We can always rely on Gwyneth Paltrow — actor, business-person, candlemaker — to be on the cutting edge of the latest trends. She was the first person to do yoga, for instance. (According to her.) She popularised the term "conscious uncoupling." And now, she's revealed that she was wearing face masks way before they became so, you know, trendy due to the devastating pandemic.
In an interview with The New York Times, the Goop founder was asked about a selfie she posted way back in February 2020. In it, she was wearing a mask — a $75 (£60) one by the company Airinum. (No, it's not currently on sale on Goop.com, if you're wondering, but the site does offer a selection of face coverings that range from $22.95 (£18) to $75 (£60).) Back then, the Times interviewer pointed out, wearing masks wasn't yet "the norm."
That's right. In fact, until April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were telling people not to wear a mask unless they felt ill or had certain high-risk jobs. In part, that was because there were personal protective equipment shortages, and the health agency wanted to preserve items like face masks for the people who needed them the most, including frontline health-care workers.
In response to the interviewer's statement, Paltrow replied, "This is a familiar pattern in my life. I do something early, everyone is like, 'What is she doing? She’s insane.' And then it’s adopted by the culture."
Paltrow's reference to face masking as a trend that she popularised, rather than something we're all doing to try to curb the rapid spread of a virus that's upended our lives and killed nearly half a million people in the US alone, is a surprising way to frame it, to say the least. From reading her quote, you'd think she was talking about being ahead of the curve on wide-legged jeans.
I don't doubt that in February 2020, a few people may have looked at her sideways for donning a face mask. But that's because we knew so little about the novel coronavirus and how it was being transmitted, not because we hadn't yet caught on to how cool and hip face masks were.
And, for what it's worth: The type of face mask she's wearing in the selfie has exhalation vents, which the CDC has now put on their "not recommended" list, since the holes can allow your respiratory droplets to escape and infect others. Though there are stoppers that can be placed to block the release valves in this particular mask, it's still worth noting that it might not be the best choice for everyone looking to stop the spread of COVID.
Paltrow goes on to say that she only wore the ahead-of-its-time mask on a plane, en route to France, but that she wasn't masked up at an event she attended, and, as we recently learned, she ended up contracting COVID-19. She further establishes herself as being ahead of the COVID curve by saying she was, "one of the first people that I had heard of to have it."
Of course, Paltrow has had some stumbles in the trend-setting department. The Times interviewer asked GP about the yoni egg misstep, during which her company made claims that inserting a jade "egg" into one's vagina could help balance hormone levels, among other things. "That was stuff that happened a number of years ago [Ed. note: in 2017/2018] when we were still a little company curating and buying third-party brands that were making claims around their products. We’ve come a really long way from being that small start-up," she says.
That's why we should totally trust Paltrow and her lifestyle brand now, as they teach us all about the next big trend: vibrators. Have you ever heard of them? No, not the dusty old vibe you currently hide away in its place of shame in a locked drawer. GP has created an "intellectual" vibe, one that doubles as nightstand decor. Unfortunately, it's already sold out on her site, so you may have to settle for the $3,490 (£2,800) gold dildo she's selling instead.