Sarah Jessica Parker Opens Up About the Return of Carrie Bradshaw in Vogue’s December Issue

This question can be taken literally, as in, how many archival Anna Sui slips, Prada clutches, and DVF wrap dresses does one need to keep, in a separate one-bedroom, no less, on this journey we call life? But there is also a larger, more symbolic matter here, of course. Have the changes in our modern circumstances—political, social, environmental—made the question of revisiting Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte moot? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to just let them go? “In the spring of 2020, I was talking with Michael Patrick about doing a podcast about the behind-the-scenes making of Sex and the City,” Parker, who has settled into one of Carrie’s old chairs in her living room, tells me. “And we spoke about what we were missing in the pandemic: joy, community, the experience of being together. The world of Carrie and her friends has always been about coming home, and I felt like we needed that right now.” I tell Parker how, when I moved to the States from Israel two decades ago to go to graduate school, where I didn’t know a single person, one of the first things I bought was a full DVD set of SATC, because it reminded me of watching it with my girlfriends back in Tel Aviv. “Sex and the City has always been about the friendships that sustain you,” Parker says, nodding. “That, and the promise and potential this city holds.” When I speak to Kristin Davis, she is even bolder. “People are like, ‘Why should they come back?’ and it really bugs me. Are women’s lives not interesting now? Nobody ever asks, ‘Why would you do this violent remake over and over again?’ For me that is so indicative of our reluctance to sit and watch women’s lives develop over time.”

Parker is aware, however, that in 2021, a show in which a group of wealthy straight white women parade around the Upper East Side toting fistfuls of luxury-emporium shopping bags would not be reflective of where New York is right now—post-COVID, post-BLM. (“The incredible lack of diversity was the Achilles’ heel of the show, the first time around,” Nixon tells me.) It was important to both Parker and King to diversify the cast as well as the writers room. The Black actors Nicole Ari Parker and Karen Pittman have been brought on, as have Sara Ramírez, who is Mexican American and nonbinary, and Sarita Choudhury, who is of English and Bengali-Indian descent. “In no way were we interested in tokenism,” Sarah Jessica says. “You can’t bring people on the show and not let the camera be with them! These characters are all gifts to us.” When I talk to Ramírez, they confirm Parker’s view. “Sarah Jessica came into this project with such intentionality and care. I play a complicated queer character who’s smart and funny and sexy and dynamic,” they say. “I was a huge fan of Sex and the City back in the day,” says Samantha Irby, a new staff writer on the show, who is Black. “But there were some moments where I was like, If there had been a Black writer in the room, this would have probably played differently. Of course, things change in the span of 20 years. Approaching the Black and brown people on the show this time around, it was important to me to make them feel real and not just plopped in. That said, this isn’t meant to be preachy. I’d never want to write a scold-y show, where watching it is like taking your medicine.” (Parker, too, attempts to reassure on this point, promising the series won’t skimp on frivolity: “We’re keenly aware of the affection people have for certain things connected with the show. It’s like perfume: You have the beautiful packaging and the bottle, and then you have the juice.”) When I catch Nicole Ari Parker on the phone, she says, “The writers are skillful about having the characters, whether they’re of color or not, acknowledge the newness they’re experiencing. But it all fits in with the same beloved tone of the show. The clothes alone are to die for.” She laughs. “And let me tell you, there’s still a lot of sex in this version of Sex and the City.

“The world of Carrie and her friends has always been about coming home, and I felt like we needed that right now,” Parker says. Fendi Couture dress. Dior Fine Jewelry earrings.

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