Sarah Jessica Parker may share some of the fashion frivolity of her “Sex and the City” character Carrie Bradshaw, but she’s also a shrewd businesswoman whose feet are firmly planted on the ground.
Parker on Thursday spoke with Forbes Media chairman Steve Forbes at the Forbes Women’s Summit held at Chelsea Piers in New York. Asked how she transitioned from child actor to adult actress without going off the rails, Parker said having seven brothers and sisters and parents who discouraged diva tendencies helped.
“My parents were cognizant of the many land mines,” she said. “They really wanted me to work mostly in the theater because they felt the chances were better that I’d turn out OK.”
Parker added, referring to “Sex,” “I did this show and people watched it. I wanted to continue the search. I really like the hunt. It makes me smarter. Any success I have makes me greedier. The more I learn, the more I want to try. I have an insatiable curiosity.”
She has the same risk-taking impulses in business. When she launched her first fragrance with Coty Inc., she was surprised to find that she connected with business. “The margins and profits, I loved it.”
Because of “that show” and the relationship her character had with shoes, offers to do footwear kept popping up. She finally called George Malkemus, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik USA, and two years ago, they launched SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Her now-defunct clothing line Bitten and short tenure as creative director of Halston Heritage, though disappointing, were learning experiences. “I loved when my heart was broken — the agony, the heartbreak,” she said. “I like pushing on a bruise a little bit because it’s good for you.”
Parker’s new series, “Divorce,” launches on HBO in the fall. She is also vice chairman of the New York City Ballet. “We’re all better people, more complete people,” she said, “the more we’re exposed to the arts.”