Entertainment Brand Strategy Health & Wellness

Gwyneth Paltrow and the rise of brand endorsers becoming brand entrepreneurs


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

April 3, 2024 | 6 min read

The Hollywood star and founder of wellness empire Goop is helping to bring to market an AI app that teaches the practice of eyes-open meditation. But this isn’t just a sponsorship exercise. Co-founder Ben Little reveals how Paltrow went from the company’s mood board to its boardroom.

Actress guides users through eyes-open meditation

Actress guides users through eyes-open meditation / Moments of Space

Moments of Space is Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest business venture where she is not only the face of the company but has equity and a role in shaping the long-term business strategy.

The AI-powered app sees Paltrow guide users through meditation exercises with their eyes open. The concept was initially conceived in 2021 by a trio of British tech innovators before Paltrow joined.

Ben Little is the founder and chief executive officer of the innovation agency Fearlessly Frank. Together with his cousin Kim Little, who is a “lifelong” meditator and software engineer, and the ex-Apple exec Julian Murphy who was behind the launch of the App Store, he co-founded Moments of Space.

Little says of the vision: “What if you could meditate while doing the dishes, changing a nappy, or making a cup of tea? What if we could bring meditation into people’s lives? So, it was no longer a chore, but it was now just a part of daily life...”

The app took two years to develop but the project picked up steam when Paltrow came on board. Little referred to Paltrow as the “queen of wellness”, and credited Goop for paving the way for the wellness industry.

“She has a vision for what is to come. What was then niche is now mainstream,” he says. These reasons are why Paltrow was on the initial “manifestation board” for Moments of Space. “So, I'm going to chalk it up to manifestation.”

Thanks to a chance connection with Paltrow’s management, the trio got their project in front of her. “I was working with a couple of guys who were flying out to the US to stay with [Paltrow’s] agent and offered to show them the app,” Little says. “She loved the proposition, she loved the idea, she wanted to get involved."

Paltrow signed up not only as a co-founder and global community director but also the face of the company, being embedded into the content and the marketing.

“From day one, she was just really keen to get it done, and our vision for what we wanted to create was very aligned. We all wanted to put something in the world that had a positive benefit, provide an alternative for what was out there, and also build a successful business.”

Paltrow has been heavily involved in the launch phase with her name helping to secure over 700 pieces of press coverage and being on the ground at the official launch event in LA. “She has been amazing,” Little says. “She is a phenomenal professional, and brilliant at what she does. It’s been a very intensive period.”

Away from the launch, Little adds that the Hollywood star is also “really interested in the future strategy of the company, she’s been very passionate about eyes open mentation, and very interested in AI.”

The long-term ambition is to introduce “spiritual guides” to host the sessions sitting alongside Paltrow. “We have the flexibility and freedom to have other personalities in our app in the future,” Little says.

Shifts from endorsement deals to co-ownership

Paltrow’s co-ownership of Moments in Space is another example of a celebrity moving beyond the traditional endorsement deal to having a stake in the future success of the business.

Little says: “Now more than ever before, celebrities are interested in this idea of co-ownership”. It’s partly down to certain celebrities paving the way, Little explains. He refers to success cases like George Clooney’s tequila brand Casamigos sold to Diageo or Mint Mobile which Ryan Reynold’s sold to T-Mobile for $1.35bn.

“Celebrities now see an opportunity to immerse themselves beyond just being the face of a brand but actually into the company. More and more talent want to do that because they want to stretch themselves and also benefit in the upside,” he says. For example, Clooney has reportedly made $40m off his Nespresso ambassador deal since 2013 but sold tequila company Casamigos to Diageo for $1bn.

But Little predicts that the celebrity business model is about to go one step further with ‘fractional ownership’. This is where the talent would co-own businesses and IP with their fans and their communities through tokens. So essentially a celebrity crowd fund paid for with digital money.

“Celebrities have always been associated with brands, but we’ve been through a period where celebrities have now wanted equity stakes in those businesses, but we’re about to come to a huge next period, which is where fractional ownership will allow for all types of celebrities of all sizes to be able to co-own with communities,” he says.

While Little acknowledges this has yet to take off, he is seeing fans demand this level of connection to their idols. “They want so much more than just traditional celebrity endorsement; the fans want to immerse themselves into the experience, the content - they want to get closer,” he says.

It is a worry then for brands as celebrities look for ownership over endorsement deals, but Little urges marketers to be more “entrepreneurial” in how they make talent deals.

“They need to, they need to work with read the market, really in terms of what the talent wants to do, and how the talent wants to do it. But also they need to read the market in terms of how the fans want to want to engage,” he says.

Entertainment Brand Strategy Health & Wellness

More from Entertainment

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +