Forever etched in our hearts as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and The City,” Sarah Jessica Parker proves she’s still got it with this summer’s sizzling season two return of “And Just Like That.” Not one to rest on her laurels, the powerhouse entrepreneur constantly challenges herself beyond acting as well, diving headfirst into exciting new ventures. From her wine collaboration with Ivivo to opening her chic flagship boutique in downtown New York City, to launching her brand new literary imprint SJP Lit, Parker never hits the brakes.
And she’s also the rarest of celebrities—one who wears her fame lightly and gratefully and is not even the teeniest bit jaded. So of course, we couldn’t help but wonder (sorry, it had to be done!): Could she really be as hardworking, humble, and kind as she appears?
The answer—a resounding yes— was confirmed recently when SJP chatted with Serendipity about her enduring love affair with books, returning to Sex and the City, and the unique experience of collaborating with her husband, the legendary Matthew Broderick, on Broadway. Read on for the full scoop:
What excited you most about creating your book imprint, SJP Lit?
I loved working with publisher Molly Stern at [former book line] SJP for Hogarth, so when she started developing her new company Zando, I wanted to be part of it. I had met and been able to publish such extraordinary authors with her that I wanted to do it again. I am excited about publishing global voices and bringing their voices to readers. There are so many opportunities to be in someone else’s country and read their story. Thus began our search for manuscripts.
What kind of books can we expect from SJP Lit?
Our first book, “Quitter’s Paradise,” is an extraordinary story about a young American woman, but really it’s about family, culture, grief, and identity. Identity in terms of who you are in your family and how you create and honor your family. Our next book, “Coleman Hill,” is incredible because it’s a history lesson about the Northern Migration but also a deeply moving, funny, epic story of America. The characters are so compelling and rich and broken, and it’s so beautifully observed. Books are a unique opportunity to cultivate compassion and curiosity, and when the writing is good, it transports you.
Who do you like to discuss books with?
My love of reading came from my mom, so we always text each other titles or trade books. My daughter Loretta is obsessed with reading, and she just read “A Little Life,” which is her favorite book of all time. She’s reading “The Goldfinch” now, which thrills me to no end!
I read that your mother discouraged television and had each of her children carry a library book when leaving the house. In the age of social media, how do you think your mother would have parented?
First, we would not have had phones because they would not have been affordable. If she had been witness to the evolution of it, she would have absolutely not just objected—like my attempts with my children—but she would have forbidden it. I guarantee you! She would have forbidden any of that as a distraction from keeping your head in a book. And I really do believe she’s right because even as I spend 15 minutes looking at my phone, I think, ‘I’ve just wasted 15 minutes, and what did I get from it? Absolutely nothing.’
You are a legendary hard worker and have multiple businesses. Do you credit your ballet training for your work ethic?
I think ballet is all about discipline, and it was hugely influential for me in understanding that hard work has dividends. Ballet is an accumulation of effort and discipline. The most valuable part of that lesson is that dividends aren’t necessarily seen. One of the things I talk most to my children about is what victories are. What is a triumph? It’s not important for the world to always see it; it’s how you feel about yourself.
You always seem so even, energetic, and upbeat. How do you maintain such a positive outlook in life?
You have to think, “OK, this was a hard day at work; this was a hard day at the shop,” and you just have to summon some kind of strength or determination to get through it. It doesn’t mean you’re not left awake at night thinking. “God, how am I going to deal with this??” but if you want to be in it, you can’t be half in and half out. You’re all in or out, in my opinion.
Can you believe it’s the 25th anniversary of Sex And The City?
I really can’t! I don’t understand how it happened!
What surprised you most about returning to the character of Carrie in And Just Like That?
Coming back in the first season, I had to remember things—like how Carrie walked, talked, and certain functional things that I think matter. And a catastrophic event in her life (Big’s death) changed her world, so I wasn’t playing buoyant Carrie; I was playing somebody who was grieving. Not only was I returning to someone I hadn’t been playing in a long time, but her world was different. Coming back for the second season, Carrie has resurfaced and is more comfortably single in a city she loves, so the terrain is more familiar.
You and Matthew are headed to London in January to star in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, which was a huge success during its Broadway run last year. Are you excited?
I’m really excited, and any actor who works in the theater dreams of playing in the West End. It’s such a big deal! And we’re so thrilled we’re going to be at The Savoy, a legendary theater in London. All of that is exciting, but there’s this inner, chronic worry about walking away from my kids. It was a big family decision to say yes to it because it was going to take us away from the girls for 12 weeks, but they were all so enthusiastic. James Wilkie said, “You guys have to do this,” and Loretta and Tabitha were like, “Absolutely! We’ll be fine, we’ll be fine”. And no doubt they will be; it’s just, will I be?
What is the best part of working with Matthew?
Everything he does on stage, and in particular this play, Plaza Suite, because he’s such a famously great interpreter of Neil Simon. He spent many years of his career working on Simon’s pieces on stage and in movies, so he just understands the voice and the culture of Neil Simon. Watching him work, figuring out things alongside him, and knowing I’m in the best hands on stage with him is very enjoyable! And we get to play three different parts, so it’s always active and feels new every single time the curtain goes up. It’s very, very pleasant—thank God!
Does Matthew mind that you always have your head in a book?
When I first went on a trip with Matthew before we were married, we were in a country he had spent a lot of time in, and I, of course, had a book. I was reading in the car, and he kept saying, “Look out the window! You’re missing things. Look out the window!” I did think he was upset that the book was taking time from seeing things he wanted me to see. So I understand that reading can seem antisocial sometimes, but Matthew would never deprive me of it because he knows too well that it would be like saying, “Remove your arm.”