16, which means 16% of adults who are familiar with her say she's one of their favorite personalities.
A 16 "is about average," explains Henry Schafer, executive vice president of The Q Score company. A very high Q score would be somewhere around "42, 43," he says. Two celebs who generally pull that kind of score:
As of September, the latest Q score report, awareness of Paltrow was at 74%, says Schafer, which means three out of four adults know who she is. The average awareness for a celeb is 31%, so "she's pretty well-known for sure."
And she has plenty of fans.
"We love her," says Zanna Roberts Rassi,Marie Clairesenior fashion editor and E! fashion correspondent. "She's such an icon and so fashionable. The fact that she's a smart woman and an entrepreneur makes her more than just a beauty. She's definitely got brains."
Adds Rassi, "She is well-respected in the industry. I could call any publicist and ask to borrow (designer clothes) for Gwyneth and they would absolutely send. That isn't true of every celebrity. She's very polished. She's a classic."
So what should Paltrow do to move the needle more with the masses? Is anything really at stake for her? Any reason to try to be more
Brand expert David Johnson says "one of the worst things she could do is try to pretend to be something she's not."(Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)
"If I were advising her, one thing I'd suggest is to get into the forefront as a spokesperson for different causes," says brand expert Johnson. "I would advise her to get involved in something so people could see a softer side of her - animals, children or battered women. Things that people can relate to. We know a lot of young girls think she's great. They look to her beauty and her grace."
Paltrow did step out this past week for a Kids Company Dinner, a charity event she co-hosted with designer
And on Dec. 16, she launches a new AOL Web series calledThe Restart Projectwith her pal
BUT WHAT'S IT ALL WORTH?
So, basically, there's nothing at stake for her. No reason to suddenly put $5 items in her Goop gift guide. No reason to censor herself. Nothing to apologize for.
One thing that could do some damage, though, is the rumored "epic takedown" (that's whatUs Weeklycalled it)Vanity Fairis prepping. It's been buzzing sinceaNew York Timesarticlereported that Paltrow sent an e-mail telling her pals to "please decline" any interview requests and not cooperate, even though it's unclear what the article says that could be so damaging.
To survive that, Johnson says, "if there's anything in it, the key for any celebrity is the reservoir of goodwill they've developed among fellow professionals and fans."
No matter what that article says, or this one for that matter, Johnson advises that "one of the worst things she could do is try to pretend to be something she's not."
"Honestly," saysTHR's O'Connell, "she seems to have a pretty great quality of life. She's obviously doing things that she loves. She has a criminally adorable family. I would love to be Gwyneth Paltrow. Seems pretty awesome!"
He adds, "With any of that snark, there's a certain amount of envy in that. If you're posting 20 pictures on Buzzfeed with snarky quotes, part of you really wants to be Gwyneth Paltrow."