Elisa Loehnen is the chief content officer of goop, the highly successful lifestyle platform founded by Gwyneth Paltrow dedicated to keeping its readership informed and inspired with tightly curated content and products. She was promoted from editorial director in 2016 and head of content in 2017. Prior to goop, she was the editorial projects director of Conde Nast Traveler. Loehnen also served as the editor at large and ultimately deputy editor of Lucky, where her role included appearing regularly on shows like Today, E! News, Good Morning America, and The Early Show as the fashion media brand’s spokesperson.
Loehnen is the co-author of eight books, including three New York Times’ Best Sellers: Nasty Galaxy by Sophia Amoruso (Fall 2016), HOME by Ellen DeGeneres, You First by Lea Michelle, Cupcakes & Cashmere at Home by Emily Schuman, Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele (NYT Best Seller), interior designer Celerie Kemble's Black, White & A Bit In Between, Lauren Conrad Style (NYT Best Seller), and Lauren Conrad Beauty (NYT Best Seller).
Originally from Missoula, Montana, Elise now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and sons, Max and Sam. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Fine Arts from Yale University.
March 16, 2020
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Walk us through your career and experience. How’d you end up at goop?
I started my career in New York at Conde Nast. I worked there for almost a decade, primarily at Lucky Magazine—rest in peace. I left briefly to go to Time Out New York, then I went back to Lucky, and then I went to Conde Nast Traveler before taking a job in Los Angeles, working for a deeply unglamorous comparison shopping site. There, I helped editorialize their experience and create relationships with shoppers. My husband and I had just gotten married, and we were sort of itching to get out of New York, and it seemed like a great reason to go west and learn something about the internet, which I definitely didn’t learn a lot about while working in magazines. Throughout my career, I’d always been ghost-writing books on the side for various people, and when I started working on a project with Tracy Anderson, I met Gwenyth through that, and we started chatting away. A friend of mine was working for her, and when she moved from London to Los Angeles, I came in to talk to her about content, and that was it. I joined her team pretty shortly after that, and here we are, six-plus years later.
Tell us about the goop Podcast. How does an episode come together?
I do about 80 or 90% of them, and Gwenyth does one or two a month. We try to do a good mix of health, wellness, spirituality, science, mindfulness, social justice—anything that we think creates an interesting mix. I like to be really prepared so I can wing it. I usually read at least one of their books, or I do whatever research I can if they haven’t written a book. I like to be very familiar with their work so that we can just get right into the conversation—I don’t actually take any questions in. What I usually do is read a book, tab pages, type up quotes, sections, and paragraphs that seem to really resonate. I’ll bring that into the interview, but often I don’t even really refer to it. It just helps me make sure that we touch on everything by the end. It’s like a security blanket so that we can just sit and have an actual conversation.
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Who’s been your favorite podcast guest so far?
Oh my god—that’s like picking a favorite child. Who has been my favorite? Maybe Bryan Stevenson. He was early days. He’s a lawyer. There’s a movie about his life coming out on Christmas called Just Mercy. He started the Equal Justice Initiative and the lynching museum, and he’s spent his career liberating men, many of whom have been wrongly accused and others who have been overly sentenced from death row. He’s just working for racial justice through the criminal system. He’s an incredible person. So articulate, so wise, so profound. That was a big honor to speak with him because he’s also very busy saving people’s lives.
What’s the secret to creating really great content?
Well, I have an amazing team, so at this point, I don’t even know what I can take credit for. Pretty much nothing. I think it’s a mashup of what I’ve learned at Lucky and the way that Gwenyth has always functioned. We work on stories that are relevant to us, and by extension, our friends and friends of our friends. Instead of thinking about our readers as a very objective idea, we start from a place of really knowing them and understanding them. The idea is that if it resonates with this person, then it probably resonates with someone else in their life, and so on and so forth.
What’s a typical morning like for you?
We just got back from vacation in a different time zone, so my three-year-old has been waking up at four in the morning, which is excruciating. He’s so cute, though, and he’s really into me right now, and it’s not always that way, so I find him irresistible. But typically, when we are on schedule, I usually get up at 6:30. Sometimes it’s 5:30 when I’m motivated and feel like going to Tracy Anderson in the morning, but my workout buddy was evacuated from her home because of the fires, and she’s still out of her house, so I have had nobody to motivate me to go to the gym in the morning. I wake up with the kids, make an oat milk latte, of course, because it’s full of sugar and so delicious. I’ll make my kids breakfast, pack a snack for my oldest, and then I get ready, which is very quick. I have short hair, so I don’t use very products. Over the years, being a working mom, I’ve really pared down my wardrobe. I don’t own that much stuff, and what I do own is typically pretty neutral, pretty mix and match, and pretty durable. I wear a lot of jumpsuits, a lot of sweaters and pants—I keep it really simple. I’ll drop my oldest at school around 8:20, go to the library and read with him for a little bit, and then I’ll head to the office. I get here around 9:00, and then I try not to have any meetings until 9:30 at the earliest. If it’s a 9:30 meeting, I try to make it a walking meeting. Otherwise, I’m in meetings all day more or less.
How do you find balance as a working parent?
This is a sad but true story. It’s kind of funny, but my youngest goes to a co-op preschool, and part of it is that you have to work in the classroom two mornings per month—my husband and I each do one. His teacher was explaining to me that one of my son’s friends has parents that are divorced and that he has two houses—one is his mom’s, and one is his dad’s—and my son said, “Oh I have one house, but I live there with my dad. My mom lives at the office.” Mortifying and also kind of not true. I think we have a good balance there. I always drop one of them off at school unless I’m traveling, and I’m always up with them in the morning for at least an hour—sometimes two hours. I typically leave work by 6:00 so I can get home and be with them before they go to bed at 8:00 or 8:30. And then we have the weekends where we get some serious hang time. It’s not perfect, but I honestly don’t know how I would function as a stay-at-home mom, because I feel like that’s a much harder job than sitting at a desk and working. It’s imperfect. Some weeks are terrible, particularly if I’m traveling or have a lot of things going on at night, and other weeks I feel like I do a really good job. I just try to be kind to myself and remind myself that my kids are growing up with a strong female role model and that I’m working hard to provide for them. That’s just life.
What would we find you wearing on a typical workday?
I wear a lot of G. Label, which is our clothing line. It fits me really well, it’s super easy, and it’s my style—simple, essential, and high-quality. Today, I’m wearing a G. Label sweater with Levi’s and Vans. I’m always in sneakers. Yesterday, I wore a G. Label jumpsuit. Any chance I have to only wear a couple of things, I take it. Very rarely am I wearing more than like two pieces of clothing.
What’s your favorite spot for dinner in L.A. and what’s your go-to order?
Jon and Vinny’s just opened in Brentwood. I don’t actually go there that often—though I do like going there—but they deliver to my house, and it’s very dangerous. I love the radiatori pesto and their penne alla vodka and the chicken cutlet. All so delicious. This is making me really hungry.
If you were to recommend buying one goop product, what would it be?
The Glow Peel Pads. Gwenyth wanted something that was similar to a peel but didn’t require going to a facialist. I was actually really terrified to use them because I have sensitive skin and rosacea, but they’re so good. I don’t know exactly what’s in them—I probably should—but you put it on and it tingles and the next day your skin is amazing. I don’t even have to put on moisturizer. I don’t know how it works, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s pure magic, and anything that allows me to use fewer products is good by me.
What’s the most exciting thing going on at goop right now?
Next year we have our Netflix show coming out. I don’t think I can say anything more than that, but that’s really exciting.