Sarah Jessica Parker Would Never Post a Selfie: The Style Icon Talks About Instagram, Divorce, and Her New Movie

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Photography by Yu Tsai

Still a style icon more than a decade after the end of Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker remains as relevant today as she did at the show’s height, with a gangbusters shoe line, bestselling fragrance (now re-released on its ten-year anniversary), upcoming HBO series, and new film All Roads Lead to Rome hitting theaters and video on demand February 5. We talked to the actress about her upcoming movie, why she’s embarrassed by selfies, and what she has to say about the SATC ending.

Yahoo Style: Congratulations on the movie! What drew you to the film?

Sarah Jessica Parker: I’ve been an admirer of [director] Ella Lemhagen’s work—she’s made fantastic movies in Sweden, Patrick, Age 1.5 in particular, and when I learned she was the director, I wanted to work with her very much. We had a long phone chat, and I really liked her and that was even before [co-stars] Raoul Bova and Rosie Day came on board.

I’m sure the opportunity to be in Rome must have been a draw too.

I have great wanderlust, and as long as my children could be taken care of in my absence I thought a trip to work in Italy would be such a pleasant way to spend time. I love museums and architecture and food of course, and all of that is amazing in Rome, but I also think working with a crew that speaks a different language is a very good experience. Not to mention the opportunity to live someplace while working is a great way to know it. Rosie and I rented bikes, and we would bike all the way across Rome. We got to bike into the Vatican and watch the Pope speak!

Tell me about the new HBO series you’re starring in, Divorce.

I had been working on this idea for a long time and developing it with HBO, and meeting with Sharon Horgan [the star and creator of Catastrophe], I just immediately liked her. Thomas Haden Church was my first choice to play the husband character, and I never thought he would do it because he hasn’t worked for so many years in television, so a lot of elements just came together.

Why the subject of divorce?

You know, the particular landscape of divorce and the story of a marriage is really interesting to me because it’s so complicated.

Speaking of HBO, Darren Star recently made comments that the ending of SATC in which Carrie ended up married sort of betrayed the original idea of the series. What’s your take on that?

As I recall, the way Carrie and Big married was something she wanted rather than a feeling that life was slipping away and she best settle quickly. I don’t think of it as someone diminishing herself by letting a man marry her — it always felt that she had arrived at that on her own. But the beauty is we can all have lots and lots of opinions about lots of choices Carrie made that we object to or that we stand by. If that’s Darren’s feeling, I think it’s interesting!

It’s fun to get to see your behind the scenes process on your Instagram.

I think I came late to social media in general, so I was very thoughtful about how I wanted to use it because there are countless examples and ways that are far too mercenary and awful and vulgar. I could never post a selfie. I’m embarrassed to even do a selfie with a nice person on the street.

So what’s your favorite way to use the medium then?

I do love to be in touch with people I don’t get to see very often, and my friends and siblings and people in faraway lands. Having started an Instagram for the shoe collection has been the most interesting. We started with no followers at all. It’s been such a gratifying and meaningful experience to be in touch with our customers. It’s run by myself and one other person in my office who’s my right hand. We take every picture ourselves and answer every question and write every single caption and stay in touch with everyone who says they have an issue with fit or a wonky box.

That’s so nice. As you know, the Internet can be a pretty dark place, especially for women.

Oh I mean, people have said unfriendly or vulgar things, and we have had civilized conversations about it! I’ll come on and say, “We don’t have to all jump in because I find that mob mentality terrifying and disappointing.” I can’t bear when women use bad language on my page, and I don’t enjoy wagging my finger and I don’t relish a stern conversation but I’m not afraid to say to somebody, “Can you tell me what you mean? Can you tell me what is making you so angry? I’m sorry I disappointed you.” It’s immediately disarming and they are like, “I’m sorry!” That’s the secret.

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