And Just Like That… Kristin Davis Is Celebrating 25 Years Of “Sex And The City”

Kristin Davis

    1. DRESS: Dior
    JEWELRY: Pomellato

Photo Credit: John Russo








I spy with my little eye an unexpected item in Kristin Davis’ living room. It is a white love seat. Yes, that white love seat.

Die-hard fans of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Sex and the City franchise would have immediately clocked it as the once-pristine piece of furniture that Charlotte York (Davis’ character) comes home to find her husband, Harry Goldenblatt (played by Evan Handler), comfortably lounging on, stark-ass naked, in the season six episode “A Woman’s Right to Shoes.” Had it been an episode of Friends, it probably would have been called “The One With All of the Tea Bags” … just so you pick up what I’m putting down.

Now, the couch (which has been cleaned of course … duh) is here, 20 years later, looking picture-perfect in Davis’ Los Angeles home, surrounded by wood-paneled, floor-to-ceiling doors, tiled floors, and more white furniture. It’s almost as if a bare ass had never touched it. But what, pray tell, is it doing here?

It’s a good question, but the answer is even better. Contractually, Davis was able to take whatever the hell she wanted from the Sex and the City set, inclusive of clothes.  “It’s in our contracts that we could keep anything we wanted from the set. We were very smart to do that,” she says with a smile. But before you go pea green with envy (I mean, you still will, but this might make it slightly better), she amends, “Okay, okay, so not anything from the set necessarily, though I did take furniture, as did Sarah [Jessica Parker]. For some reason, [the set designers] didn’t want it back! I was like, What’s wrong with you guys? I’ll take it! But not all of it, of course, because where would I put it? That would be weird.”
But isn’t it ever-so-slightly weird to have a couch that your co-star put his bare cheeks on taking up prime real estate in your living room?

Personally, I wouldn’t be able to look at it without thinking of Harry and his tea bags, but luckily, Davis doesn’t have the same conundrum; she’s able to separate the two, like church and state. She says diplomatically, when asked, “I don’t necessarily think of that storyline every day, but I do see that piece of furniture every day.”

It’s not as if Charlotte is missing it. First off, Charlotte is fictional. Second, if she did exist in the flesh, she would have removed the aforementioned piece of furniture a long time ago, citing it as a potential health hazard, to be traded in for something much less messy and far more expensive. And lastly, given that Davis’ former deal with HBO still stands, there are so many new items to be had on SATC’s modern-day reboot, And Just Like That… . A new couch? Who knows. But designer clothing? Oh, that’s a given.

But in as much as the reboot follows a similar formula to its OG predecessor, real talk and modern-day issues facing the City girls we know and love, now in their fifties, are the cornerstone of the reboot. It is 2023 — the year of the original series’ 25th anniversary — after all. It was time to take the series from an exploration of friendship and sex to something more. And at age 58, Davis is more than qualified to showcase Charlotte’s personal growth.

Kristin Davis
DRESS: Louis Vuitton
JEWELRY: Van Cleef & Arpels

Photo Credit: John Russo

In the series’ second season, which debuts June 22 on Max, Charlotte is just where we’d expect her: living on the Upper East Side, the perfect mother and wife. Her twist: her youngest daughter, Rose, gender-fluid, refers to herself as “Rock” and refuses to fit in the cookie-cutter confines of what her mother had hoped for her, starting with a refusal to take part in an event that identifies her as a woman — her bat mitzvah.

“Charlotte’s big thing is how to parent her particular children the best she can, and that’s a learning curve for her because she is the perfectionist Charlotte that we know and love. Which is not always the best mentality to have when you’re a parent, that perfectionism,” Davis says.

A bigger challenge, she says, is something she herself personally struggled with: finding herself again. “Charlotte has devoted so many years to being Harry’s wife and the kids’ mom, being a good friend, and doing everything perfectly. But at a certain point, I think most moms — that I know at least — do kind of come to a point where they’re like, ‘I’ve got to get back to me. What do I want? What am I doing?’ So that’s some of what we’re going to be seeing from Charlotte, which I relate to definitely.”

Davis was all in when Parker and director and writer Michael Patrick King came a-calling during the pandemic. “I had no idea they wanted to talk about doing a show. But then I was like, Hallelujah, let’s do this! This is the best thing that could have ever happened,” she recalls.

And she was willing to do whatever was necessary to make it work. That meant shooting for seven straight months in New York City, traveling home across the country every single weekend to be with her children — 11-year-old Gemma Rose and 5-year-old Wilson — and only spending quality time with the two most important women in her professional life on set, hunkered down on the floor of their dressing rooms armed with takeout from Nobu or somewhere equally fabulous (Parker and Nixon, being both foodies and New Yorkers, taking turns doing the ordering) and chatting into the night as best friends are wont to do at any age.

“It’s such a luxury to not only be able to work, but to work with my friends of 25 years — but seven months is a long time to shoot, and a long time to be trying to go back and forth every weekend to see my kids,” Davis confesses. “I didn’t want to take them out of school because my daughter had just started middle school. I was able to get them started with school, so at least I felt like they had a routine, and my plan was not to come back every weekend. My plan was to maybe bring them out or, you know, skip a weekend here and there, but my 5-year-old was not having it. He was mad. So, I had to come back every weekend because I just felt so guilty. But this is what happens with trying to find a work-life balance.”

The rigorous shooting schedule was dotted with unwanted paparazzi and frigid days dressing in summer clothes during the winter months, with days on set during the New York City winter so cold that no amount of lipstick could disguise the bluish tint of Davis’ lips. Then, there was the task of laying the groundwork to keep fans of the show engaged, which was not an easy one.

There was the unexplained absence of Samantha (played on SATC by Kim Cattrall), the untimely on-screen demise of Mr. Big (played by Chris Noth), and the real-life passing of Stanford Blatch’s portrayer, Willie Garson, to contend with. The writers also had to create 10 years of backstory and craft a relatable world for a show that always had somewhat of a fantastical bent. (Ahem, the wardrobe! The apartment! Carrie Bradshaw’s salary as a writer combined with her wardrobe and apartment. Just saying.)

Kristin Davis
Dress: Chanel
Jewelry: Cartier

Photo Credit: John Russo

But Davis views the second season far more optimistically than she did the first, just as Charlotte might. “We did the heavy lifting last year; that’s the good news,” she says. “We’ve created a new world, new situations for Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda. People have a lot of feelings about these situations, and I get it, but this is how life is, right? Things happen that you don’t expect to happen, and you have to figure out how to handle them. But I would describe where we are heading into the second season as this: we don’t have to do as much heavy lifting. There are whole storylines that I have nothing to do with, kind of the way the show used to be where the four of us would split off and have our different storylines and then come together. Whereas last year, the three of us were together a lot. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.” 

This new iteration of Sex and the City also introduces some new characters in Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury), Lisa Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), and Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez, who is playing — spoiler alert — a love interest for Miranda), but can anyone truly replace Samantha Jones? Another spoiler alert here, but, well, it doesn’t look like anyone is going to have to. The web exploded in late May with news that Cattrall would be back to reprise her role —albeit for one scene only. 

Davis isn’t allowed to speak about the second season (“I can’t say anything about the season that is going to be a definitive, because I will be killed”), but she does share her take on the highly publicized contention between Parker and Cattrall that led to And Just Like That… becoming a triple act instead of a quadruple one. “The thing about all of that is that I do feel like it has been parsed and reparsed for years now, so much so that I don’t know that I have anything new to add. I will say this though: there’s a difference between the character and the person, right? I feel like fans of the show have feelings about all of us and we don’t want to disappoint people, but we can only deal with the realities of life and try to make them relatable. And I do think that it is relatable that sometimes people move out of your life or a little bit away from your life. That doesn’t mean they won’t come back, but friendships don’t always stay the same. I remember when the show was first going, everyone would be like, ‘Who has that much time to have coffee or food with their friends?’ I do feel, in my own life, there have been people that I would talk to every day: girlfriends I’d have coffee with when I was single, and others from a different phase when I was a young mom. I had other young mom friends and saw those mom friends every day because our kids were in the same play group. So, I do feel like it is relatable, just as I know that people still have feelings [about Samantha’s absence]. I totally understand, but we didn’t have a lot of choice. And we have some wonderful new friends.”

It’s all a part of that circle of life, the evolution of these sexy City girls into their older and (hopefully) wiser selves, dealing with issues like menopause, the end of a marriage, and death. It isn’t perfect, but it’s real. This is what Davis hopes will resonate with the viewers who tune in hoping to see the ladies re-engage in their sex-ploits of yesteryear … which, unfortunately, wouldn’t be relatable for all at this stage in their lives.
“We looked back on that first season, and we were like, ‘That’s really tough.’ Once we decided to do it, we were all on the phone, emailing, or texting. We were all like, ‘Let’s do this’ or ‘What about this?’ It just seemed exciting. I didn’t really think about the difficulties or the hurdles that we had to jump over in terms of kind of creating the newness around us. So, of course, the city’s the same, and we’re the same, but we did want to change and modernize the show, just as we did back in the day. This isn’t new to us. People forget that we did this before … but we remember, and we can do it again.”

Kristin Davis
TOP, PANTS & NECKLACE: Giorgio Armani
JEWELRY: Pomellato

Photo Credit: John Russo

And just like that … I’m back to thinking about Kristin Davis’ wardrobe. To be fair, after she told me that she could keep whatever she wanted, I never really stopped. But my green-eyed monster is fully re-engaged when she sighs, “Can I tell you, the major stress I have right now is where to put it all? Like, right now, my bedroom is literally covered in boxes because the second season is here, and I’m out of space. Argh!” She pauses. “I’m sorry,” she says contritely. “It sounds like a very, very bad thing to complain about, but it’s beautiful stuff, and I want to take care of it.”

I get it, because to Davis, it is much more than just “stuff.” These clothes are her history. They showcase every high and every low that both she and Charlotte have been through in their 25-year history together. Let’s just stop for a second to take in the gravity of those words, those years. Twenty-five years. Twenty-five years. Every dress, pair of shoes, and designer handbag — each and every sartorial moment — is another window into her evolution as an actress, as a woman, as a human.

“People used to say, ‘Oh, that show is all about the fashion and the shoes.’ Well, no, actually, it was about female sexuality and friendships, about creating your own path and living your truth, not necessarily adhering to the stereotypical idea of what a woman’s life should look like. The fashion and the shoes were just the icing on the cake,” she declares.

To this day, though 20 years have passed and the women are well out of their thirties, it is still about female sexuality and friendships, but something more, too. It’s also about how paths can diverge, why perfection isn’t feasible, and how life never quite ends up the way you think it will.

Take Davis’ life as the perfect example. She nearly gave up on her dream of becoming an actor, until fate intervened and she was given the gift of Charlotte — a character who has provided her with riches, both literal and figurative, beyond her wildest dreams.

“I don’t even want to imagine my life without her,” Davis says now. She admits that before she was cast in the role, she nearly even gave up acting. “There was a moment in time where I even asked the universe to send me a sign [that I was doing the right thing by becoming an actor].” 

Davis goes back in time to age 29, when she had just completed her certification to become a yoga teacher. She shares, “I got my certificate at the original YogaWorks in Santa Monica before it was on every street corner in every city in the US. My girlfriend and I — my goddaughter’s mother — were both out-of-work actresses, and she had gotten hers at the same time, so we were going to teach together. We had a little class in a karate studio during the day, and it was fun, but it wasn’t enough. I remember telling my mom that I had a timeline, that I needed something more fulfilling. I had a lightbulb moment about it, and so I said, ‘If I don’t get something substantial by this date, maybe I need to be a full-time yoga teacher.’ And then I got Melrose Place.”

Prior to playing Brooke Armstrong on Darren Star’s primetime soap, Davis had mostly done one-off gigs on shows like ER and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, with the exception of an 18-episode arc on General Hospital, but Melrose was a definitive sign that she was on the right path.
“It seemed pretty clear,” she says now, while simultaneously noting that she truly never imagined just how successful SATC would become. “If I had not gotten Sex and the City, I think I would have just been in that big
pool of people who are just struggling to get work, which is hard and not necessarily even based on talent,” Davis says. Only she did get it … but she doesn’t attribute winning the role — or the success she had following — to just one thing: “People ask me all the time what the secret to success is, but I don’t think there is a secret. If anything, it’s working as  hard as you could work, being in the right place at the right time, and being ready when that right time happens. You can’t leave out either work or timing, because it’s both. If you’re not ready and that moment happens, then you’re not going to be ready to step into that spot. And even if you are ready, stepping into that spot is scary and hard.”

Kristin Davis
JEWELRY: Pomellato

Photo Credit: John Russo

Davis was ready, but to this day, she still has scars from the criticism that came — and still comes, to some degree — with being in the public eye. “I really started working at age 30 when I got the job on Melrose Place, and it was literally a place of stick-skinny women with blond hair and blue eyes, and I felt very much like, What am I doing here? It was stressful,” she recalls.

And now? She still cares about what is said about her, within reason, but at almost 60 years old, the public opinion of strangers matters a hell of a lot less.

The Melrose days might have been bad for her self-confidence, but they were nothing in comparison to the cruelty she faced in her early days playing Charlotte. Back then, the press was brutal and ruthlessly unfair in its physical depiction of her.

“All of the body shaming I’ve been subjected to for the past 25 years, pretty much until recently, [is the only bad thing about playing Charlotte],”she confides. I express incredulity — what is there to shame? — she’s beautiful and glowing, even over Zoom, with minimal makeup and a brunette mane in tumbled waves. Even the giant, gold-rimmed granny glasses she’s wearing only serve to enhance her beauty. That said, the way we feel about ourselves is a reflection of time and place, and at one point in time, the tabloids couldn’t seem to stop calling Sarah Jessica “skinny,” while Kristin was consistently referred to as “pear-shaped.”

“[Those magazines] would [write things] like ‘Kristin’s hips are bigger than her shoulders,’ and I’m like, But they’re not! And then I’m like, Well, who cares? What if they are? But I mean, it’s just ongoing.”

And then she references one of the most personally hurtful moments. While living in Manhattan, Davis remembers walking home one night and having a craving for her cheat food: M&M’s. When she went to buy her snacks, the cashier, a woman, said, “Oh, I can’t sell you those,” Davis remembers. “And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ She goes, ‘You can’t eat those,’ and she kind of points at my hips. I was so sad. I was like, The bodega lady will not sell me M&M’s. What the heck? I cried all the way home. I walked and cried, walked and cried.”

Kristin Davis
JEWELRY: Pomellato

Photo Credit: John Russo

I express outrage on her behalf, but she’s pragmatic about it now, after all this time. “I don’t mean to defend her, but if it’s in the magazines every week, it’s kind of like, Okay, you don’t know any better. This is what you’re being fed. But that was the ocean that we swam in at the time. I don’t think Cynthia [Nixon] would agree with me — she has a stronger, tougher mentality about it all — but for me, it is really hard to hear things like that, and then be told, ‘Oh, everyone should love their bodies.’ When you’ve had decades of this coming at you, it’s really hard to just be like, Yes, I’m great, I’m good. I love my body. I’m working on it obviously, and now I do care less, thank God. But also, part of the reason I care less is because when you get older, the expectations are less, in a way. Everyone wants to dissect your face, right? Then your body isn’t the feature attraction. I’m certainly not immune to it all. You try not to look at it, but it permeates things. I’ve definitely cried. I’ve definitely had what you would call ‘disordered eating’ over the years, but I’m good now. I’ve been working on myself. And that is one thing you learn from doing it for a long time: you go, Here I am! This is me! That does come with time. And it’s true: here I am, and I am not perfect. I shouldn’t have to say that, but I’m happy to.”

It’s a powerful realization to have at any age — that perfection doesn’t exist, and that she doesn’t need it to. That she’s finally stopped giving a shit feels great. And with that freedom, she’s allowed all of her choices to simply be the right ones. Okay, so right now, she’s too busy to actually focus on herself — she’d like more time to take a bubble bath or read a book — but that means she does have the time to work with her friends, take her daughter to riding lessons on the weekends, and do yoga when she can. And it was all because she followed the right path. 

“I’m just really lucky in that I always knew what I wanted to do, so I didn’t have that angst of trying to find myself. I didn’t really have that phase. I already had a very myopically focused viewpoint of what I wanted to do. It wasn’t what I’ve ended up doing, which was regional theater; that was the ceiling that I set for myself, regional theater and maybe Broadway if I was lucky.”

Luckiest of all, of course, was getting cast as Charlotte. She knows how different her life might have looked had she not been cast in the role, and as such, has never, ever regretted accepting it. “I mean, there were definitely times where I was like, Oh, I guess no one is going to cast me as like a cop or whatever. But then I was like, Oh, whatever … you know what I mean? Like, how can you control that? You can’t. And I love Charlotte. If I didn’t like Charlotte, it would be different, obviously.”

Kristin Davis
SUIT: Michael Kors
JEWELRY: Pomellato

Photo Credit: John Russo

It’s hard not to love the character to whom she owes her best supporting actress nominations for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe; her two Screen Actors Guild Awards with her co-stars; and the visibility that has led to countless roles, inclusive of films like Couples Retreat and Deck the Halls as well as theater projects such as Gore Vidal’s Tony Award-nominated play, The Best Man. She has been able to make a difference because of her platform, serving as a patron to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and as a goodwill ambassador with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the UN Refugee Agency.

Also, it’s hard to dislike someone that’s a part of you, and Charlotte has become more like Davis as time has gone on (not vice versa). Davis loves her optimism, how she fusses over friends and family, and her inherent goodness. But as for her favorite moments in Charlotte’s history? Well, those are much more recent. The first she recalls was from a table read for the second season of And Just Like That… . She can’t share the story due to her  NDA, but she will say it is a storyline so funny that she and her co-stars literally fell out of their chairs while reading the scene. “We couldn’t get ourselves together — at least, I couldn’t. It was so crazy hard to say those words out loud, especially in that group setting. I don’t know what came over me. I had read the script before, and I knew this was coming, but there’s a big difference between reading something so embarrassing on your own and then reading it out loud as your 50-something-year-old selves, reading these things that we might have also read when we were 35. It’s just a mind-bending, really bizarre time-travel type of weird moment and also an embarrassing topic.” (In case you, like me, are dying to know what this moment was all about, she says we are certain to know exactly what it is when we see it this season. Humph.)

Her second favorite memory revolves around the release of the first Sex and the City film in 1998. “There was a lot of anxiety about whether people would go to see it, and whether we would disappoint the studio, and all of that pressure,” she remembers, sharing, “I had gone out to buy some milk or something with the person I was dating at the time, and I had a hat on. It was nighttime, dark out. So, we’re walking down the street, and all of a sudden, I hear giggling. We see these eight women in dresses and heels going to this movie theater on the Upper West Side. And then I realized they were going to see our movie. It was so amazing to feel that support and to know that I was part of something that resonated.”

Since we’re reminiscing about the past (as one does when discussing a milestone this big), Davis shares her final thoughts on this epic 25-year journey. “I think the most interesting part is that, in the beginning, the world had low expectations for us. Like, what is this Sex show? But the craziest part is that [to this day] we still have to prove ourselves. People forget, but we were here before Bridesmaids. It was basically unheard of to have female leads on film who were not in their 20s. And the consensus back then was like, No one will go see it; no one goes to see movies with only women. And then of course, all of our wonderful fans came out; it was so much bigger than anyone thought. No one could believe that it was so successful. [The same thing happened for the second film.] Then, when the pandemic hit … we were just like, Oh, it might be done. We’re okay with that. We can let it go. But then we were like, This is so silly. We have these incredible characters and this incredible fan base and why shouldn’t our lives still be interesting over 50? If the world is telling you that, why should you just say, Okay, well, that’s fine. I’ll just live my own life and pretend like it’s really, really boring. Why?” 

Why, indeed. But it’s a powerful thing to know that Davis is changing the narrative.    

Kristin Davis
Jumpsuit : Ralph Lauren
Shoes : Jimmy Choo
Jewelry & Watch: Van Cleef & Arpels

Photo Credit: John Russo