In a first, a live recording of BBC's HardTalk took place at the at he Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2016. In conversation with HardTalk's Stephen Sackur on 22 June was actor-turned-businesswoman, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Sackur's first question for Paltrow, who runs Goop, which began as a weekly lifestyle publication and has now expanded into e-commerce, among other things, was about whether she likes terming herself as an actor or a business woman.
Paltrow responded that while she was currently the creative face of the business, this was made possible only because she was an actor. "Acting has been in my DNA," said Paltrow.
For a person with acting in her DNA, Sackur pointed out that she curtails it by doing only a movie a year or less.
"I've had an incredible career so far. At this point I'm focused on the business and raising my children. Women have different reasons to do that (reduce working), and I've done that because of my children."
But her acting career isn't over, revealed the Shakespeare in Love star. .
Sackur brought up an issue which is being spoken about extensively across advertising and marketing – the gender issue. He asked the Oscar-winning actor whether it's more difficult for women when it comes to raising children and having to choose between a career. He also brought up the unequal payment issues in Hollywood and whether it has to do with lack of woman-centric scripts.
Paltrow concurred on the first part. She said, "Yes, that's right. Every working woman faces this. I was lucky to be able to take a break and raise my children. Not all women are afforded that luxury and have to do both."
On the latter, she did not. "When I was doing movie after a movie, a lot of female-centric stories were there. They are less now (sic). About the pay, there are cases where different data is used for pay, and it's not always related to gender."
The conversation shifted to Paltrow's entrepreneurial career. Sackur asked her about how Goop began.
"I have had the fortune to travel a lot and I love cooking. I collected recipes and put down notes of where to eat at places way before the internet (boomed). My friends would always call and ask for help. So, that's what set the premise. I had curosity, and then the internet gave possibilities. So, I took the leap. It wasn't about setting out 'Brand Gwyneth'. It was about me genuinely wanting to find the right answers. Through time I understood there's power in the brand," she revealed.
The interviewer cited critique that labelled Goop as something expensive and not catering to the average TG. Paltrow responded, "The truth is that we have a complete range of products starting from US$ 8. It's a place for discovery and delight. It's an easy criticism to make that the stuff is expensive. But the world has more expensive stuff like a US$ 15,000 gold dildo. But the values of the brand (Goop) are about well-being. It's about helping with good food and non-toxic beauty."
Sackur then pointed to Paltrow's role as a social activist and then the fact that she's running Goop. He asked her if the two contradicted each other. Paltrow said, "Everybody has different aspects in life. You'd want to help children, but who wouldn't want to have a good dinner?"
The right balance
The conversation reverted to the gender issue, this time linked to the US elections. He asked Paltrow how she felt about getting a female president.
"It's about time. You look at other countries and they've had success with women leaders. There's no reason why a woman can't be as good or far better than a man," responded Paltrow.
Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin had split in 2015, through an announcement made on Goop. Sackur asked whether Paltrow that would take it overboard or whether she did that to control it.
"It was done to control it. We put out exactly what we wanted to," she clarified.
The talk came to an end with Sackur asking Paltrow that having lived in the public eye and then having a website for her personal life, she still elects to shield her family life and children from the media. He pondered over whether it was the right approach.
Paltrow answered, "I don't know. These social media tools are so new. It's trial and error for me. You can have both – a life on social media and a protected life. That balance is achievable."