The smell of success isn't always so sweet for Gwyneth Paltrow.
Three years after her company Goop released a candle dubbed "This Smells Like My Vagina," the Oscar winner shared the real meaning behind the product.
"It was a really strong feminist statement," she shared in an Instagram Stories Q&A on Aug. 30. "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 was supposed to be a very strong, punk rock kind of 'F you' to anyone who ever made us feel like that."
Explaining that the candle "was not supposed to actually smell like anyone's vagina," Gwyneth called out how tabloid coverage of it was "so clickbaity" and "people tried to make it about something else."
"Which is kind of a shame," she lamented, "because it was really meant to be this strong feminist statement."
The candle's eyebrow-raising name was inspired by a comment Gwyneth made to perfumer Heretic's founder Douglas Little after catching a whiff of the geranium, citrusy bergamot, Damask rose and ambrette seed scent.
"It sort of started as a joke," the actress explained during a 2020 appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers. "I smelled this beautiful thing and I was like, ‘This smells like my vagina.' And I was kidding, obviously."
Gwyneth added at the time that the quip was "really funny to us, but also a little bit punk rock," so she and Douglas ran with it for the candle's official name.
Since then, the innovation spawned several off-shoots, including another candle named "This Smells Like My Orgasm," a collab with Kourtney Kardashian called "This Smells Like My Pooshy," a custom product made for Travis Barker dubbed "This Smells Like Kourtney's Orgasm" and a limited-release "Hands Off My Vagina" votive benefitting the fight for women's reproductive freedom.