What it’s really like to work for Gwyneth Paltrow? The Goop Lab co-host Elise Loehnen knows the answer to that

What it’s really like to work for Gwyneth Paltrow? The Goop Lab co-host Elise Loehnen knows the answer to that

As Netflix brings The Goop Lab into our lives co-host Elise Loehnen tells us Goop’s secret for success and reveals what’s coming next after that vagina candle…

The Goop Lab

It’s been 11 years since Gwyneth Paltrow launched Goop, her wellness and lifestyle company, starting out as a weekly e-mail newsletter providing new age advice, such as ‘police your thoughts’ and ‘eliminate white foods’. The A-lister turned CEO was mocked for her alternative views, but has since proved critics wrong. Today, the brand has a cult following and covers everything from books, beauty, candles (‘This Smells Like My Vagina‘ candle launched in early January 2020, immediately sold out and will be restocked on January 25), fashion, food and annual wellness summits (think panel talks, yoga classes and sound baths). Now with Paltrow’s six-episode Netflix series, The Goop Lab hitting Netflix from Friday, 24 January, Elise Loehnen, Goop‘s Chief Content Officer and co-host of the show talks to Olivia Adams about psychedelic drugs, self-care and Goopy misconceptions.

How did you get the job at Goop? 

I was a magazine editor in New York for a long period of time. It was clear the industry was heading to a digital era, so I moved to Los Angeles to create editorial for an Internet shopping comparison search engine. I wanted to learn about the Internet, as I didn’t feel at all equipped to meet the future. I learnt so much – like what people using the Internet respond to – but after a while I missed working on a brand. And it was there that I realised how hard it is to build a brand – it’s much simpler to create a business on the back of one.

Throughout my career I have co-written books, and I began working on one for Tracy Anderson. Gwyneth owned part of her studio business, and I had also agreed to write copy for the fitness class descriptions. I had a phone call with Gwyneth to discuss the content and I thought it was crazy that she was on the phone with me! I was taken with her level of dedication and interest to the studio. When she moved back to Los Angeles from London, I met her in person to talk about scaling Goop‘s content.

Were you already a fan of the brand?

I thought it was bold and interesting and I found it incredible what she had built off a not very technologically advanced site. Goop was only a couple of years old, but it had captured peoples’ attention and I saw potential.

When I went to her home for the chat, we sat on this incredible rug on the floor. I’m not sure why we did this, but I was relieved because I’d had a baby a few months ago and didn’t fit into any of my clothes, so I decided to focus on my shoes. I had an idea of what she was going to be like and thought she would judge me – of course that was not my experience at all. But it was a shoes-off house, so I had to abandon the main point of my outfit, but I hadn’t had a pedicure so I was relieved to sit on the floor and hide my feet. A couple of months later, when it became clear that we were aligned in how we thought, I joined the brand.

Courtesy of Goop

What is the secret to Goop’s success? 

It’s easy for people to say a celebrity brand’s success is because they are famous, but the reality is tonnes of celebrity brands have failed. Yes, it’s easier to get attention, but getting people to commit to you and take action on your suggestions is another level of engagement. Goop‘s unique perspective on the world is the secret. It has become quite iconic.

Critics have said the show is ‘designed to shock’ – is that a fair observation?

[Laughs] Yes. There is content in the show that will be very surprising to people who have never really encountered Goop. Equally I think people will wonder why Goop is sometimes labelled controversial, because there are respected experts and doctors and scientists on the show. We explore things we don’t yet know about or understand, but we make clear that we don’t know.

Are there potentially harmful therapies being performed?

No, not harmful, just experiences – like energy healing – that we don’t necessarily understand why they work yet. Before Reiki became more mainstream it was scrutinised, but now it used as a therapy to heal in some hospitals in Los Angeles.

 You play a large role in the show. Is there a particularly memorable activity or moment that has stayed with you?

Doing psychedelic drugs on camera was definitely a first for me. I did mushrooms in Jamaica with some other members of the Goop team. That episode is the closest to my heart, not just because of the vulnerability we express, but because psychedelics show a tremendous amount of promise in the treatment of PTSD, and there is so much mental illness around the world. The idea that something could be available to dramatically positively impact people is poignant.

What is Gwyneth like as a boss? 

I’ve learned so much from her. She didn’t grow up in a corporate culture, so never inherited bad habits – for example ‘I never had this growing up, so you can’t have this’. We have a ‘straight speaking’ culture. Instead of talking behind each other’s backs and venting, we have to go to the person directly, regardless of where they are – above or below – in the company, and express yourself to them. By listening generously it means you have the intent of having your mind changed. It’s our method for dealing with conflict and that’s how we grow, get better and stay healthy as an organisation.

Courtesy of Goop

Do you always agree with Gwyneth – or has there been a clash over thoughts on anything from a therapy to a product?
[Laughs] There are times when we say, ‘I don’t know if the world is ready for that’, but her curiosity is one of her defining qualities. I have never known her to reject something outright, but she pushes to make it more distinctly Goop. She’s an incredible role model for women. She’s resilient to people who want her to stop talking. She’s so brave and continues to stand up for what she believes in. She has a fearlessness we all really need in these times.

Goop first started as an insight into Gwyneth’s routine, what is a typical day-in-the-life like now?

She’s really good at taking care of herself. She doesn’t say, ‘I can eat whatever I want’. She puts in the work at the gym. And she’s maintained this attitude, despite the growing needs of the brand. I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum – I have two young kids, so I am not a paragon of self-care as much as I would like to be. But we both do our best. It’s not about perfection; no one can do everything perfectly.

What is your can’t-live-without Goop product?

That’s easy. The GoopGlow glycolic overnight glow peel [£112.00]. I use them once a week and my skin adores them. They’ve replaced facials for me – which I don’t really have time to get anyway!

Courtesy of Goop

The majority of Goop’s products are expensive – would you consider making them more affordable? 

The hope is that as the business grows, our prices can meet that, as ingredients become more widely available. But we use really expensive, clean and high quality products. Gwyneth loves beautiful things, and we don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the product and include any ingredients that could become harmful to health.

What is the biggest misconception about Goop?

Being defined by the media as ‘funny’ or ‘crazy’ works to our benefit, as people then come to the site to check it out. Then they learn Goop‘s content isn’t outlandish, it’s actually reasonable and makes a tonne of sense. I hope this is the same with people tuning in to the show and it resonates with them.

The Netflix series is the focus for now, but what’s next on Goop’s radar?

We’re interested in strengthening our role in the category of TV. Hopefully it’s the first of many TV shows.

All episodes of The Goop Lab will be available to watch on Netflix from Friday January 24 


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Meghan has shared behind-the-scenes photos of her charity work

Meghan has shared behind-the-scenes photos of her charity work

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Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / Contributor / Getty

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s unprecedented decision to step back from their roles as senior royals has caused shockwaves across the globe. There were reports that the Queen was unaware of the move as a result of courtiers blocking her grandson from seeing her beforehand, ‘crisis’ talks between the monarch, Prince Philip, Prince William and Harry, and finally statements from Buckingham Palace and Harry himself revealing how they all intend to move forward.

While they have lost their HRH titles, in January 2019 it was announced that Meghan was appointed patron of the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and Smart Works.

She also represents The Mayhew, an animal re-homing charity. It is a cause close to Meghan’s heart, and she has two rescue dogs – Guy, and a black Labrador believed to be the dog that Harry and Meghan adopted together.

This week, Meghan decided to share behind-the-scenes photos of her recent trip to The Mayhew, and the visit wasn’t previously reported on.

Alongside photos of the Duchess at the centre, the caption reads: ‘Earlier this month, The Duchess of Sussex popped in to see the amazing people at Mayhew to hear about the incredible progress made throughout the festive period.

‘The Duchess of Sussex, having been proud patron of Mayhew since January 2019 and long understanding the connection between animal and community welfare, applauds the people at Mayhew for the vital work that they do every day.

‘From cats and dogs who have found new homes to animal welfare cases handled in the community – @TheMayhew believes in the power of togetherness and the special bond between humans and animals.’

Meghan was also spotted at a women’s shelter in Canada recently. According to reports, she made a surprise visit to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver to ‘offer support’ and to ‘boost the staff’s spirits’.

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Here are all the winners from last night's starry Critic's Choice awards

Here are all the winners from last night's starry Critic's Choice awards

The 25th annual Critic’s Choice Awards took place last night in California, with big wins for Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Getty Images

Words by Kate McCusker

Following on from last week’s Golden Globes, the awards are seen as an indicator of who might win big at the Oscars, whose nominees are due to be announced later this afternoon.

This year’s star-studded ceremony, hosted by Taye Diggs, saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood take home the most coveted prize for best picture. The Quentin Tarantino film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie proved the star of the evening, winning Brad Pitt the award for best actor, best original screenplay for Quentin Tarantino and best production design for the film’s Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge continued her awards season winning streak, taking home best actress in a comedy series. The show also scooped the overall award for best comedy series, and our favourite gin-swigging “hot priest” Andrew Scott took home the prize for best actor in a comedy series. When accepting her award,  Waller-Bridge laughingly admitted her shock  at the success of a character ‘who literally looks into the camera and says, “Fuck me up the arse.’” She joked to the audience: ‘Thank you for getting behind that.’

Renee Zellweger, thought to be a forerunner in the Oscars race, took home the best actress award for her portrayal of a down-on-her-luck Judy Garland playing her last shows in biopic Judy, released earlier this year.

Meanwhile Joaquin Phoenix took home the prize in the best actor category for his popular portrayal of a disaffected loner in Joker.

It also proved a successful night for streaming service Netflix, who bagged awards for The Irishman, Marriage Story and  When They See Us.

In an unusual twist, the coveted best director prize was awarded to two directors: Parasite‘s Bong Joon-ho and 1917‘s Sam Mendes,  after it was announced voters in the Los Angeles-based Broadcast Film Critics Association could not decide between them.

Margot Robbie, Jenifer Lewis, and Allison Janney attend the Critic’s Choice Awards.

See below the full list of winners and nominees.


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (WINNER)
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Uncut Gems

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (WINNER)
Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
Robert De Niro – The Irishman
Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

Renée Zellweger – Judy (WINNER)
Awkwafina – The Farewell
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (WINNER)
Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
Al Pacino – The Irishman
Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Laura Dern – Marriage Story (WINNER)
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Florence Pugh – Little Women
Margot Robbie – Bombshell
Zhao Shuzhen  – The Farewell

Roman Griffin Davis – Jojo Rabbit (WINNER)
Julia Butters – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Noah Jupe – Honey Boy
Thomasin McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit
Shahadi Wright Joseph – Us
Archie Yates – Jojo Rabbit

The Irishman (WINNER)
Knives Out
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Sam Mendes – 1917 (WINNER – TIE)
Bong Joon Ho – Parasite (WINNER – TIE)
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Greta Gerwig – Little Women
Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (WINNER)
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Rian Johnson – Knives Out
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won – Parasite
Lulu Wang – The Farewel

Greta Gerwig – lLittle Women (WINNER)
Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver – Joker
Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit
Steven Zaillian  – The Irishman

Roger Deakins – 1917 (WINNER)
Jarin Blaschke – The Lighthouse
Phedon Papamichael   – Ford v Ferrari
Rodrigo Prieto – The Irishman
Robert Richardson – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Lawrence Sher – Joker

Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (WINNER)
Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran – Joker
Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales  – 1917
Jess Gonchor, Claire Kaufman – Little Women
Lee Ha Jun – Parasite
Bob Shaw, Regina Graves – The Irishman
Donal Woods, Gina Cromwell – Downton Abbey

Lee Smith – 1917 (WINNER)
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems
Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker – Ford v Ferrari
Yang Jinmo  – Parasite
Fred Raskin – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Thelma Schoonmaker – The Irishman

Ruth E. Carter – Dolemite Is My Name (WINNER)
Julian Day – Rocketman
Jacqueline Durran – Little Women
Arianne Phillips – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson – The Irishman
Anna Robbins – Downton Abbey

Bombshell (WINNER)
Dolemite Is My Name
The Irishman
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Avengers: Endgame (WINNER)
Ad Astra
The Aeronauts
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
The Lion King

Toy Story 4 (WINNER)
Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link

Avengers: Endgame (WINNER)
Ford v Ferrari
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Spider-Man: Far From Home

Dolemite Is My Name (WINNER)
The Farewell
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out

Ad Astra
Avengers: Endgame

Parasite (WINNER)
Les Misérables
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Glasgow (No Place Like Home) – Wild Rose (WINNER – TIE)
(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman (WINNER – TIE)
I’m Standing With You – Breakthrough
Into the Unknown – Frozen II
Speechless – Aladdin
Spirit – The Lion King
Stand Up – Harriet

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker (WINNER)
Michael Abels – Us
Alexandre Desplat   – Little Women
Randy Newman – Marriage Story
Thomas Newman  – 1917
Robbie Robertson – The Irishman


Succession (HBO) (WINNER)
The Crown (Netflix)
David Makes Man (OWN)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Pose (FX)
This Is Us (NBC)
Watchmen (HBO)

Jeremy Strong – Succession (HBO) (WINNER)
Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)
Mike Colter – Evil (CBS)
Paul Giamatti – Billions (Showtime)
Kit Harington – Game of Throne (HBO)
Freddie Highmore – The Good Doctor (ABC)
Tobias Menzies – The Crown (Netflix)
Billy Porter – Pose (FX)

Regina King – Watchmen (HBO) (WINNER)
Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Olivia Colman – The Crown (Netflix)
Jodie Comer – Killing Eve (BBC America)
Nicole Kidman – Big Little Lies (HBO)
Mj Rodriguez – Pose (FX)
Sarah Snook – Succession (HBO)
Zendaya – Euphoria (HBO)

Billy Crudup – The Morning Show (Apple) (WINNER)
Asante Blackk – This Is Us (NBC)
Asia Kate Dillon – Billions (Showtime)
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)
Delroy Lindo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Tim Blake Nelson – Watchmen (HBO)

Jean Smart – Watchmen (HBO) (WINNER)
Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown (Netflix)
Gwendoline Christie – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Laura Dern – Big Little Lies (HBO)
Audra McDonald – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies (HBO)
Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

Fleabag (Amazon) (WINNER)
Barry (HBO)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Mom (CBS)
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Pen15 (Hulu)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Bill Hader – Barry (HBO) (WINNER)
Ted Danson – The Good Place (NBC)
Walton Goggins – The Unicorn (CBS)
Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Paul Rudd – Living with Yourself (Netflix)
Bashir Salahuddin – Sherman’s Showcase (IFC)
Ramy Youssef – Ramy (Hulu)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag (Amazon) (WINNER)
Christina Applegate – Dead to Me (Netflix)
Alison Brie – GLOW (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Kirsten Dunst – On Becoming a God in Central Florida (Showtime)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep (HBO)
Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek

Andrew Scott – Fleabag (Amazon) (WINNER)
Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)
Anthony Carrigan – Barry (HBO)
William Jackson Harper – The Good Place (NBC)
Daniel Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Nico Santos – Superstore (NBC)
Henry Winkler – Barry (HBO)

Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) (WINNER)
D’Arcy Carden – The Good Place (NBC)
Sian Clifford – Fleabag (Amazon)
Betty Gilpin – GLOW (Netflix)
Rita Moreno – One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Molly Shannon – The Other Two (Comedy Central)

When They See Us (Netflix) (WINNER)
Catch-22 (Hulu)
Chernobyl (HBO)
Fosse/Verdon (FX)
The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
Unbelievable (Netflix)
Years and Years (HBO)

Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us (Netflix) (WINNER)
Christopher Abbott – Catch-22 (Hulu)
Mahershala Ali – True Detective (HBO)
Russell Crowe – The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
Jared Harris – Chernobyl (HBO)
Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon(FX)
Noah Wyle – The Red Line (CBS)

Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon (FX) (WINNER)
Kaitlyn Dever – Unbelievable (Netflix)
Anne Hathaway – Modern Love (Amazon)
Megan Hilty – Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)
Joey King – The Act (Hulu)
Jessie Mueller – Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)
Merritt Wever – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Stellan Skarsgård – Chernobyl (HBO) (WINNER)
Asante Blackk – When They See Us (Netflix)
George Clooney – Catch-22 (Hulu)
John Leguizamo – When They See Us (Netflix)
Dev Patel –Modern Love (Amazon)
Jesse Plemons – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)
Russell Tovey – Years and Years (HBO)

Toni Collette – Unbelievable (Netflix) (WINNER)
Patricia Arquette – The Act (Hulu)
Marsha Stephanie Blake – When They See Us (Netflix)
Niecy Nash – When They See Us (Netflix)
Margaret Qualley – Fosse/Verdon (FX)
Emma Thompson – Years and Years (HBO)
Emily Watson – Chernobyl (HBO)

BoJack Horseman (Netflix) (WINNER)
Big Mouth (Netflix)
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)
The Simpsons (Fox)
Undone (Amazon)

The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS) (WINNER – TIE)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC) (WINNER – TIE)

Desus & Mero (Showtime)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ (ABC) (WINNER)
Amy Schumer: Growing (Netflix)
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright (Netflix)
Ramy Youssef: Feelings (HBO)
Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby (Netflix)
Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (Netflix)
Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (Netflix)

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Mark your calendars, Potterheads – the biggest Harry Potter shop in the world opens this year

Mark your calendars, Potterheads – the biggest Harry Potter shop in the world opens this year

But there’s a catch…

It may have been 12 years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published, and almost a decade since the release of the last movie, but we’re still very much obsessed with the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Studies have even shown that you’re probably a nice person if you read the Harry Potter books. Of course.

Well, mark your calendars, Potterheads, as a brand new, magical flagship store is opening later this year – and we couldn’t be more excited at the thought.

According to a press release, the 20,000 square feet, three-storey shop will open in summer 2020 and will play home to the biggest collection of wizarding merchandise, from personalised robes to Bertie Bott’s beans. Hurrah!

‘This will be the largest dedicated Harry Potter store in the world and will become a must-visit fan destination where Harry Potter enthusiasts can engage with interactive experiences and numerous photo opportunities as they step into the magic,’ explained Sarah Roots, SVP of Worldwide Tours and Retail at Warner Bros.

There is one small hitch, however – the store will be on Broadway, New York, so you’ll have to fly halfway across the world to get there.

Still, there’s no better excuse for a trip to the big apple, amiright? At least the Studios tour in Watford is easier to get to…

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Mika Simmons on getting Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood and Tanya Reynolds talking on her new podcast The Happy Vagina

Mika Simmons on getting Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood and Tanya Reynolds talking on her new podcast The Happy Vagina

Get ready to talk vaginas, bodies, periods, sex and getting tested

The Happy Vagina

Mika Simmons is one busy lady. The film maker, actress and founder of women’s health charity The Lady Garden Foundation has turned podcast host, with her first offering affectionately named The Happy Vagina. In a world where the word ‘vagina’ can feel taboo or make some feel uncomfortable, The Happy Vagina Podcast opens up a dialogue about fundamental issues around women’s experiences and gynaecological health – and we’re totally here for it.

What is your intention for the podcast?

To be fun and entertaining for listeners, but also educational, and not just a chat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a chat podcast, but I wanted this one to have a focus around women’s health – and a point to being recorded.

When did the idea come to you?

For International Women’s Day last year I hosted a panel event called, ‘how to make your vagina happy’. The event completely sold out, showing to me a desire for the conversation. And so, following founding The Lady Garden Foundation in 2013, the podcast felt like a natural progression to do.

Tell us about the guests we can expect…

I’ve gone for a variety of women across all generations and who have something to say. From Loose Women’s Andrea McLean, who is post-menopausal, to the young cast of Netflix’s Sex Education. 

The Happy Vagina

Sex Education stars Aimee Lou Wood and Tanya Reynolds are your first guests on episode one. How did it go?! 

I’ll admit, I felt a minor degree of nervousness ahead of interviewing them, because they had an intimacy therapist on set – and I thought they might think my questions were stupid! But they were amazing; I loved hearing their ideas on what sex education in schools should be, and what it was like filming sex scenes on set.

Are you a fan of the show?
I love it. Setting the show in a school was really clever, because it reminds you of your school time. My school years were equally as difficult, in terms of finding out who you are and what you like, when it comes to friendships and sex.

Why do you think the word vagina is still taboo, and can make people feel uncomfortable?

The vagina is connected to sex, and for some reason it’s difficult for us to separate the anatomy and what we can do with it, in terms in pleasure. They’ve become entwined and we forget that we have to look after our health above the shame around sex.

Why do you think there is shame around sex?

I think it comes from religion. Sex has been seen as a sin as far back as the days of Adam and Eve.

How would you summarise your relationship with your body?

It’s changed dramatically over time. It’s been a life’s work to be completely at peace with it, and I am now. As an actress, the pressure I got put under to be thin didn’t have the best effect on my health, or my mental health. I think Instagram is one of the most amazing creations, purely because it’s been a game changer in allowing different shapes and sizes of men and women’s bodies to be shown. The media had control and Instagram changed that. Now, we control our own images. We no longer compare and despair.

Have you ever felt pressure to conform to society, when it comes to marriage?

No. When I was growing up, my mother was part of a feminist movement. Getting married just wasn’t a conversation in our family house. It wasn’t a route or a focus. It was a huge gift to have a mother who was so liberal and open minded. That said, I haven’t been married and I would quite like to.

Is having children on your radar?

I’m almost definitely not going to have children, and I can’t stand the pressure that we all get put under by society. I’m in my forties now and there’s this belief that there is something wrong with you if you haven’t had children. Change needs to happen – it doesn’t mean women are not whole if they haven’t had children.

You founded the Lady Garden Foundation in honour of your mum, who died from ovarian cancer aged 54, and to raise awareness about gynaecological cancers. Did you ever expect the charity to become so successful?

It’s always scary starting a project, but I believed in it, I wanted to save lives, and the timing was right. That, and my friend and co-founder Chloe Delevingne getting Cara to post on social media helped [laughs]!

 Any final words of wisdom for us?

Ladies, you can go for a smear test even if you haven’t had a Brazilian, and you’ve got hairy legs [laughs]. But seriously, there is a bit of an epidemic with women not going for smear tests, and people genuinely cancel because they haven’t shaved. This is about your future health. And it’s not just cervical cancer; a smear test is not a check for all gynae cancers. Get to know your body and your cycle. There are amazing apps that monitor it, and then you’ll really to recognise if something is wrong.

Did you know?

Mika reveals three things she’s learned about the vagina that she didn’t know before recording the podcast… 
  • Our clitoris and G spot are actually the same thing – the nerves at the back of the Clitoris are the G Spot! I hope this fact will make it easier for listeners to find…
  • Sleeping with a nightlight on can help regulate our menstrual cycles. Light exposure affects the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps control the release of the female reproductive hormones that determine when your menstrual cycle begins and ends.
  • In medieval times, it was thought that female orgasm was necessary for reproduction. It came from the mistaken belief that female genitals are the same as male and, therefore, women have to orgasm to produce a baby. Actually – the truth is, its not a prerequisite – but it can help!

The Happy Vagina episodes can be found at thehappyvagina.co

The post Mika Simmons on getting Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood and Tanya Reynolds talking on her new podcast The Happy Vagina appeared first on Marie Claire.

The Love Island winter cast is here and we're all over it

The Love Island winter cast is here and we're all over it

As the nation settles into a month of sobriety and London’s weather declines ever further into a cloud of grey smog, it’s about time we were all given something to look forward to at the end of a long shift in the office. Cue, Love Island Winter edition. 

With the return of bubbling romance – and dare we say it, cattiness and heartbreak – this new season is promising to be “the hottest one yet.” Be prepared for the show’s first ever set of twins, a celeb’s sister and a whole lot more abs, tans and half naked bodies.

The show goes live January 12th.

Here’s a full list of this year’s gang:

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Elizabeth Day on being broody and battling her dislike for Boris Johnson

Elizabeth Day on being broody and battling her dislike for Boris Johnson

Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day – the podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right – but teach us how to succeed better – fits perfectly with our 2020 #happyyouyear campaign, encouraging a focus on self-love over self-improvement. We’re thrilled the podcast had five million downloads last year. Did you ever imagine it would be such a huge success? 

Not at all. And I am aware of the irony of a book and a podcast about failure becoming the most successful things I’ve ever done [laughs]. The podcast basically started as a result of me being dumped three weeks before my 39th birthday. I felt like a failure because during the decade of my 30s I had got married and divorced, I had tried and failed to have children using IVF, and then this new relationship had ended. I started having conversations with my friends and I realised that from all the toughness of that decade, I had ended up learning something of use. That’s how the idea of ‘How To Fail’ was born. I thought it would be great to open the conversation to a wider audience, but it was definitely a small passion project for me. As thousands began listening I realised we were all desperate for this kind of conversation.

How do your men and women interviewees differ when it comes to perceiving failure? 

When I first started the podcast in July 2018, the men I approached would say to me, ‘I’m not sure I’m right for this because I’m not sure that I have failed.’ And generally speaking, the women would say, ‘I’ve failed so much that I can’t whittle it down to three.’ This wasn’t the men being arrogant, they had just been taught to believe that if you are white, middle class and privileged, if something goes wrong in your life you don’t take it as a verdict of personal failure, you take it as an obstacle to overcome on the path to your eventual route to success. Whereas women internalise and take failure personally.

Do you ever say no to people who approach you to come on the podcast?

Yes – I often receive generic pitches, rather than an extraordinary, relatable or personal story. Some people email me saying, for example, ‘Hello, my name is Kevin. I am 57 from Lancashire and I am running a marathon and I will be willing to share my story with you’. There are a lot of men thinking they’d be really great guests and I would be lucky to have them on. So yes, I am selective.

Out of all your guests so far, who surprised you with what they had to say?

Fearne Cotton, because she decided to use How To Fail as the space in which she was going to talk for the first time about the fact that she had lived with bulimia for much of her twenties. I think it was a perfect example of someone who was made stronger by sharing the time in their life when they had felt shame. Camilla Thurlow, a former Love Island contestant, was also phenomenally articulate about living with severe anxiety. After, someone came up to me in Sainsbury’s to say her explanation of anxiety helped them share their feelings with their family.

Who is on your wish list to interview?

Michelle Obama. She is calm, insightful, wise – and such an incredible role model. Ariana Grande, because she champions female strength, and has dealt with tragedies including the Manchester bombing and the death of an ex-boyfriend. Finally, Stormzy, because he is smart and has interesting things to say about mental health.

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Fearne Cotton blazed the trail for podcasts like mine. When she launched Happy Place in March 2018, it went straight to the top of the iTunes chart and has seemingly stayed there ever since. It has done so much to bring discussions about mental health into the mainstream, partly because Fearne has also been honest about her own experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. When I started How To Fail in July 2018, I always knew Fearne would be top of my list of dream guests. A few months later, we ended up sitting next to each other at the British Podcast Awards (spoiler alert: neither of us won but embarrassingly, we both presented awards to other winners) and having a good old natter and then I was sent to interview her for @youmagazine and we got on so well that we hatched the idea of doing each other's podcasts and now HERE WE ARE. What makes Fearne so special is not just her impressive broadcasting career or her bestselling books. No, it's that she is unafraid to be honest. She believes, as I do, that true strength comes from true vulnerability. Fearne joins me to talk about failing most of her GCSEs, a failed engagement and, in one of the most powerful passages of any interview I've ever had the privilege of doing, about her failure to be herself in her 20s and how she lived with an eating disorder for years – and how she recovered. This is the first time she has ever spoken about it, and I am so grateful that Fearne felt this was a safe enough space to bare her beautiful soul. Thank you, Fearne. Your words and your courage will help a great many people. Also thanks for carrying on recording despite taking 587 deliveries while this interview was happening. Listen wherever you get your podcasts. Link in bio! ——————————————————— This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is sponsored by @sweatybetty who are offering all listeners 20% full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL at checkout. ——————————————————— #howtofail #howtofailwithelizabethday #writersofinstagram #fearnecotton #mentalhealth #podcast #interview #failure #success #wednesdaywisdom #inspo #eatingdisorderrecovery #sweatybetty #discountcodes #happyplace

A post shared by Elizabeth Day (@elizabday) on Nov 5, 2019 at 11:40pm PST

You have been incredibly honest about your ‘failure’, when it comes to marriage and becoming a mother. Would you be open to marrying again?

I would be massively open to it. I am an incurable optimist in the sense that I always have hope in life. Just because my first marriage went wrong it has in no way put me off the idea of it.

Would you still like to have a child?

I would. I feel jealous of women and men who don’t have to consider medical possibilities; who just have straightforward pregnancies and live in blissful ignorance of the trauma that a lot of people go through. I do see myself as a mother, but I also know that my life will be full and happy if I’m not, because I am lucky that my partner has three children and I have 10 godchildren and two nieces. If I don’t become a mother, maybe I can be part of a pioneering generation that reframes what a woman’s role in society is.

Is there a question you wish you were asked more?

I wish I got asked more about politics, because I’ve got so much to say!

That works for us – what are your thoughts on Boris Johnson and the Conservative party leading the country this year?

I have an issue with a Prime Minister who has had a record of lying, a record of casual racism in his newspaper columns, a record of slightly ambiguous dealings with women and who doesn’t publicly acknowledge how many children he has. Having said that, I really hope he proves me wrong and does a great job, because I worry about ordinary people who are facing a really difficult economic time. Meanwhile, the independently wealthy Prime Minister will not be touched by the economic devastation that I believe Brexit is going to bring.

Who did you vote for?

I voted Lib Dem. I couldn’t get my head around the ugly stream of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

You’re good friends with epic scriptwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Would you ever put pen to paper in this way?

It is not an interest of mine. I think scriptwriting is a really different skill to writing a book.

Do you have plans to release another book?

I do – I’m actually working on two at the moment. One is an accompanying book to How To Fail, called Failosophy, which covers the seven principles of failure that I developed during my book tour. This will be a very practical but inspirational book – released in autumn this year – with lots of quotes and advice from people who have been on my podcast. I am also writing a new novel, which I hope will come out in spring 2021.

Finally, do you enjoy social media and how it’s such a huge part of our lives now?

I enjoy using Instagram, but I keep perspective. I know that people aren’t necessarily portraying everything going on in their lives, and why should they? I choose not to post about the times I’m crying in the bath! One of my top tips on navigating our way through the social media forest is to curate who you follow. Only follow people who inspire, amuse, stimulate you or make you feel supported. Everyone else? Mute them.

courtesy of Harper Collins

How To Fail is now available to purchase in paperback from all good bookstores 


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The 2020 BAFTA nominations are in and they are dividing the public

The 2020 BAFTA nominations are in and they are dividing the public

Here’s everything you need to know…

Getty Images

With the Golden Globes behind us, award season has officially begun.

The next few months promise a lot of red carpet political statements, inspiring speeches and of course some Hollywood glamour.

But while the Golden Globes was just days ago, the most talked-about award ceremony this week is the BAFTAs, with the 2020 nominations revealed today.

Spoiler alert – they are pretty divisive.

From Greta Gerwig receiving yet another Best Director snub (have the judges not seen Little Women?!) to Margot Robbie pitted against herself in the Best Supporting Actress category, it has been making non-stop news.

Here are the 2020 BAFTA nominations…


1917 Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Jayne-Ann Tenggren
THE IRISHMAN Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
JOKER Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino
PARASITE Bong Joon-ho, Kwak Sin-ae


1917 Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
BAIT Mark Jenkin, Kate Byers, Linn Waite
FOR SAMA Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
ROCKETMAN Dexter Fletcher, Adam Bohling, David Furnish, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn, Lee Hall
SORRY WE MISSED YOU Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
THE TWO POPES Fernando Meirelles, Jonathan Eirich, Dan Lin, Tracey Seaward, Anthony McCarten


BAIT Mark Jenkin (Writer/Director), Kate Byers, Linn Waite (Producers)
FOR SAMA Waad al-Kateab (Director/Producer), Edward Watts (Director)
MAIDEN Alex Holmes (Director)
ONLY YOU Harry Wootliff (Writer/Director)
RETABLO Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio (Writer/Director)1


THE FAREWELL Lulu Wang, Daniele Melia
FOR SAMA Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
PAIN AND GLORY Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
PARASITE Bong Joon-ho
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE Céline Sciamma, Bénédicte Couvreur


AMERICAN FACTORY Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
APOLLO 11 Todd Douglas Miller
FOR SAMA Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
THE GREAT HACK Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim


FROZEN 2 Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho
KLAUS Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh
A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON Will Becher, Richard Phelan, Paul Kewley
TOY STORY 4 Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen


1917 Sam Mendes
THE IRISHMAN Martin Scorsese
JOKER Todd Phillips
PARASITE Bong Joon-ho


BOOKSMART Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
KNIVES OUT Rian Johnson
PARASITE Han Jin Won, Bong Joon-ho


THE IRISHMAN Steven Zaillian
JOJO RABBIT Taika Waititi
JOKER Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
THE TWO POPES Anthony McCarten




LEONARDO DICAPRIO Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
ADAM DRIVER Marriage Story


LAURA DERN Marriage Story
MARGOT ROBBIE Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood


TOM HANKS A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
AL PACINO The Irishman
JOE PESCI The Irishman
BRAD PITT Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood


1917 Thomas Newman
JOJO RABBIT Michael Giacchino
JOKER Hildur Guđnadóttir
LITTLE WOMEN Alexandre Desplat


JOKER Shayna Markowitz
MARRIAGE STORY Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler


1917 Roger Deakins
THE IRISHMAN Rodrigo Prieto
JOKER Lawrence Sher
LE MANS ’66 Phedon Papamichael


THE IRISHMAN Thelma Schoonmaker
JOKER Jeff Groth
LE MANS ’66 Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker


1917 Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales
THE IRISHMAN Bob Shaw, Regina Graves
JOJO RABBIT Ra Vincent, Nora Sopková
JOKER Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh


THE IRISHMAN Christopher Peterson, Sandy Powell
JOJO RABBIT Mayes C. Rubeo
JUDY Jany Temime
LITTLE WOMEN Jacqueline Durran


1917 Naomi Donne
BOMBSHELL Vivian Baker, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan
JOKER Kay Georgiou, Nicki Ledermann
JUDY Jeremy Woodhead
ROCKETMAN Lizzie Yianni Georgiou


1917 Scott Millan, Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate, Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson
JOKER Tod Maitland, Alan Robert Murray, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic
LE MANS ’66 David Giammarco, Paul Massey, Steven A. Morrow, Donald Sylvester
ROCKETMAN Matthew Collinge, John Hayes, Mike Prestwood Smith, Danny Sheehan
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood


1917 Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron, Dominic Tuohy
AVENGERS: ENDGAME Dan Deleeuw, Dan Sudick
THE IRISHMAN Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, Pablo Helman
THE LION KING Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Elliot Newman, Adam Valdez
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan, Dominic Tuohy


IN HER BOOTS Kathrin Steinbacher
THE MAGIC BOAT Naaman Azhari, Lilia Laurel


AZAAR Myriam Raja, Nathanael Baring
GOLDFISH Hector Dockrill, Harri Kamalanathan, Benedict Turnbull, Laura Dockrill
KAMALI Sasha Rainbow, Rosalind Croad
THE TRAP Lena Headey, Anthony Fitzgerald



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Bafta snubs Little Women's Greta Gerwig for Best Director, what a surprise

Bafta snubs Little Women's Greta Gerwig for Best Director, what a surprise

Just another list of all-male nominees for an awards ceremony

greta gerwig bafta
Getty Images

One thing I think we can all agree on – Little Women and Bafta have opposite views on men. The book and film sees males in a dim light, while Bafta observes them as an almighty and superior gender.

I’ve barely come to terms with the Golden Globes handing Sam Mendes the gong for Best Director – from a lush list of all-male nominees – on Sunday. Today, nominations for the 73rd British Academy Film Awards have been announced, and we are forced to digest Bafta’s Best Director shortlist, which snubs the wonderfully talented Greta Gerwig for her role reimagining 1868 classic novel Little Women.

Why is she missing from the line-up? Well, Bafta has defended its decision, with deputy chairman Krishnendu Majumdar pointing out Greta could still be a winner in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, as she wrote Little Women as well as directing it.

But Greta has been overlooked in the Best Director category – and this a repeated problem in the entertainment industry.

Instead, the five directors on the shortlist are Sam Mendes (for 1917), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Todd Phillips (Joker), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood) and Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite).

Greta Gerwig bafta

Greta Gerwig attended the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards but was left off the Best Director nominees list (Getty Images)

The movie is the eighth feature film adaptation of the period novel, which follows the four feisty March sisters – Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth – as they navigate life into adulthood.

Little Women scored just two Golden Globe nominations  – one for Best Actress, one for Best Original Score, nothing for Greta – and left with zero. When it comes to Bafta, Little Women has picked up nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Florence Pugh), Best Score and Best Costume Design.
We’re in 2020 and blatant sexism is still rife in the film industry. Greta’s omission will make a mockery of the ceremony, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 2 February. What a truly astonishing oversight.


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#happyYOUyear: 5 podcasts to help you love yourself in 2020

#happyYOUyear: 5 podcasts to help you love yourself in 2020

We’re tuning in…

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2020 marks a new year, with our #happyYOUyear campaign encouraging a focus on self-love over self-improvement.

There’s no better way to practice self-care than through a podcast, and with a commute to and from work to tune in, there’s no better time. But which podcast should you opt for?

Here are 5 podcasts to help you love yourself in 2020…

1. Happy Place

Fearne Cotton’s podcast, Happy Place, is a self-love focused interview series boasting some very famous names. From Hillary Clinton and Kirsty Young to Lena Headey and Kris Hallenga, guests share their happy places and coping mechanisms for navigating a stress-filled life. Whether you’re looking for practical advice or an escape, you can’t go wrong with Happy Place.

2. Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

No self-love podcast list would be complete without Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations – it is impossible to come away without loving yourself more.

Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations are a series of intimate interviews with high profile figures, from CEOs to thought leaders. Salma Hayek talks making peace with herself, Maya Angelou reveals the best advice she has ever received, and Alanis Morissette explains why temporary happiness is ok.

3. Happy In Your Skin

Lea Alexandra’s Happy In Your Skin podcast is an essential for millennials. Its aim? Spreading skin positivity and self-love – and it 100% succeeds. From finding the funny side of acne and dealing with internet trolls to hacks to stop obsessing and stressing over your spot problems, this podcast will help you fall in love with your skin.

4. Offline

Offline isn’t as known in the UK, based in Australia, but it’s definitely worth a listen. Hosted by Australian journalist Alison Rice, the podcast features a series of conversations with inspiring and high profile Australian women, going behind their Instagram profiles and analysing how their true personalities are different from their online presences.

For anyone who needs a reminder that social media isn’t real life, this is a must-listen.

5. The High Low

The weekly pop-culture and news podcast isn’t focused on self-love, but with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes at the helm, a listen is chicken soup for the soul – comforting, warm and familiar. You will come away loving yourself, and the Panda to your Dolly even more.

Follow our 2020 campaign to trade self-improvement for self-love this year.

Happy YOU year!

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