My first job in New York was as a P.A. on Sarah Jessica Parker's 1996 movie If Lucy Fell. Tasked with guarding a stack of equipment underneath the Brooklyn Bridge overnight, I was promoted to Sarah Jessica's stand-in when her own didn't show up. This required me to ride a bike back and forth across the bridge until the crew got the lighting for the scene right so filming could begin. If you had told me then that in 20 years I would be interviewing Parker for a magazine I would edit, I might have fallen off that bike.
But here I am, at her office in Manhattan's Flatiron District, which is lined with dozens and dozens of shoes (from her SJP collection and others). People like to talk to her about shoes, but as she says, "I love shoes, but I also love books and architecture and politics and other people and travel and conflict." So we talked at length about all those things and more, including her latest project: starring in and executive-producing Divorce, which premieres on HBO in October.
Here, a few highlights from our interview, in our September issue on newsstands August 16:
On marriage and divorce: "For me, it's really the investment in the other person. And it's the expectations you have. They change and you get smarter, and maybe you think those expectations aren't worth striving for with this person, and that's when people bail."
On her new show being compared to Sex and the City: "I love the way the pilot episode opens because everyone's asking, "Oh, is this a spin-off of Sex and the City?" And the moment that the opening scene ends, and you see her give him the finger, you know it's very different."
On being a feminist: "I am not a feminist. I don't think I qualify. I believe in women and I believe in equality, but I think there is so much that needs to be done that I don't even want to separate it anymore. I'm so tired of separation. I just want people to be treated equally."
On the gender pay gap: "I would like all of that nonsense to end. I would like women to get paid for the value of their contributions, not by old-fashioned ideas about gender."
On other actresses speaking out in Hollywood: "Listen, Jennifer Lawrence deserves every bit as much as her male counterpart. It's indisputable. Emma Watson is an amazing young woman, and it's important for her to talk about women's issues. She isn't concerned about herself. Women are paying the bills, getting it done, getting the kids here and there. The more we address that, we are all going to be better."
On her children: "I'm so desperate for my children to be curious people. I just want them to be happy and curious."
Read the full interview and see more pics in the September issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands August 16. And for a little behind-the-scenes action to hold you over, see more of Parker at her cover shoot here: