Gwyneth Paltrow believes her infamous vagina-scented candle didn’t get its due.
The Shakespeare in Love star, who launched her lifestyle company Goop in 2008 to continued criticism over its costly and controversial products, now claims her most viral item, a candle released in 2020 called This Smells Like My Vagina, was “punk rock.”
“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,” the Oscar winner said in a now-expired Instagram post Wednesday that was reshared on TikTok by Access Hollywood.
“The candle is supposed to be a very strong punk-rock kind of F-you to anyone who ever made us feel like that,” said Paltrow, who created a limited-edition version last year called Hands Off My Vagina to mark the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling.
Paltrow claimed her candle was never meant to “actually smell like anyone’s vagina,” and that “the point” was to surprise people all along with a welcoming scent of bergamot, geranium and cedar juxtaposed with damask rose and ambrette seed.
“People tried to make it about something else, which is kind of a shame because it was really meant to be this strong feminist statement,” Paltrow said in the video. “But we no longer make the candle.”
Paltrow has repeatedly defended the product in television appearances. On Late Night in 2020, she told host Seth Meyers it’s “a subversive candle” for women who grew up “feeling certain degrees of shame” about their bodies. On Jimmy Kimmel Live around the same time, she gave a similar spiel as the host joked it was falsely advertised — and smelled “a bit masculine.”
“This candle is really like that provocation to say, like, ‘It’s amazing to be a woman in every way. It’s amazing to have that kind of power and you deserve to have that agency,’” Paltrow told Today host Willie Geist in an interview last year.
While some fans supported Paltrow on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, others responded this week by saying “candles aren’t punk rock,” the item “was pure narcissistic trash,” and that “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”
Goop was forced to pay $145,000 in 2018 for unsubstantiated claims about its Jade Egg and Rose Quartz Egg — which the company claimed led to better sex for women, helped regulate their menstrual cycle and increased bladder control after being vaginally inserted.
Paltrow had an esteemed acting career and won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1999 but has largely stepped away from Hollywood (with the exception of recurring Marvel appearances) to focus on Goop, which is now reportedly worth $250 million. Paltrow became CEO in 2016 and recently told “Today” she doesn’t miss acting at all.
“I think I’m so lucky that I got to do it, and I’m sure I still will at some point,” she told the outlet in 2022. “The team is always trying to get me to do a movie, but I really love what I do and I love how immediate it is and how … we’re able to create product out of thin air.”