Doing press for “And Just Like That” is one of the stranger experiences in Nicole Ari Parker’s professional life. Normally, episodes would’ve been shared, synopsis would be out — and the interest level would likely be, well, without a rabid fan base with utterly high expectations.
Yet, even the day before the show’s premiere, the “Sex and the City” reboot has not been viewed by anyone, meaning that Parker’s job is rather difficult.
“I’m talking in circles. Just saying words,” she says. “Very broad strokes, saying nothing.”
Parker is one of four new cast members, all people of color, who join Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte (Samantha, as is much discussed, does not appear) in the reboot. All she can say about her character is the following: “I’m a married mother of three, I’m a documentarian. I am really rich and really fashionable.” Vague, yes, but sounds like a lot of fun.
“People are having strong reactions and they haven’t even seen anything. I think that, from what I can tell, most people love the friendship that’s there. And there’s new friends. So, it’s like all the girl stuff is still there. The shoes are still there, the lip gloss is still there. The sex is still there,” Parker says. “All the key ingredients. To life. Friends, shoes, sex, lip gloss.”
It’s going to be a good watch, but it’s also going to inspire women to chase their dreams at any stage of life, Parker promises.
“Every woman is extremely dynamic in her life, like a grown-up woman is. Everyone is talking about aging and all these things, and I’m like…not only are the characters fabulous, and I mean, these actors are fabulous. This is an empire that they’ve created, a franchise that they created. This is history. This is magical. We shouldn’t discuss one single thing about looks other than, ‘Damn, they look good,’” she says.
“They are good. They’re incredible. They’re inspiring. Like, ‘Oh, that’s what 50 looks like?’ If I’m 20 years old watching this show, if I’m 40 watching this show, I’m like, ‘Oh, I better dust off my dreams and get to work.’ Not, ‘Oh, I have to get something done to my skin.’ None of that. I mean, it’s a wake-up call. You get your s–t together. At any age, as women, I think as people, we should always stay tapped into that feeling of, ‘Where am I just beginning? And where am I brand new?’”
Being cast in the show meant a return to New York, where Parker had previously lived for 13 years. When news of her casting was announced, it was around the same time it came out that Kim Cattrall wouldn’t be joining the reboot, and people immediately assumed she was replacing Samantha (she clarifies that she most definitely is not).
“I think that was just symptomatic of everybody wanting to know what was going on. Who was back, who wasn’t. And I was one of four new characters added to the show, and I think just for some reason that day — I was shooting when it first started — so, the first paparazzi pictures got a sneak peek, because we were shooting in a location in the city with glass windows. It just leaked that a new character was on the set, and so everybody just ran with, ‘Oh, this is the new Samantha,’” she says. “And then it was a groundswell. And then all over the world, people chiming in in different languages, like, ‘I will not watch it.’ ‘Who is this Nicole?’ It was tough. I didn’t know the scope of what I was stepping into, and everyone assured me, like, ‘Just give it a minute. Don’t chime in.’ And then slowly the other characters were revealed, and their fan base kicked in, and then everybody calmed down. So, it found its way, and I think everybody’s ready now.”
Her character, Lisa Todd Wexley, also came with the wardrobe one would hope for when joining anything “Sex and the City” adjacent.
“OK, just the wardrobe fittings alone. Racks and racks of shoes to find the right pair for one outfit. It’s a girl’s dream. It’s a shopper girl’s dream,” Parker says. “I’m a bag and shoe girl. And Molly Rogers and Danny [Santiago], they all did such a great job with just every detail all the way down to the jewelry, the bracelet, even if you might not have seen it in the frame, my sunglasses. And it was just endless. And yummy.”
The highlight reel is endless.
“There were a lot. What am I talking about? Every outfit I wanted to keep. There were pieces that there’s only one left in the world. A Fendi hat, or my thigh-high Moschino boots, or satin Dries Van Noten,” she says. “I mean, like Mark Davis lucite bracelets. Oh, and the Libertine suit. And then my house, even the art department was fabulous. Like, when we did scenes in my character’s apartment, it was magical.”
Being one of the new girls came with intimidation, which she says quickly went away after getting to know Sarah Jessica, Kristin and Cynthia. But the first day? Major nerves.
“I was definitely in awe of them. I was a little starstruck the first 15 minutes. That first day, I was messing up my lines,” she says. “I’m staring into SJ’s eyes, and Kristin’s smile, and Cynthia’s beauty, and I’m just like, ‘Uh, can I get another take?’”