Gwyneth Paltrow has defended her infamous vagina-scented candle in a series of Q&A videos on her Instagram, where she described the Goop product as a “feminist statement”.
The Goop founder doubled down on support for her controversial yet popular product in a series of now-expired videos on her Instagram Stories on Wednesday. In the videos, she said that she created the “This Smells Like My Vagina” scented candle because she wanted to send out “a really strong feminist statement”. At the time, the viral candle sold out on the Goop website, but Paltrow revealed that the company no longer sells the product.
In a video of the Q&A reshared on TikTok by Access Hollywood, Paltrow, 50, said: “So many women have been raised, at least in my generation, to think there’s something wrong with themselves or that the vagina is weird or gross or something to be ashamed of and so the candle is supposed to be a very strong punk-rock kind of f*** you to anyone who ever made us feel like that.”
Smelling of geranium, citrusy bergamot and “cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed,” Paltrow clarified that the viral candle was not meant to “actually smell like anyone’s vagina” and “that was the point”.
“... People tried to make it about something else, which is kind of a shame because it was really meant to be this strong feminist statement,” she remarked on the backlash. “But we no longer make the candle.”
Paltrow’s words are in line with a previous statement she made on Today, in which she maintained that the candle was meant to spark conversation rather than become a lightning rod of controversy. At the time, she told Today co-host Willie Geist, "This candle is really like that provocation to say, like: ‘It’s amazing to be a woman in every way. It’s amazing to have that kind of power and you deserve to have that agency.’”
She revealed the origin story of the product during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, telling the SNL alum: “I was with the [perfumer] Douglas Little for his brand Heretic and we were kind of messing around and I smelled this beautiful thing and was like: ‘This smells like my vagina!’”
"And I was kidding obviously. And we were on mushrooms - no, no we weren’t on mushrooms,” she joked. The product proved so popular for Goop that Paltrow followed up with more provocatively-named candles, such as “This Smells Like My Orgasm” and “Hands Off My Vagina,” with the latter released last year in collaboration with the ACLU in honour of the 49th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court case, which was overturned that same year.
Paltrow has almost entirely moved away from acting to focus on her wellness endeavours with her lifestyle company Goop, taking on a CEO role in 2016. She told Today that she has fully integrated herself within her role and doesn’t miss acting, saying: “I really don’t miss it all. I think I’m so lucky that I got to do it, and I’m sure I still will at some point.”
She added, “The team is always trying to get me to do a movie, but I really love what I do and I love how immediate it is and how … we’re able to create product out of thin air that we believe in so much.”