Candace Bushnell On ‘And Just Like That,’ Being Her Own Mr. Big


One age-old question has captivated gal pals everywhere: Are you a Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha, or Carrie?

From countless online quizzes to heated discussions over drinks, choosing which Sex and the City character you most identify with has been a topic of debate since 1998. The framework is vague enough to fit into friendships of all kinds, but the results are honored as much as someone’s moon sign. It looks something like this: Are you “A,” the poised and ambitious Miranda? “B,” the desire-forward Samantha? “C,” the fairytale romance-inspired Charlotte? Or “D,” the charismatic and complex Carrie?

Candace Bushnell falls into “E,” all of the above.


ICYDK, Bushnell wrote the original “Sex and the City” columns for the New York Observer—a sharp and witty look at her friends’ sex lives—from 1994 to 1996. She wrote under the pen name “Carrie Bradshaw,” later selling the screen rights, and ceding creative control, to Darren Star, who brought the HBO series to life.

Now, after penning 10 books (including 4 Blondes and Is There Still Sex in the City?) then executive and co-producing the hit TV series inspired by those books (Sex And The City, The Carrie Diaries, and Lipstick Jungle), Bushnell is stepping out from the behind the camera and onto center stage—in this season’s chicest Manolos, of course.

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Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big from an episode of Sex and the City.


In her new one-woman show “The True Tales of Sex, Success, and Sex In The City,” Bushnell is the main character—and she’s showing everyone that she’s a separate entity from the fictional one she inspired.

Women’s Health spoke with Bushnell about how her one-woman show tells a new story that ventures far beyond And Just Like That’s Carrie Bradshaw, and how she’s continuing to step into an identity that’s completely her own—while still inspiring countless others.

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Bushnell is her own Mr. Big, and she thinks anyone can be, too.

Sex and the City made huge waves in pop culture—it introduced designer fashion labels like Prada and Hermès to the masses, popularized cocktail-hour cosmopolitans, and glamorized the Hamptons. After just one season, Bushnell could already see the hold SATC had on its audience.

“Everybody went out and got The Rabbit,” she tells WH, referencing a season 1 episode from 1998 where Miranda convinces Charlotte to buy a pink vibrator called The Rabbit. (Charlotte quickly becomes obsessed with it.) The Rabbit, made by Vibratex, subsequently saw a 700 percent jump in sales in 1999, according to Forbes.

And to Bushnell, the TV show’s impact mirrors today’s influencer culture: “I feel like Sex and the City was the first influencer show because whatever was on that show, people bought,” Bushnell tells WH.

Ever the savvy businesswoman, she capitalized on that intense fascination. Even though her column was written 30 years ago, Bushnell is still pounding the pavement in her personal-turned-professional pursuits.

Her unfiltered onstage memoir chronicles Bushnell’s early career as an emerging cultural journalist up to the present day. The show sets the record straight on how Bushnell’s trajectory differs from Carrie’s, and the disparities are as well-documented as Carrie’s shopping addiction.

“While Carrie is being broken up with on a billboard, I’m getting a million-dollar deal,” Bushnell says in her show. “While Carrie is dating Patrovsky, I’m writing my fourth book.”

She even pinpoints the exact moment their two paths diverged: “When I saw Carrie have an affair with her married ex-boyfriend, that’s when I un-became Carrie,” she says on stage. (She’s referring to a season 3 plot twist, at which time, Bushnell was no longer part of the show’s writer’s room.)

So, even though the iconic character, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, may have once closely resembled Bushnell, she’s chosen to live a very different life than her made-for-TV counterpart.

Offstage, Bushnell wed and then divorced ballet dancer Charles Askegard. She swapped her Upper West Side apartment for a Sag Harbor farmhouse, and adapted her latest novel, Is There Still Sex in the City?, into her one-woman show.

“I don’t feel like the character of Carrie Bradshaw because I didn’t marry Mr. Big, and my message is so different and my life has been so different,” Bushnell tells WH. “I have such a strong sense of who I am and what my message is in the world.”

Her message? “For women to be their own Mr. Big—as opposed to looking for Mr. Big.”

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Candace Bushnell, creator and inspiration behind Sex and the City’s famed heroine, Carrie Bradshaw.

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Bushnell’s ‘bonus years’ look nothing like Carrie’s—and that’s the point.

Yes, Bushnell has most definitely seen And Just Like That. She loves the Max show, but no longer sees herself in Carrie. The differences between 57-year-old Carrie Bradshaw and 64-year-old Bushnell have become even more stark as the revival winds its way through its sophomore season.

In fact, as Bradshaw enters her self-titled “bonus years,” she’s found complete distance from that old version of herself. “I don’t know how to be any version of Carrie Bradshaw anymore,” she says during her show.

And season 2 viewers who once identified with the plucky protagonist are starting to say the same.

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Case in point: In season 2 episode 2, Carrie is unable to read an ad for a vaginal suppository on her podcast, clearly struggling to parse her stance around sex and sexuality at 50.

Meanwhile, Bushnell has been there, done that. In 2007, she hosted her own XM Satellite Radio show, Candace Bushnell’s Sex, Success and Sensibility, which focused on “candid, bawdy and fun” topics for female listeners. (After the 2008 Sirius and XM Satellite Radio merger, Bushnell was asked to continue with a 50 percent pay cut, which she refused.)

Bushnell may not totally agree with the path Carrie has taken in life, but she’s certainly willing to live and let live. She’s simply ready to tell a new story—one that climaxes with the F word: fulfillment.

“She [Carrie] was all about finding love, and I think that’s a great fun message for a TV show. But for women in real life, I think it’s about being self-actualized,” she tells WH.

Bushnell isn’t against finding love, but she has a very nonchalant attitude about her dating life these days, choosing to focus on herself and her friendships. “Instead of avoiding cooking, I garden. Instead of smoking, I practice hula hooping,” she says onstage.

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Ultimately, Bushnell wants women of all ages to feel comfortable living “unconventional” lifestyles like her own. Her surroundings have shifted from noisy city to serene silence—and that, too, has made room for her life story (and her ability to tell that story) to grow. “I can finally hear my own voice,” she says near the end of her performance.

She hits on this idea at another point, as she stands tall under the stage lights, her blue feather Pat Boa dress merging into the backdrop.

“You can’t rely on a relationship for a roof over your head,” she says. So while “there is still some sex,” these days, Bushnell is only interested in capturing the attention of one “big” figure: “Mr. Pulitzer.”

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Assistant Social Media Editor

Isabel McMahon is the assistant social media editor at Women’s Health, where she manages the brand’s Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and more. She’s a proud former college-radio DJ, Pisces Sun, and novice doomsday prepper.

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