Sarah Jessica Parker: From Carrie Bradshaw to real life

Fashion icon and actress Sarah Jessica Parker opens up about her iconic role, family life, navigating fame and learning to say no in an exclusive interview.

Ever since she first portrayed the high-heeled New York City columnist Carrie Bradshaw in HBO series Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker has been a household name for her work as not only an actress, but also as a producer, designer and philanthropist.

And, unlike many of the shows from the ’90s that seem outdated, the musings of Carrie and her friends continue to resonate with millions of viewers to this day.

The enduring influence of Carrie Bradshaw

“I think what has drawn so many people towards Carrie for 25-plus years is her sense of self,” Sarah Jessica, 59, says.

“She’s not a conformist; she makes her own rules — she’s enormously aspirational for people who are looking within for that same sense of confidence.

“Even as her character has grown and evolved over time, I think and hope this will always remain true of Carrie.”

While it is said our families can be our toughest critics, Sarah Jessica’s son James and twin daughters Marion and Tabitha haven’t seen the iconic series.

“My children haven’t watched the show yet, and I’m not sure they have any interest,” she says.

“If and when they do, I look forward to their feedback; good or bad.”

Having depicted Carrie across various life stages, Sarah Jessica will appear in the third season of And Just Like That…, Sex and the City’s successor, which is expected to hit screens next year.

More recently, she made her West End debut in London, performing alongside husband Matthew Broderick in the Neil Simon comedy Plaza Suite.

Why Sarah Jessica Parker is comfortable with saying no

Being a public figure, Sarah Jessica is an advocate of protecting her privacy where possible, but especially so when it concerns her family.

“(Being recognisable) isn’t always easy, but it does come with the nature of the work that I do,” she says.

“I put my efforts into protecting my marriage and my family — things that I feel very strongly about keeping private.

“I don’t know that it’s necessarily made me more resilient, but over time I’ve definitely learned to turn my head to unkind comments and small falsities.”

In Sarah Jessica’s professional career, this has also extended to being comfortable with saying no.

“Setting boundaries becomes easier with experience and wisdom behind you, and it’s increasingly necessary as we get older and have to prioritise ourselves and those closest to us; especially for someone like me who has always been obedient, personally and professionally,” she says.

“If you aren’t going to stand up for yourself or those close to you, who will?

“I think it’s important and necessary to share ideas, raise concerns and voice opinions; it makes us all better friends, siblings, colleagues and parents.”

Sarah Jessica’s favourite ways to unwind

When she isn’t working on set or developing concepts for her fragrance and footwear collection SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, good sleeping habits and reading a book are her favourite ways to unwind and recalibrate.

“I think some of the greatest tools that exist are actually quite accessible — simple things like fresh air, a long walk, a new book or a phone call with a friend,” Sarah Jessica says.

Sarah Jessica’s beauty routine

Self-care and skincare go hand in hand, and Sarah Jessica credits her ongoing relationship with skincare brand RoC for helping her create a streamlined beauty routine that features science-backed products but is not too complex for her sensitive skin.

“RoC’s brightening trio set with vitamin C are products I actually use and love,” she says.

“#BeARoc serves as an important reminder to not fear ageing, but rather to embrace it and all of the positives that come with it, and I’ve felt fortunate to be part of a campaign that backs this attitude.”

Sarah Jessica on spreading optimism in a digital age

While many push digital detoxes as a way of avoiding online toxicity, Sarah Jessica prefers to look for positive content creators that use their social channels for good.

“I think we should be seeking them out and helping lift them up above all of the toxicity that pours out of these platforms,” she says.

“When I see something that moves me online, I always try to share it or interact with it to keep the optimism going.”

Sarah Jessica on being a parent

As for the lessons Sarah Jessica hopes to impart to her own brood, kindness and curiosity reign supreme.

“Our children look to us for guidance, and in order to raise kind people with strong moral compasses, we have to be those people ourselves,” she says.

“My husband and I want our kids to grow up and figure out what’s important to them, knowing it may differ from what’s important to us.

“But being kind and staying curious are two things I hope my children always carry.”

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Written by Charlotte Brundrett.