It's official: Gwyneth Paltrow has made the transition from ice-princess, Oscar-winning fashionista to full-blown domestic diva. She already dispenses tips on living gracefully on goop.com; starred in a documentary about her culinary road trip through Spain with friend Mario Batali; and recently published a cookbook, My Father's Daughter. And now she is gracing the cover of the latest issue of Bon Appetit. (She also sings and acts and has two adorable children and a hot rock star husband, but that's just too much perfection for one post.)
While one can dismiss her new incarnation as something easy to accomplish for a well-connected, beautiful A-lister, there are definitely lessons to be learned about building your own personal brand that the mere mortals among us can use.
• Roll out your new persona gradually, in ways that make sense. Paltrow didn't just publish a quickie cookbook out of nowhere to cash in her fame, a la some celebrities. She lay the groundwork slowly, establishing her foodie cred with Goop, the Batali documentary, and well-placed features in Vogue and InStyle.
• Don't be afraid to work your connections. We may not all have famous friends—Paltrow name drops Leonardo Di Caprio, Jamie Oliver, and her 'favorite vegetarian friend' Stella McCartney in My Father's Daughter—but we all know someone who could help with a new venture, whether it's making an introduction to a potential investor, or mentioning your business on a blog. Take advantage of who you know as much as what you know.
• Make sure you have the skills to back up your new direction. Bon Appetit editor Adam Rapoport told The Feast, "[People say] 'Why should I take my cooking advice from her?' Read her book. It's a very, very well done cookbook…she's someone who does constantly cook for her friends, her kids, her husband. She's a committed home cook. And honestly—you'd be better off taking recipes from a home cook than from a professional chef."
CLARISSA CRUZ is the Fashion Features Editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the former Style Editor of People magazine and has written for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Food & Wine, and Budget Travel. @clarissanyc1