As Much As They Don’t Want To, Why Do Reporters Fawn Over Gwyneth?

Gwyneth VogueAside from writing a fairly ridiculous food blog, what has Gwyneth Paltrow really done in recent years? And why, despite the cynical, journalistic gut telling them not to, do reporters keep falling head over heels in love with her? It’s 2010, people.

Gwyneth graces the August cover of Vogue, with a glamorous photoshoot by Mario Testino inside and a Goop love-fest inside. Jeffrey Steingarten is responsible for the cover story, in which he cooks trademarked Paltrow recipes with the actress in her Manhattan apartment. Like so many critics, Steingarten pretends to expect that he won’t get along with Gwyneth, or at least that her cooking will suck. “Nobody would care to read a story disclosing that Gwyneth Paltrow is a bad cook,” he writes.

But in usual, boring fashion–Vogue portrays Gwyneth as a master chef, a “skillful” user of her “laser sharp” knives, all within her “beautiful and clean kitchen.” Steingarten goes on to rant and rave about Gwyneth’s cooing: how she sharpens the knives herself with a fancy contraption and how she makes her own stock. It’s no wonder she hasn’t done much acting lately, when there are knives to be sharpened!

Predictably, tossed in to the saccharine salad of a story are some ingredients beyond kale and spinach: hints that Gwyneth does indeed eat real person food. She eats pizza, everyone! And french fries! And did I mention she has effortlessly chic style and a perfect body? “I was able to notice that Gwyneth’s jeans fit so loosely that they tended to slip down several inches below her waist, revealing an enviably flat stomach,” Steingarten writes.

The writer does own up to his Gwyneth-fawning, and insists he wanted to ask some pointed questions–like whether she’d had plastic surgery.

But then he worries he might have unnerved Madame Goop! “I was sure that I had offended Gwyneth. I was disconsolate. I never really cared about which part of her body she hates most. So I sent her a large bouquet of costly peonies. She replied with two E-mails assuring me that I hadn’t offended her and wondering how I could have ruined her ‘perfect’ duck recipe.”

At the conclusion of the tell-nothing article, I wanted to think this was merely the result of a man captivated by a beautiful and gracious celebrity. Partially true, but a Gwyneth profile from the May 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar sounded oh-so-similar: “Despite her protestations, Gwyneth looks the picture of well-being. At 37, she has nary a wrinkle on her face, just a dusting of freckles. Her hair is a sheet of pale ash blonde, her body toned to a T. And even though she’s fully enmeshed in her very hands-on role of mom and jet-lagged after just returning from months in the States, she still shows up for lunch chicly put together in a cream silk Stella McCartney blouse, black Rag & Bone leggings, and boots.” The writer goes on, “there is an authenticity to her that makes you believe it’s no aw-shucks act”

As Gwyneth told Elle UK in March 2009, “I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes £15,000 a year. That would be completely inauthentic. I know what my intention is – and if it makes one person’s life better then it’s worth it. And f*** the haters!”

Well, Gwyneth, you’re doing a damn good job convincing them. Now we’re going to go eat some GOOP recipes for lunch.

(Image courtesy of Vogue)

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