Is Meghan coming for Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness crown?
Could Meghan take on Goop? Experts reveal how the royal’s rumoured relaunch of The Tig would rival Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle empire
- Rumours have been swirling that Meghan Markle could resurrect blog The Tig
- READ MORE: Sarah Ferguson leaves Mark’s in Mayfair with Princess Beatrice
Meghan Markle may be keen to resurrect her lifestyle website The Tig – but there is one A-lister who has long been queen of the wellness space.
Founded in 2008 by Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop is now thought to be worth £200 million, with a newsletter counting 8million followers.
Apparently inspired by Goop, Duchess of Sussex originally launched her own site, which she called a ‘passion project, in 2014.
It featured tips on food, wellness, fashion, travel, fashion, the arts, design, and conscious living.
However she shut the website down in 2017 when she announced her relationship with Prince Harry.
Insiders have said Meghan hopes to rival Gwyneth’s mega-successful site, which plys a lucrative trade in New Age wellness luxuries, such as vagina-scented candles.
Here FEMAIL looks at how a potential 2023 Tig and its rival compare when it comes to the philosophy behind the brand, the products and experiences they recommend and their founder’s marketability.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT: SAUNAS AND HERBAL REMEDIES
Emily M Austen, who runs the PR agency EMERGE, said Gwyneth has created a ‘business’ out of wellness content on Goop
Emily M Austen, who runs the PR agency EMERGE, said Gwyneth has created a ‘business’ out of wellness content on Goop.
She told FEMAIL: ‘She has also brought more niche practices to the forefront, such as Wim Hoff, the Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete that got everyone into cold swimming in 2022.
‘And GOOP has also focused more on physical bodily treatments, such as cold water swimming, breathing, cupping, fasting, latterly highlighting the impacts on our mental health,’ Emily added.
Among the unusual wellness practices Gwyneth has recommended online include her regular trips to the sauna, praising the relaxation and health benefits of the steam room.
Elsewhere, she advised walking barefoot, which Goop discloses, ‘connects with the energy of [planet Earth]. . . [it] is healthy for our souls and bodies’.
It adds: ‘Several people in our community (including Gwyneth) swear by earthing — also called grounding — for everything from inflammation and arthritis to insomnia and depression.’
But you must do your earthing outside. Indoors, you’ll be ‘insulated from the Earth’s electric potential’.
In 2017, the website was also slammed by health professionals and doctors for promoting dangerous practices.
Dr Jen Gunter, gynaecologist and GOOP debunker, called it ‘a megaphone for pseudo-science’ at the time.
‘It’s pushing “therapies” invented [long] before the microscope,’ she added, noting everyone on GOOP ‘seems to be selling something’.
Timothy Caulfield, professor of health policy at the University of Alberta, also warned that Paltrow was ‘keeping myths alive, fearmongering and creating confusion.
‘Celebrities play a big role in circulating this dangerous nonsense.’
He said Goop ‘isn’t a passion project for her, it’s just a business.’
While Goop hasn’t commented on the criticisms, it points to a disclaimer below every article that states its intent to ‘highlight alternative studies and induce conversation’ and that it is ‘not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment’.
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT… YOGA AND MEDITATION
Meanwhile, Meghan has so far stuck to more tried-and-tested practices, such as yoga and meditation (Pictured during a meditation session in her Netflix docu-series Harry and Meghan)
Meanwhile, Meghan has so far stuck to more tried-and-tested practices, such as yoga.
The Duchess has long advocated for ancient Indian exercise discipline and the health benefits that come with it.
Her mom, Doria Ragland – who works as a yoga instructor in LA – was largely responsible for kick-starting her love for the practice.
‘She has been going to Modo Yoga for many years and tries to do so whenever she is in New York,’ a source previously told People. ‘It was the perfect remedy for jet lag.’
During her royal tour of Australia with Prince Harry, Meghan admitted to yogi-ing her way through sleepless nights with early morning yoga sessions at 4:30am.
And it’s not just her physical health which Meghan is likely to focus on if she relaunches The Tig.
She was pictured in her Netflix docu-series taking part in a meditation session.
In 2018, American meditation teacher Light Watkins revealed how he gave the Duchess private lessons after they were introduced through a friend five years prior.
At the time, he told In Style that Meghan practiced meditation by herself at least twice a day.
And earlier this year, the Duke of Sussex revealed that he meditates everyday during a virtual panel for mental health startup BetterUp.
Meanwhile brand expert Emily said that, given the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s focus on mental health, the subject will no doubt be a big part of The Tig’s brand identity.
‘The Tig, will surely have evolved substantially since its last update, and is likely to focus more on our mental health as a primary output,’ she said.
‘Looking at trauma responses, how stress lives in our body, panic and over exposure, are likely topics that Goop has covered less, given Meghan’s public experiences in the last five years,’ Emily added.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT…DETOXES AND IV DRIPS
Gwyneth is pro detox and has sung the praises of drinks such as celery juice and her own morning detox smoothie
Brand expert Emily explained that ‘lifestyle’ could mean a wide range of topics – and offers plenty of options for the Duchess if she wanted to expand into different areas.
Among them is food and recipes, on which Gwyneth often shares her advice.
Paltrow and her Goop team do a group detox every January, drinking lemon-infused water, using infrared saunas and cutting out alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten, dairy, soy, corn and veg such as potatoes and tomatoes (belonging to the nightshade family).
But a drastic detox is all a waste of time according to scientists, who say the liver and kidneys provide all the detoxification we need. Plus, recent American research found avoiding gluten without good cause is linked with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Elsewhere, she suggested a ‘cleansing’ eight-day diet of nothing but raw goat’s milk to drain the gut of parasites and ‘heavy metals’.
Her advice came from Goop’s resident ‘naturopathic physician’, Linda Lancaster, who insists we all probably have a parasite inside us.
Lancaster relates how a Biblical era community, known as the Essenes, would deal with worm infestation by sticking the sufferer in a tub of milk until the worms came out of the body to drink it.
Parasites love milk, she claims, so the goat’s milk draws them out of the body.
Yum yum, says Goop of this somewhat unappetising-sounding hot drink Charcoal Chai (made with plant-based ‘milk’ and flavoured with cardamon and cinnamon), one of the top ‘wellness’ trends. Activated charcoal is made by chemically converting carbon-containing materials such as coal into pure carbon (charcoal).
This is then ground into a powder and treated with chemicals. Goop claims this tipple detoxifies as the charcoal chemically ‘bonds’ to toxins.
Meanwhile earlier this month, the Goop founder, 50, sent the internet into a frenzy when she appeared on Dr. Will Cole’s podcast The Art of Being Well and discussed intermittent fasting, subsisting on bone broth and vegetables.
In it, the actress says: ‘I eat dinner early in the evening. I do a nice intermittent fast.
‘I usually eat something about 12 and in the morning I have things that won’t spike my blood sugar so I have coffee.
‘But I really like soup for lunch. I have bone broth for lunch a lot of the days. Try to do one hour of movement, so I’ll either take a walk or I’ll do Pilates or I’ll do my Tracy Anderson.
‘And then I dry brush and I get in the sauna. So I do my infrared sauna for 30 minutes and then for dinner I try to eat according to paleo – so lots of vegetables.’
She concluded: ‘It’s really important for me to support my detox.’
Gwyneth had also begun recording the podcast with an IV drip still in her arm.
Acknowledging the IV, she said: ‘I’m really embarrassing myself right here. I love an IV, I’m an early IV adopter.’
The actress revealed that her favorites were Glutathione and Phosphatidylcholine, adding: ‘They’re quite hard to find, and those make me feel so good.’
Host Dr. Will Cole described the IV as ‘so on-brand for both of us,’ adding: ‘We pod and IV at the same time.’
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT…FINE DINING AND FAMILY FAVOURITES
In old articles of The Tig, Meghan would write reviews of her favourite restaurants in an attempt to establish herself as a fine dining critic
Meanwhile she has also spoken of being a passionate home cook, and regularly shared her own recipes and dishes with fans
In its hey day, the Tig was full of fine dining recommendations and interviews with up and coming chefs.
Meanwhile she would also share her own recipes, signaling Meghan’s intentions to cement herself as a foodie rather than a diet guru.
In an interview with Grazia from 2015, Meghan divulged her recipe for a boozy almond milk spiced holiday cocktail while offering a series of tips for hosting the perfect Christmas with friends.
While the duchess is known to be a wiz in the kitchen, the beverage is actually easy to make, requiring only almond milk, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, dates, and bourbon, of course.
Meanwhile in 2017, the self-confessed foodie now says a ‘perfectly roasted chicken’ – the staple of any self-respecting British Sunday lunch table – is a sure fire way to impress.
She has long spoken of her love of cooking, and her first royal project saw her putting together a charity recipe book, Together: Our Community Cookbook.
At the time, royal commentator Claudia Jospeh told Sky News: ‘She’s a foodie foodie, so this is something that’s close to her heart – she did this as a teenage in the soup kitchens in LA she went and helped, its not that different to when she was younger.’
Weeks ago, in a post shared on the royal’s Archewell website this week, the couple announced Meghan has contributed the recipe to The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope.
Meanwhile brand expert Emily said Meghan would likely incorporate the things she loved into the site.
Emily said: ‘Meghan has a different look, and a different perspective on how wellness and self care can be interpreted, and no doubt will appeal to a different audience to GOOP.
‘The Tig can likely also challenge the stereotypes associated with wellness, and offer accessibility,’ she added.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT… RAUNCY SHOWS
While Gwyneth’s website might be hugely popular, in 2020, she expanded into Netflix specials – The Goop Lab and Sex, Love & Goop
While Gwyneth’s website might be hugely popular, in 2020, she expanded into Netflix specials – The Goop Lab and Sex, Love & Goop.
The Hollywood A-lister has not been afraid to show her wacky side in the two programmes, where she explored health practices away from the beaten path.
The Goop Lab focused on the boundary-pushing — and sometimes dangerous — wellness treatments featured on her lifestyle website.
Keeping a very open mind is undoubtedly a requirement to work at Goop, and in the clip, Gwyneth asks her employees: ‘We’re here one time, one life. How can we really milk the s**t out of this?’
Two years later, the actress released Sex, Love & Goop, which was particularly praised by viewers, with some saying it was the ‘best sex education they’ve ever received’.
The six-episode series saw the actress-turned-wellness-guru team up with five sexual health experts to work with couples struggling with their sex lives, including parents who had started to feel more like roommates.
Gwyneth, who at one point in the show briefly discussed being submissive in her own sex life, invited five couples, each facing different issues within their relationships.
The couples were introduced to a range of techniques they could use to overcome their issues, whether that was practising ‘energetic orgasms’ or playing with a Wolverine claw sex toy in bed.
‘Sex, Love & Goop explores what it means to be truly intimate in a relationship: to express your deepest fears and desires and to accept those of your partners,’ Paltrow said in a statement published at the time of the trailer’s release.
‘A continuation of Goop’s mission to help our audience pursue the ineffable power of their own potential, the show is a toolkit for finding more pleasure and connection in our romantic lives. And it’s full of lessons I wish I’d learned years ago.’
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT…EMOTIONAL TELL ALLS
Meanwhile Meghan could also look to expand her Tig empire into Netflix shows – as the actress already has a megabucks deal with the streaming service
Months after ditching royal duties, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped into Hollywood and signed a deal with Netflix.
In a statement at the time, the Sussexes said: ‘Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.
‘As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.’
It’s possible that, like Gwyn, Meghan could release a series spin-off from her wellness website.
Her first two programmes which were part of the Netflix deal received a mixed response from audiences.
Her Netflix docu-series Harry and Meghan, which premiered last December, was an emotional watch that saw the couple dive into the early days of their relationship, their family life and their controversial decision to step down as senior royals.
Meghan and Prince Harry spared no detail in the revealing series, bursting into tears several times as they related their side of the Megxit story.
The Duchess also shared snaps of her pregnancy with daughter Lilibet, who will turn two in July, and of her life as a young mother of two under three.
Weeks later, documentary series Live To Lead, which was made by New Zealand-based production company Blackwell & Ruth in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Sussexes’ production company, Archewell, was released.
It celebrated ‘inspirational leaders’ throughout history, and featured Harry and Meghan as presenters.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT…VAGINA EGGS
GOOP has become synonymous with the wellness Jade eggs – also known as vaginal eggs – it has been selling since 2017, pictured
GOOP has garnered a reputation for recommending treatments and selling expensive items that can be a bit out there.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Christmas gift guide has become a holiday staple.
The ‘ridiculous but awesome’ category has become known to recommend extremely expensive and often unattainable objects.
In 2022, it included a £23,118 ($28,500) leather ‘sex chair’, a £1,939 ($2,390) Louis Vuitton surf board and a £340 ($420) Gucci dog poo bag holder.
In total, the luxury list contained presents worth almost £730,323 ($900,000) – with the higher ticket items including a £232,028 ($286,000) New Zealand getaway, a £202,822 ($250,000) vintage Ford Bronco and a £109,545 ($135,000)-a-night private jet Safari experience in South Africa.
However, the brand also sells more affordable picks, like a £50 hair colour kit for dogs, approved by canine dermatologists, and a set of six neon paper rolls for £18.
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT… GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK – LIKE SUSTAINABLE SOCKS
On The Tig, Meghan recommended ‘gifts that give back’, which were ethically made of the proceeds of which went to charity
Meanwhile, according to brand expert Emily, it’s likely Meghan will focus on products that encourage bonding between family and friends.
She suggested the Duchess could highlight products that bring social moments together – like dining and tablescaping.
‘The product recommendations on The Tig are generally more accessible and affordable, with a focus on promoting brands and products that are aligned with Meghan’s personal values and interests,’ Megan, from Chic PR, said.
She’s also likely to plump products which she has already thrown her backing behind – like her woke coffee brand Clevr.
In December 2020, Meghan announced she was backing the California-based ‘wellness brand’ Clevr and made a quick move to promote its products with her friend Oprah, by sending her a gift basket filled with the company’s superfood brands.
It was her first investment after she and Harry gave up royal duties and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a private life and seek ‘financial independence’. It’s unclear how much money Meghan invested in the company.
The start-up sells latte powders in matcha, chai and coffee flavors, which are made into a drink by adding hot or cold water.
‘On the first day of Christmas my neighbor “M” sent to me… A basket of deliciousness! (Yes that M). My new drink of choice for the morning and night. Wish I had Clevr Blends sooner ’cause I would’ve added it to my Favorite Things list,’ Oprah wrote.
She offered Meghan’s coffee company yet another promotion by including its instant lattes in her list of Favorite Things from 2021.
‘My neighbor Meghan (yes, that one) introduced me to this woman-led wellness brand,’ she said in the list.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT…SEX POSITIVE
Sexual wellness and sexual pleasures are two central areas that Goop focuses on, and the brand even releases a Christmas sex gift guide
Sex health and sexual pleasure is one of the central focuses of Goop.
In 2020, Gwyneth Paltrow raised eyebrows as she combated vaginal shame with the launch of her $75 ‘This Smells Like My Vagina’ and ‘This Smells Like My Orgasm’ candles.
The following year, Goop released its $95 double-sided wand vibrator, which sold out in less than 24 hours.
At the time she also announced Goop’s new female libido-boosting supplement DTF — an acronym for ‘down to f***.’
‘Everyday stress and anxiety, hormonal changes, exhaustion, age… these can impact our libido and sexual health,’ she wrote on Instagram at the time.
‘So yes, we (with our science and research team) created a supplement that REALLY helps and, yes, we called it DTF. Because, you know, we’re @goop.’
And the brand’s Netflix special, particularly Sex, Love & Goop have particularly hammered home the fact that sexual wellness is one of the brand’s pillars.
Goop also released a sexy Lover’s Gift Guide recommending 10 sex toys and more sultry accessories in 2021.
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT… FAMILY FRIENDLY CONTENT
Meghan has rarely opened up about sexual intimacy, however, she has been very candid about some aspects of her family life
Meanwhile, Meghan has steered clear of sharing too much detail when it comes to intimacy.
The Duchess has cultivated a much more family-friendly image in the subjects she decided to cover on her blog before she shut it down in 2017.
The royal has rarely spoken about sex, only briefly touching on the subject during her Archewell podcast series last year.
Meghan spoke of how female sexuality ‘is so much more vilified’ than men’s and even women in their 50s can be targeted by gossip about how they were ‘a sl*t in college’.
While men are described as ‘players’, women are mocked for their sexual behaviour, the Duchess said.
Meghan’s comments came during a discussion with trans actress and singer Michaela Jaé Rodriguez on experiences during her teenage years.
‘As you’re getting older, you’re exploring and starting to understand your sensuality, your feminine divine,’ the duchess says.
‘But your sexuality can be very much used against you… [a man] is a player or out having fun or whatever he’s doing, it’s often celebrated, even heralded.
‘But for a woman, I don’t care if she is perhaps the most successful woman in finance in her mid-50s I promise you someone will still come and say ”yeah, but she was such a sl*t in college”.
‘It will stick with her. I don’t understand what it is about the stigma surrounding women and their sexuality, the exploration of their sexuality that is so much more vilified than for a man and I wonder what that experience.’
As Megan Blake, Social and Content Manager at Chic PR, explained: ‘The ethos of The Tig is centred around Meghan’s personal experiences, with a focus on inspiring women to live their best lives.’
Being a mother-of-two under three, it is also likely that motherhood would be a central theme of the rumoured upcoming version of The Tig.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT…KEPT UNDER WRAPS
Gwyneth has kept her political views under wraps in order not to alienate any customers of Goop
Goop and The Tig were both born out of their creators’ vision, but while Meghan has used her blog to campaign about issues she felt strongly about, Gwyneth has kept her political views under wraps in order not to alienate any customers.
‘A rich white blonde woman in America talking about elitist wellness practices is divisive,’ Emily noted, about Gwyneth.
‘Gwyneth herself has also steered clear of public and meaningful political stances, presumably because she doesn’t want that to over shadow her business,’ she added.
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT…OUTSPOKEN
The Duchess of Sussex has not been afraid of voicing her political views, and commentators have speculated she could try her hand at politics in the future
The Duchess of Sussex has not been afraid of voicing her political views.
In 2014, then a budding actress, Meghan, who became an United Nations Women advocate for political participation and leadership in 2015, revealed her involvement with the UN’s HeForShe campaign, and detailed it at length on The Tig.
Meghan was a vocal supporter of Hilary Clinton and during a 2016 interview, said that ‘you don’t want to live in the kind of world that he [Trump] is painting’.
During an interview with Larry Wilmore on the Nightly Show in 2016, Meghan said: ‘We film Suits in Toronto and I might just stay in Canada.
‘Yes, of course, Trump is divisive, think about female voters alone, right?
‘I think it was in 2012 the Republican Party lost the female vote by 12 points.
‘That is a huge number and with as misogynistic as Trump is, and so vocal about it, that is a huge chunk of it.
‘You’re not just voting for a woman if it’s Hillary (Clinton). Yes you’re voting because she’s a woman, but certainly because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting.’
Meanwhile during the Covid-19 pandemic, she wrote to the speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi.
Meghan wrote in the letter: ‘I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. I’m writing to you at this deeply important time – as a mom – to advocate for paid leave.’
The extraordinary 1,030-word letter asked the two Democratic leaders to consider her plea ‘on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry’.
The Duchess has also caused controversy by cold-calling US senators on their private phones and using her royal title to urge them to vote in favour of compulsory paid leave.
These interventions heightened speculation that she sees herself in a political position in the future, like her heroines Angelina Jolie and Amal Clooney.
‘Trend forecasters have suggested that Meghan will eventually make a play into politics, so The Tig could be a good way for her to stress test the response, gently, to her political leanings,’ Emily suggested.
HOW GWYNETH DOES IT… LOYAL WELLNESS WARRIORS
Gwyneth’s status as an A-lister as well as her writing credentials have definitely helped inflate GOOP’s profile and gave the business respectability, turning it into a bankable empire
Gwyneth’s status as an A-lister as well as her writing credentials have definitely helped inflate GOOP’s profile and gave the business respectability, turning it into a bankable empire.
Emily also commented on how Gwyneth built customer loyalty while expanding the business from its early days as a newsletter to the wellness empire it is today.
‘GOOP began as a newsletter, and website, creating content around the wellness industry, in its infancy,’ she said.
‘As such, GOOP has amassed an incredibly loyal and open minded fan base, often paying above the odds for a vaginal air freshener or a seven day fast where you pay above the odds for broth and one olive,’ she added.
‘Early alignment with Elise Loehnen, looking to science, and a hugely successful Podcast discussing a plethora of modern issues has made GOOP a household name.
‘Despite pulling out of the UK in 2022, the brand remains popular in the US, with stores in trendy locations, even down the road from Meghan in the Rosewood, Montecito.
Emily added that GOOP’s target audience is also well-defined.
‘GOOP’s lines are clean, Gwyneth is the poster child of the white, blonde, middle class wellness warrior, and her openness to try anything, and often film it (cue Netflix documentary), mean that she has won over fans,’ the branding expert said.
HOW MEGHAN COULD DO IT…SEARCHING FOR A UNIQUE SELLING POINT?
Meanwhile, if her podcast Archetypes in anything to go by, Meghan could bring her celebrity appeal to the new version of The Tig
Meanwhile, if her podcast Archetypes in anything to go by, Meghan could bring her celebrity appeal to the new version of The Tig.
‘No doubt Meghan will invite famous friends, as she did on her podcast, to explore these trends with her,’ Emily said.
But she added that the Duchess will have to work on her image in order for her venture to work.
‘Generally speaking, Meghan is less well liked than Gwyneth and has been criticised for lacking authenticity and sincerity,’ Emily said.
‘Having a more personable, progressive and educational platform to humanise herself would be a good marketing move, as the public has previously rejected her in situations where they feel lectured, accused or marginalised,’ she added.
Meanwhile Megan said: ‘I do think it’s possible for Meghan Markle to turn herself into a wellness guru like Gwyneth, but it would require a significant amount of effort and a shift in her current public persona.
‘Gwyneth Paltrow has been in the wellness industry for more than a decade, written multiple books, has a website and wellness line.
‘Meghan hasn’t established herself in this industry yet, so she will need to build her brand and differentiate herself from other wellness experts in the market and have a unique selling point that sets her apart from the other.’
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