"The following series is designed to entertain and inform - not provide medical advice. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to your personal health, or before you start any treatment."
That is the message that plays before the start of every episode of The Goop Lab, Netflix's latest series from Gwyneth Paltrow and the Goop team that hopes to guide "the deeply inquisitive viewer" and push "boundaries and exploration of wellness topics."
But the same message could also be on the cover of the welcome package for any employee at Goop, the lifestyle empire Gwyneth has built since launching the site from her kitchen back in 2008, with the six-episode series revealing just what life is like at Goop's headquarters.
Given our endless fascination with all things Gwyneth and Goop (from the controversies to the vagina-scented candles), we were admittedly excited to get a peek behind the millennial pink-hued curtain, to see what it's really like to work with GP as she attempts to "milk the s--t out of" life by testing out polarizing wellness trends.
What we learned? Goop staffers cry. A lot. And get real vulnerable with each other on the reg.
Here's a breakdown of what we learned about Goop's office culture and working with the semi-retired Oscar winner herself in every episode of The Goop Lab:
Episode 1: "The Healing Trip"
In the first episode (though you can watch them in any order, really), Elise Loehnen, Goop's chief content officer/Gwyneth's right hand woman, and three other lucky Goopers travel to Jamaica to take magic mushrooms together to utilize as "healing modality." The trip to Jamaica is justified because the use of psychedelics isn't regulated there, so drink up those mushrooms, baby!
Each person reveals their "why" for choosing to undergo this experience with their colleagues, with Elise, the boss, saying, "I would like to understand myself in the context of a bigger universe, beyond how I intellectualize it in my brain." Of course, she is the first one to fall into an uncontrollable fit of giggles five minutes after taking the shrooms. "I feel like such a cliché!"
For others, they came with real s--t to work though in front of their co-workers. Kevin, who is GP's assistant but is "like family" at this point, with Gwyneth calling him "one of the most special people" in the world, is still feeling the impact of growing up with an absent father, admitting he has issues getting close to people or letting people in. Photo editor Jenny, meanwhile, reveals her father killed himself five years ago and she has just started going to therapy this year to work through her emotions regarding his secret struggles with depression.
Given the emotional weight they brought along in their carry-ons for the trip, both Jenny and Kevin end up sobbing during the five-hour trip, with Kevin even being cradled by two of the team's men like a small child.
For Jenny, processing the loss of her father while under the influence felt "like I went through about five years of therapy in about five hours."
After the mushroom magic faded, the Goop quartet then frolicks in the ocean, with Elise talking about how maybe more workplace teams should go through "therapeutic" experiences together, to become "even more intimate and connected with the people that you spend the majority of your day with." (So...should we ask our bosses if we can take mushrooms at next year's office Christmas party?)
And we get a feel for just how close the Goop team is when Kevin later recounts his emotional experience to GP in her office, talking about the "emptiness and loneliness" he's been carrying around for 39 years to his boss, with their conversation ending with a big hug and an exchange of "I love yous."
Episode 2: "Cold Comfort"
After taking magic mushrooms, plunging into ice-cold water with the guidance of "Iceman" Wim Hof and his breathing techniques in the name of stress relief sounds like a (chilly) breeze, right?
"You cannot just jump in, this is dangerous," the Iceman says at the top of the episode so LOL JK. But if you learn how to breathe properly, your body can learn to adapt, he says, adding, "You become the alchemist of life."
And you get to do it in gorgeous, snow-covered, picturesque Lake Tahoe! (Yes, another Goop field trip, so just know travel is likely if you join the staff.)
So a group of six staffers get to go to Lake Tahoe for two-days to stay in a cozy-yet-spacious cabin and learn to breathe properly to "prime their body to go and meet the cold and become like peaceful warriors."
Megan, the senior beauty editor, claims she's "the coldest person in the world" and tells the Dutchman she's "skeptical." Associate product manager Heaven is jealous because her BF, who takes a cold shower every morning, is never sick. Kate, Goop's executive editor, was diagnosed with a panic disorder after having her baby, and is hoping to gain control over her hormonal responses. Ana, the associate food editor, is there because she doesn't know how to breath properly. Two staff research scientists are there because science.
Anyone else sensing a theme of staffers working on their s--t during office hours and on company dime? Here. For. This. Life. Hack.
Their pre-plunge workshop includes some crying, another Goop staffer trademark. "I couldn't stop crying," Heaven said to her colleagues. While she didn't cry, Kate opened up about feeling "severe anxiety" and many of her pre-panic attack feelings.
Prep also included "Snow-ga," which was doing yoga in their bathing suits in the snow for 25 minutes. So yeah, you'll be down-dogging with your co-workers in a bikini in the snow.
Ultimately, they end up going into 38 degree water together, with Ana admitting, "This is probably the most insane thing I've been asked to do for Goop...so yeah, here I am."
One by one, they jump, with Kate getting emotional after the plunge, saying, "Not to be dramatic but I feel like that was a changing point in my life." (She later says she hasn't had a panic attack since that experience.)
Oh, you'll probably have to do push-ups at some point, as Ice Man makes GP and Elise do pushups during their conversation. On her knees (because she's on her five-day fast), GP cranks out 20 at first. Post-breathing techniques, she hits 30, while Elise adds 9 to her count.
The episode ends with a montage (set to Ice Man singing and playing guitar) of the six Goop plungers having a snow fight in their bathing suits, bonded for life after freezing their asses off. Literally.
Episode 3: "The Pleasure Is Ours"
Keeping in line with the theme of this entire outing, this episode was HARD for us to watch because it just makes us uncomfortable. So all you need to know about working at Goop is sometimes you will have to hold a mirror to your vagina and look right at it.
Episode 4: "The Health-Span Plan"
OK, we admit it: This was the second episode we watched after the first episode, just because we knew there was a lot of GP in it. Bonus: it mostly takes place in the pink-hued office!
In it, Gwyneth, Elise and SVP of brand partnerships Wendy Lauria find out their respective biological ages, and each then undergo different cleanses or eating plans to see if it impacts the number. Plus, vampire facials, threading, etc. Wendy goes vegan, Elise goes pescatarian, while GP gets the intense five-day "fast-mimicking" cleanse. (BTW, we were totally about to do this biological test with one of our friends...until we saw the kit was $500. Now we are just pretending we are biologically 22 and you can't tell us any different!)
Of course, it quickly turns into a quasi-competition to see who can shave the most years off, and despite popular belief, Goopers don't always have the healthiest habits! Wendy eats fast food and she almost succumbs to the near-irresistible siren call of In-n-Out Burger during her weekly trip to Costco with her young son on her first day as a vegan, with the toddler sighing, "So sad."
GP, meanwhile, admits, "I've basically been running off of no sleep, coffee and alcohol for, like, two years." Same, babe.
And Gwyneth is just as dubious of the five-day cleanse as many anti-Goop people are of things the site recommends and promotes. When she sees the food (or lack their of really) that she will be able to consume for the next five days, she says, "YOu must be joking? You guys put me through the craziest s--t!" How meta! The highlight? Olives! And her biggest concern? The no java rule. "I have to have coffee! Otherwise you're not going to want to deal with me." And people say she isn't relatable.
It wasn't all about the diet, as Goop then assembled a group of female staff members to talk about their fear of aging and showing signs of it on their faces, so the trio of women then try a different form of facial treatments that are "a little bit more natural" (aka no Botox).
So Elise gets 100 needles stuck into her face via facial acupuncture, Wendy undergoes facial threading, and GP snags the vampire facial...which means you have your own blood injected into your face. Eek!
In the end, Gwyneth, of course, wins, shaving off 1.7 biological years, and all she had to do was drop to 500 calories per day to do it! Poor, poor Wendy...she didn't decrease her age at all when for gave up an animal-style double-double for 21 days in the name of a workplace experiment.
But what we learn by episode's end is that Gwyneth believes "the tenants of wellness are typically free." Especially when you get to write them off as a work-related expense.
Episode 5: The Energy Experience
Yes, this episode has Goopers undergoing the same treatment that Julianne Hough had, in which she has an orgasm-like reaction during the energy healing, with the video of the experience quickly going viral after she shared it on Facebook. it's also the episode that includes Gwyneth's "What the f--k are you doing to people?" moment from the trailer.
The question is posed to Dr. John Amaral, a body worker and chiropractor who performs energy healing without even touching a person's body, which often ends up looking like the person is convulsing, having a seizure and/or an orgasm. Before this episode, Dr. Amaral had never let cameras film his process. Until now.
"I've been hesitant to show it because it looks strange, but I think it's time for the world to see."
And see they did, with Julianne (who reveals she's worked with Dr. Amaral since 2013) appearing in the episode to undergo the treatment along with several brave Goop staffers for a "four-way" group session, so four tables going at once.
One of the participants Brian, Goop's "uptight" software architect, admits he's one of the office "skeptics," while social media coordinator Janay reveals she experiences sleep paralysis. Elise is the fourth participant, saying she's been experiencing "a lot of anxiety."
Keeping with Goop's crying-welcome policy, many of the participants cry while Dr. Amaral is working on them (and Janay later throwing up from 3-4 a.m., an emotional digestive side effect apparently?), with Gwyneth revealing the first time she experienced energy healing she "pretty much just cried the whole time."
After Janay takes in a yoga class (more on that in a sec) following her time with Dr. Amaral, she sighs, "Seems pretty normal for a day at Goop now, don't you think?"
This episode also revealed Goop offers office yoga, complete with Goop-branded yoga mats (super jeal!) and gave us a sneak peek at the chic as hell interior of their LA offices. Dat lobby tho!
Episode 6: "Are You Intuit"
Ana with the amazing head of hair is back and is the star of this episode, which is all about the staff opening up energetically for medium Laura Lynne Johnson. Consider Ana the ultimate skeptic, "This whole medium idea is, like, Santa Claus."
But before we get to the skepticism, we get a montage of Goop workers on yet another idyllic field trip, wandering content and barefoot in a backyard oasis and then being led through a guided meditation by Laura, who has performed previous readings for Gwyneth and Elise.
Her first Goop staffer reading was for Kaitlyn, the food editor, who is ALL in when it comes to this stuff. Yes, she cries almost immediately even though she "didn't anticipate getting so emotional." LOL gurl, are you new?
Micere, an assistant editor, takes part in the workshop led by Laura, saying this isn't her first rodeo. "I work with a lot of intuitives and healers for the site." So just another day in (or really out of) the office.
Private client director Kelly has "dabbled" with mediums before, while Dwi, a BI analyst, cries a perfect single tear while standing in the middle of the energy circle receiving her co-workers' attention.
Ana? Not here for it, side-eyeing Laura, her colleagues and the whole damn thing.
In the workshop, they worked on their own medium abilities, reading each other's energies and drawing one another's color auras. "Is it possible to just not have this superpower," Ana says in between giggles. "Like, everyone can't have this, right?"
But Kelly proves to have the superpower while working with Dwi, who ends up opening up about a personal family story after Kelly reads her. (Add it her to duties at Goop!) Kelly cries because she's overwhelmed by her new ability, so add it to the Goop good cry tally.
The episode (and series) ends with Laura attempting to read Ana, and she gives it her all. But nothing is tracking and Ana's skepticism grows while Laura's brow furrows deeper. BUT! Before Laura's entire life purpose is debunked, an associate producer named Lindsay appears from behind the camera, tearing up as she reveals she's actually the one being read, with her grandfather, who died just one week prior, reaching out.
"I don't feel like I'm closed off from it, you can question as much as you want," Ana says after her non-reading reading, "but then also at some point you have to be open to change or new ideas or being educated."
And that right there is why Ana is the ultimate Goop staffer.
All six episodes of The Goop Lab are available now on Netflix.