In recent years, Sarah Jessica Parker has found herself at the center of a seemingly never-ending debate about how women age in the public eye. Whether it was legitimate questions about ageism in “And Just Like That” or far less legitimate critiques of her own face, Parker has taken hit after hit—and has remained a stunning, brilliant woman in her 50s while doing so.
While speaking to Allure’s Dianna Mazzone about aging, she said simply, “My face is my face. It is what it is.”
Parker, who has been celebrated as a cultural and style icon for decades, elaborated on her own experience living and working on big and small screens for years — and how her appearance has been studied and examined for most of that time. While many women working in a public-facing position (and many women who are not) have had to contend with how others receive their appearance at one point or another, it seems like Parker has had to contend with it more than most.
“Do I want to participate in stopping time? No. [Get a] time machine? No. What small effort can I make toward feeling OK,” she asked. “I have to look in the mirror for work a lot and I can’t be in total denial about the reality, and I’d like to feel good, and I’d like other people to think I’m presentable. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands. People have opinions.”
And boy, do they. In November 2021, Parker, along with castmates Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, were rocked by misogynistic comments about their physical appearances when “And Just Like That” debuted. It seemed as if many had somehow forgotten that the show picks up eleven years after the last “Sex and the City” movie was released, and forgotten that the women (and men!) at the heart of the series would, of course, have continued to age in that time.
Parker told Vogue, “There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would never. Happen. About. A. Man. ‘Gray hair, gray hair, gray hair. Does she have gray hair?’”
Only months before the comment, the actress had been photographed out with friends without her signature blonde Carrie Bradshaw locks. One of those friends was none other than Andy Cohen, who notably sports a full head of gray hair.
Parker added, “I’m sitting with Andy Cohen, and he has a full head of gray hair, and he’s exquisite. Why is it OK for him? I don’t know what to tell you people!”
Hair isn’t the only feature that audiences apparently never expected any of the women on the series to change. Davis later admitted to having dabbled in fillers and botox, which led to her being “ridiculed relentlessly” for having done so; in the same Vogue interview, Nixon defended the Max series and said, “I like that we’re not trying to youthify the show. We’re not including, like, a 21-year-old niece.” (Che Diaz is unrelated.)
Over two years later, it appears little has changed for Parker and her costars. Instead of fielding questions about what’s next for Carrie now that she and Aidan have parted ways for the next five years, conversations about sexuality in your 50s and 60s — or even how she really feels about her favorite outfits from Season 2 (something that Parker and fans alike have taken great joy in dissecting in years past) — she’s giving interview after interview addressing the simple fact that she’s getting older, a goal that all of us should have.
While speaking to Allure, Parker asked two questions: “Do I wish people were nicer to each other, especially women? Sure. Is it going to dominate the way I choose to live and how much time I devote to hoping to appeal to them?”
Maybe it did, once upon a time. But these days, she said, “I have no interest after a while. I just want to feel decent when I wake up.”
And finally, she concluded, there’s something that comes with aging that can’t be taken away once you’ve achieved it. Parker added, “I think [with aging comes] more certainty. You’re less timid. You’re asking fewer questions about, ‘Should I?’ ‘Can I?’ ‘Is that OK?’ ‘Is that allowed?’ With age and experience, you feel more certain about your place in the world.”