In 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress everyone loves to hate (or so it seems sometimes), decided she wanted to be more than just an actress. She started a “nourishing” website called Goop to pass along her wisdom of the good life.
“Whether you want a good place to eat in London, some advice on where to stay in Austin, the recipe I made up this week, or some thoughts from one of my sages, Goop is a little bit of everything that makes up my life,” she wrote.
The five-year-old site has been mocked for its oh-so-perfect guides to juice cleanses and gluten-free pasta, but it has grown into a mini-empire with its own design collaborations, cookbooks, city guide apps and million-plus subscribers.
It has also spawned a group of imitators: midlevel actresses and entertainers who want to grow their brand and become lifestyle gurus, just like Paltrow.
“Celebrities realize there’s a real market of people out there who want to know what they eat, what clothes they like, who their favorite bands are,” said Dana Randall, chief strategy officer for Form Mgmt, a branding agency in New York. “And, of course, they are wonderful business opportunities.”
Celebrities like Lauren Conrad, Olivia Palermo, Zooey Deschanel and even Lindsay Lohan have started websites to offer their versions of the good life, whether it’s organizing craft supplies into Ball jars or fitting into denim jeans.
The list grows. Blake Lively, 26, former star of “Gossip Girl,” recently told Vogue.co.uk that she was starting a lifestyle website.
“It’s about living a very one-of-a-kind, curated life and how to achieve that,” Lively said.
The world awaits. In the meantime, here are other celebrity sites to help you achieve perfection.
Blond, winsome and boldfaced, actress Elizabeth Banks, 39, seems to belong to the same genus as Paltrow. But her website is notably goofier and lowbrow.
“I’d love Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle, but I shop at Target and I buy in bulk,” she said. “I’m really just a country bumpkin.”
Divided into categories like geeky, yummy and pretty, her site includes breathless posts on Shark Week, pleas for body-image acceptance and DIY design tips.
Audience: Comedy nerds, the genre in which Banks got her start; and fans of the “Hunger Games,” where Banks got her break.
Topics: Pop culture (Banks was a “Breaking Bad” devotee), feminist musings (an appreciation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg), etiquette (“What is a polite way to say a girl has way too much makeup covering her face?”) and everything “Hunger Games” related (cupcakes, cocktails and posters).
Most popular post: “The Best Photobombs in Hollywood” (Aug. 30, 2012).
Although MTV’s “The Hills” ended in 2010, its star Lauren Conrad continues to build on her tenuous celebrity. She has a line of clothing and bedding at Kohl’s and is the author of two guides to style and beauty along with six novels including “L.A. Candy,” a semiautobiographical roman à clef about chasing fame in Los Angeles.
That wasn’t enough.
“I needed a website that would act as a hub for my brand,” she said. The site says it is “your front-row VIP pass to all things lovely and chic.”
Audience: A breezy sun-baked Martha Stewart crowd, preponderantly female, 18 to 30 — many too young to recall Conrad’s humble reality-TV origins.
Topics: Easy recipes, fashion tips, crafts and a chick-lit book club (recent books include Conrad’s own “Starstruck” and Jennifer Close’s “Girls in White Dresses”).
Most popular post: “Shape Up: My 7 Days to Skinny Jeans Plan” (Jan. 4, 2012).
As the star of Fox’s “New Girl” and half of the indie duo She & Him, Zooey Deschanel, 33, embodies the pop cultural archetype of the manic pixie dream girl. She plays the ukulele, loves to whistle and has starred in sunnily quirky films like “(500) Days of Summer.” And she has had her share of critics. (“The Unbearable Quirkiness of the Unstoppable Charm of Zooey Deschanel” read a blog post on Jezebel.)
Tired of the negativity, Deschanel started Hello Giggles as a “positive online community for women.”
“We felt that there wasn’t really a place for us online, where positivity was actively encouraged,” Deschanel said.
Audience: Crafty women in their mid-20s to late 30s with good cheer to spread.
Topics: Cute animals, manicures, illustrated tweets and listicles.
Most popular post: “10 Words You’ve Probably Been Misusing” (July 21), which includes “ironic” and “terrific.”
A convicted drunken driver and inveterate drug user may not seem like the best credentials for lifestyle guru. But Lindsay Lohan is trying. After spending 90 days in rehab this summer, Lohan hired SpinMedia, a Los Angeles-based online media company, to create a website to showcase her discerning views on fashion, music, celebrity and travel.
“I’m in a really positive space in my life, if not the most positive place in recent time,” Lohan wrote in an e-mail. “The site gives me a place to be creative and generate positivity and gives fans a place to connect directly.”
Does Lohan write the posts? Not exactly. “I oversee everything that goes up,” she said. “Every post has been discussed or created collaboratively.”
Started: August 2013.
Audience: Die-hard LiLo fans, who never tire of the former child star’s antics.
Topics: Snappy appraisals of fashion shows (“Prada does it right. Think their new collection is beyond clever.”); photos from her Instagram feed; flashbacks from Lohan’s career, and musings on the fabulous life.
Most popular post: “Oprah: lindsaysnextchapter” (Aug. 14), a preview of Lohan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
At 26, Shay Mitchell, who plays a high school lesbian on ABC’s “Pretty Little Liars,” may not have years of wisdom behind her. But Mitchell says her youthful outlook is what her fans want.
“There really wasn’t a Goop for younger girls who, maybe, can’t afford thousand-dollar dresses,” she said.
She hired Fanology Social, a social media company, to turn her Tumblr page into a lifestyle site geared toward tweens, with Mitchell as its model and mentor. “It’s just me and Michaela,” said Mitchell, referring to her roommate and collaborator, Michaela Barney. “We don’t have beautifully shot recipes. It’s just me standing on a stool taking a picture of dinner.”
Audience: Tween girls with a keen design sense and a penchant for manicures, and “Mitchies,” as her fans are known.
Topics: Interior design (“Scandinavian ‘Dorm Room’ Decor & Tips”), DIY techniques (how to make everything glitter), recipes (sautéed spinach and leeks) and vacation photos.
Most popular post: “Kona Hawaii — My Hawaiian Hiatus” (July 10).
Olivia Palermo was 22 when she appeared in the MTV reality show “The City” as a Connecticut socialite hungry for fame and fortune in New York. Her highest aspiration was to be a reporter for Elle.com.
Now 27 and living in Brooklyn, Palermo is seeking to cement her fashion bona fides. She has modeled for Hogan and Mango and has been a guest judge on “Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model.” The next step was a website.
Audience: Fashion-conscious women ages 18 to 35. In Palermo’s world, there is little need for recipes or DIY projects.
Topics: Reports from fashion week, annotated images of the outfits Palermo wore to the shows and reviews of beauty products and books (including “Little Black Dress” by Andre Leon Talley).
Most popular post: “Snapped: NYFW Day 5” (Sept. 11, 2012), a picture of Palermo in a denim skirt.