SOUTH LOOP — Actress Gwyneth Paltrow came before a Chicago audience Thursday to talk about her life outside of Hollywood.
In 2008, Paltrow took a step back from her acting and music career to found the site, originally as a private newsletter full of food and travel recommendations. The name Goop was drawn from her initials, she said, along with advice she was given that "all the biggest internet companies have two Os in them."
Since then, the site has built a devoted following as a hybrid lifestyle magazine and online shopping outlet.
"There's so much noise and so much product out there, and what we're about is trying to find the very best and recommend it," Paltrow said of the site. "And that could be the best natural lip balm under $5, it can be the perfect pencil skirt, or it can be a hotel for a particular price point in a particular city."
Likewise, the actress-turned-entrepreneur said "It's All Easy" — the third book she's published — was conceived to help busy professionals bang out gourmet dishes in their downtime.
"The idea behind the book was that everyone wants to come home after a long day and do something that's quick, but also not just a grilled chicken breast," she said. "Something that's delicious, but also kind of foodie and unexpected. Recipes that can really make you proud, and that really take such a small amount of time."
Both projects, Paltrow said, were part of a tidal effort to "create a new archetype" for the way women identify themselves.
"It used to be that women could either be intelligent, or maternal or sexy," she said. "Now we're saying that we can be all of those things. We can be maternal and cook, and we can also go out in the world and kick serious ass."
The event was sponsored by Chicago Ideas Week, a non-profit that organizes workshops, interviews and lecture series around the city. On April 20, Chicago Ideas will host musician Questlove, restaurateur Dave Beran and "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi at SIX10.
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