The One Thing Sarah Jessica Parker Wants For Women Everywhere
Sarah Jessica Parker is a fashion and pop culture icon for the ages. But she's also been a staunch advocate for women in Hollywood long before #TimesUp was announced. On this week's Girlboss Radio, she tells us why "choice" is the ultimate success.
When Sarah Jessica Parker first landed the role of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, the opportunity to play the soon-to-be-iconic character was the opportunity of a lifetime. But that wasn't the only big shot she was about to take; show creator Darren Star, the brains behind Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, asked her to be a producer.
"In New York," she explains to Sophia on this week's Girlboss Radio, "we all pay attention to who's producing, and we all have a lot of strong feelings about those people. But I hadn't thought of it. I hadn't been observing, like, shadowing."
"I started just listening and learning and trying to surround myself or just be among the people that I thought were making really good, smart choices, and who seemed to really understand how to handle people and business and numbers and studios," she says. "I ended up just loving it. It became an enormously important part of that experience for me."
It's a revelation that came as something of a surprise, because from the time she landed her first role in The Little Match Girl in 1974, acting was her sole dream and focus. "I just really love the idea of being somebody else," Parker explains. "I was perfectly happy in my own life, but this escape to this other story just was... really seductive."
That inclination clearly paid off; aside from a babysitting gig here and there in high school, acting was the only career she'd ever known—that is, until she became a producer. In the wake of SATC's success, Parker went on to establish her production company Pretty Matches Productions in 2009, and to executive produce Divorce, the HBO hit in which she also stars. And in the years since, she's been a fierce advocate for providing opportunities for women in Hollywood.
It's no surprise, of course, that she's become a prominent voice of the Time's Up movement after Reese Witherspoon asked for her help. And she insists that there's precisely nothing about the movement that is polarizing: "It's not very controversial; [these are] just the pillars on which we should be out in the world functioning, and there should be parity and equality, and people should feel safe at work. The idea was that we should look inward first. We should clean up house inside our industry."
Listen to the full episode below for a look at SJP's journey to pop culture icon status, her thoughts on the significance of #TimesUp, and why you (maybe) shouldn't marry your best friend.
On running a production company:
"Our goal is obviously to tell a wide variety of stories with diverse characters, from all sorts of places in the world and socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities."
On the importance of seeing an experience through:
“The more time you spend doing the least glamorous [parts of the job], the more you learn the details that are the most important.”
On regaining perspective:
“You need people who love you and care about you to remind to [take a] step back.”
On the goal of Time’s Up:
"The big goal is parity, equality, safe work environment."
On finding balance in her marriage to husband Matthew Broderick:
"We have lives that allow us to be away and come back together. His work life takes him here and mine takes me there. In some ways, I think that that's been enormously beneficial, because we have so much to share."
On her Divorce character, Francis:
"I don't know if she's likable. I guess I don't really care…I think she’s interesting and real."
On what success means to her:
"It means choice...and it's the thing I want so much for every woman. "
Words: Eva Grant