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That Time I Met Gwyneth Paltrow

2013 April 9


So clearly this post is a little overdue. It has been a few days since I journeyed up to Beverly Hills to meet Gwyneth Paltrow at a signing for her new cookbook, “It’s All Good.”

A friend had told me about the event weeks ago and honestly, my first instinct was to skip it. I didn’t feel like making the trek, these book signings seem so impersonal, and frankly, giving up gluten, wine and sweets is not on the agenda right now.

And then of all people, my dad convinced me to go. My dad…who probably couldn’t pick Gwyneth Paltrow out of a line up if he had to. You have to go, he told me. You have to go just to tell her about the blog. It doesn’t matter if nothing comes of it. You have to go.

So we went. Because part of me “having to go” meant me “having to go on a Friday” which means insane traffic and a need for a co-pilot. So he, my mom and I hopped in the car and ventured north on a sunny Friday afternoon.

We got to the book signing, scheduled for 6pm, at 4:30pm and there was already a line up. Mainly chic women with a few men mixed in. Williams Sonoma knows how to host a party — they were serving cookies and treats baked from the cookbook, mini root beer floats and fresh water hand-poured from a carafe by a sales associate in a pristine apron. My parents went to window shop on Rodeo. I chatted briefly with a lovely lady behind me in line who knew my blog (!). I looked at $20 graters and $40 measuring cups. I flipped through the book, reading the intro about elimination diets, knowing I am probably a perfect candidate for one these days…then opted for another mini root beer float.

Gwyneth arrived on time. She did a quick photo session (that my mom inadvertently ended up in the middle of, with no camera in hand…) and then the signing began.

Up until that point, it felt like a line up. But suddenly, as bodies started to move forward — quickly — through the queue and I could see her at the table (both of us dressed in white blazers…just sayin’) I started to get nervous.

Who am I? Why should she care that I write this little blog? Why am I any more important than any other fan in this line (because clearly in a weird way, I thought I was…)?

And when I noticed how quickly people were being shuffled through, I got even more nervous. Am I even going to have time to get the blog’s name out? I want her to know it’s not a fan site. I want her to know it’s inspired by women like her who parent and work and friend and shop and eat and love. I wanted to fit so much into so few words in so little time.

A Williams Sonoma staffer took my cell phone to “take pictures” though as you can see below, there was no opportunity for anything posed or even remotely cute.

I went up to the table and honestly, I rambled. I introduced myself and said I write a blog called “What Would Gwyneth Do.” Her publicist was standing to my left. I have worked in PR long enough to know that he probably thinks it’s another fan site. So I started to spill about how it’s a blog about parenting and style and being a working mom and I said the name again, a little slower this time…and suddenly, something clicked.

“YOU write that blog?!?” she said, huge smile on her face. She knew the blog. I don’t know how else to say it. She knew the blog. I could just tell by the look on her face (which is tiny and surprisingly doesn’t seem botox’d at all), by the tone of her voice, by the sudden enthusiasm in her demeanor.

“Yes! And I just want you to know that you are truly an inspiration for women trying to do it all and balance everything and still have a sense of style and ramble, ramble, ramble…”

“Oh my god, that makes me so happy,” she continued. “That makes me want to cry.”

By this point, I am basically crying…well, tearing up a little. I passed a few business cards over to her publicist and told them both I would love it if they checked it out. I shook her hand and thanked her. And I walked over to my waiting parents.

It was quick. The whole thing happened in 45 seconds or so (though my dad said I was by far the longest interaction he had seen in the whole line up). But it was great. It was totally worth it. Not only to tell her about my blog, because that was part of the motivation, but not all of it.

It was worth it to meet her and to actually like her. To expect a fake, Hollywood demeanor and get the exact opposite. To see that she was kind and friendly and genuine and her face moves when she laughs. To see that she wore a white blazer, just like me (though hers was probably not from Zara). That she arrived on time. That her handwriting isn’t that great. That she really does seem cool and normal and yes, glowing and skinny because she doesn’t eat…quite like me.

I was on the street afterwards and I ran into the woman from the line up (who had a killer Saint Laurent hand bag, by the way, which is now firmly on my birthday wish list).

“How did it go?” she asked.

“Good, she knew the blog!”

“She did??” she said, smiling. “That’s amazing.”

And it was.


Β (above) Me in the early rambling phase, Gwyneth signing away.


Β (above) Me passing my blog business cards to Stephen Huvane. Editor’s note: much like with Jessica Alba, one cannot feel cute next to Gwyneth. Especially in a blurry iPhone picture.


(above) Gwyneth clearly not faking it. Or if she was, she really did deserve that Oscar.

34 Responses leave one →
  1. April 9, 2013

    I LOVE this story– good for you telling her about your blog! I would have been a nervous wreck.

    • WWGD permalink*
      April 9, 2013

      Thanks, Jenn! I am kind of glad to hear you would have been nervous and that I wasn’t the only one πŸ˜‰

  2. April 9, 2013

    This is so fantastic!!! I’m so excited it was worth the trip for you… and I’m pretty much dying that she knew about your blog (I’m sure now she’s going to be reading it all the time)!!

    • WWGD permalink*
      April 9, 2013

      Ha, not sure about that…but a girl can dream πŸ˜‰

  3. Bri permalink
    April 9, 2013

    That’s really great!!!

  4. Samantha permalink
    April 9, 2013

    How cool is that! I have her original cookbook and it is personally one of my favorites. What a cool story!!

  5. April 9, 2013

    This is SO awesome and such a great story, to which I can totally relate! I had Patti Smith sign my copy of Just Kids after her performance at Spreckles last year and after practicing my spiel while waiting in line, mumbled some words to her that she couldn’t hear once I got up to her. I was kind of disappointed but have resigned myself to the fact that it doesn’t matter because I met my greatest idol of all time;) I’m so glad your experience was better… and girl, I bet something will come of this.

  6. April 9, 2013

    Amazing! Thrilled for you! So glad you had a fantastic experience!

  7. liz duncan permalink
    April 9, 2013

    She is one of those woman that I swear, you can tell she is cool and I dont mean wears cool clothes cool (even though she does). I think that’s what I wanted to believe and now after your post, I do believe it.

  8. April 9, 2013

    Amazing! You made me like her even more and I teared up a little reading this!!!!

  9. April 9, 2013

    This is just…beyond amazing.

    I’m a huge fan of hers, too, and this post and whole interaction just makes me really happy.

  10. Sara no h. permalink
    April 9, 2013

    That’s awesome! I am so happy that you had a chance to meet her and that she lived up to your expectations. That’s always a big risk when we meet anyone we have admired. I am glad it paid off!

  11. April 9, 2013

    Just really love this. So happy for you that you got to me her and that she lived up to all your expectations (there’s nothing worse than meeting your idol only to be really let down), and too cool that she knew the blog.

  12. stella permalink
    April 9, 2013

    Wow, wow, wow!! So happy for you and relieved that she was so human with you. Congrats!

    • WWGD permalink*
      April 10, 2013

      Thank you! I was relieved, too! πŸ™‚

  13. April 9, 2013

    Yes! Thrilled and so happy for you. Your telling of the whole experience is making me smile from ear to ear. She knows your blog! Do you just beam every time you think about it? I’ve always had a soft spot of GP. Then, your blog made me admire her, and now this post is making me love her. Great job, you!

  14. April 9, 2013

    Perfectly written… LOVE this. Honestly, I would probably ramble like crazy OR freeze and not say anything at all. You did great!! And I’m loving the white blazers! xoxo

    • WWGD permalink*
      April 10, 2013

      Aw, thank you! Trust me when I tell you her blazer was a touch better than mine πŸ˜‰

  15. Isabelle permalink
    April 10, 2013

    Of course she knows your blog! I live in a small French town and I know it ;))

  16. erin permalink
    April 10, 2013

    I am beaming with EXCITEMENT for you!! What a full circle experience=) All of your hard work is paying off and so glad GP validated that even more. Your blog is my favorite!! Keep up the great work!

    • WWGD permalink*
      April 10, 2013

      You are too kind, thank you so much!

  17. April 10, 2013

    I bet she read your blog after you tweeted her. That’s how I found your blog by the way :)…Good for you. So happy for you!

  18. April 11, 2013

    R, that’s so amazing! I’m not at all surprised she knew the blog πŸ™‚ Congrats! xx

  19. Joan permalink
    April 12, 2013

    Ha I love this! So happy for you. I had a similiar experience meeting Sheryl Crow. Love it when things go full circle. You deserve it. You’re blog is great! X Joan

  20. April 12, 2013

    What a great story!!! So amazing that she knew your blog πŸ™‚ Awesome!

  21. Laura permalink
    April 12, 2013

    Really love this story! Good for you, brought a smile to my face πŸ™‚ xx

  22. April 12, 2013

    That is so amazing! From your parents telling you that you have to go, to Gwenyth be real & personable… just fabulous & worth the long drive. I’m so glad you did it and shared with us. xo

  23. April 12, 2013

    Wow! Ab-so-freaking-ly amazing!!!! I’m so jealous! She so inspires me as do you and the other women you write about on this blog! And yes, I do so need to do a clease!!!

  24. April 14, 2013

    what a fabulous story… i love that she knew your blog & that she didn’t suck & that her forehead moves when she smiles πŸ˜‰ good on you (and your dad) for taking a chance!

  25. May 9, 2013

    Kudos to you…I would have been a tongue-tied idiot trying to talk to GP. I work in entertainment so celebrities don’t really make me nervous anymore but GP? She’s a whole other level.

    Great story!

  26. October 7, 2014

    awww this is awesome
    you got to meet her
    she rocks!

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