Weak bladders, alcohol aversion, thinning hair and menopausal brain fog. It's 17 years since Sex and The City ended and this is what top 50+ women in beauty and fitness will be looking for
Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker, 55, dropped the bombshell on Instagram earlier this week that Sex and the City would be returning to our screens on HBO Max, the world has been abuzz with chatter about the new series. Over 7.3 million people have viewed the teaser clip of bustling New York City she posted with celebs including Reese Witherspoon expressing their sheer delight at #SATCnextchapter, the hashtag for the show. Reese simply posted "YESSSSS".
The ten-episode series And Just Like That will begin shooting in New York in the spring. HBO Max says that series "will follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s,” says HBO Max.
While Samantha Jones won't be present (Kim Cattrall, 64 said no to the remake) Cynthia Nixon, 54, who plays Miranda Hobbes and Kristin Davis, 55, who plays Charlotte York, will be by SJP’s side as they took on the New York City of 2021, an entirely different place to the one we left them in back in 2004 (save the two Sex and the City movies, released in 2008 and 2010). The actresses have been busy themselves since the show ended; Nixon came out as gay in 2004 and married Christine Marinoni in 2012. Their child came out as transgender in 2018 at the same time that Cynthia ran (unsuccessfully) for Governor of New York.
We’re eager yet to find out where Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda are in their lives as 50-something women. Sarah-Jessica Parker refused on Instagram to confirm whether Carrie’s husband Big would be in the reboot. They will have changed of course, as will the City of New York, dubbed the 'fifth character' in the time of Covid.
But what do the real Sex and The City generation of women in their 50s want to see? We asked our top 50-something beauty and wellness experts for their view.
From Chablis to kombucha? Jane Druker, 54, beauty editor
"In 1998 at 32 years old, I moved to New York to work in publishing. Sex and the City was at its starry height and SJP’s Carrie was my sartorial role model (incidentally in real life, we had our babies on the same day in the same New York hospital so I took pregnancy style notes from her too): I wore nameplate jewellery, laughed myself hoarse in cocktail bars, dated a lot, and spent hard-earned cash on miniature Fendi baguette bags and Jimmy Choos. I even met my husband there, who fell in love with me for my Manolo Blahnik knee-high houndstooth ponyskin stiletto boots (really! I took them on their first outing the night we met at The Chelsea Hotel). He walked into the bar where I was giggling with a gang of friends and said to his mate: 'if those boots belong to that laugh, I will marry that woman'. And, just like that, it came to pass.
"This year I will turn 55 – the same age as Sarah Jessica Parker. I now live in suburban London, have a career spanning 30 odd years, am slap bang between two landmark ages with an 18-year-old-son, a mature dog, six bunny rabbits and my still-gorgeous and now greyer-haired husband, who I still dance with on the tables, albeit in the lounge these days, in my PJs.
"So what do I want to see reflected from this HBO mega-hit now? Well, zooming in on how they imbibed endless booze, I cannot drink anymore and not for want of trying. How I adored supping rosé on summer days, late-night port, Sunday brunches avec Bellinis. This aversion happened suddenly in 2020 and sadly (for my husband too – he is American and delighted in my ability to drink him under the table). Shockingly, I winced at the taste of my favourite Sauv Blanc, then red and struggled to get through a glass of Champagne this New Year. And it’s not just me; a straw poll of my peers (women only, thank you menopause) tells the same dreary story – to avoid mid-life migraines- give us a kombucha. Not to say we don’t have fun anymore if anything being clear-headed makes us more hysterical than ever. Plus, we remember the conversations these days and are of the generation that still uses the phone for actual talking – there’s still a lot of hilarity to be had even in socially distanced times."
Menopausal memory fog, magnifying mirrors and as much fun as ever: Ruby Hammer MBE, 59, makeup artist
"The original Sex and the City was amazing – they dealt with real-life troubles that all women have, but they did it in a fun way. Now these women are over 50, (like me), they won’t have the energy they had in the first series and it would be great if they kept the characters relatable by highlighting real struggles that women go through at this stage of life. It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. Although they are 50, they will still want to look their best, so it’s about how they do that now. What lifestyle changes have they made?
"Small, practical items, like a magnifying mirror to help perfect your winged eyeliner once your eyesight starts getting worse, will help it feel real! Will they be pre-menopausal, or going through the menopause? I think there is a window to work in some hilarious moments around the ‘menopausal memory fog’, which plenty of women will relate to.
"As soon as you turn 50, you see the effects of your lifestyle start to show. Hair can be thinner, nails brittle, and more wrinkles! Mandy Lions was the original hairstylist on the show and I worked with her a lot before she left the UK. I think she created some great hairstyles in the original, and I hope they keep some of the glamour this time around. I’m excited to see how they style the characters now their hair might be thinner and grey, I hope they embrace it.
"Most importantly, I hope the characters still have the confidence they had when they were younger, because getting old doesn’t have to be boring!”
A diverse friendship group and being open about tweakments: Victoria Woodhall, 53, GTG editorial director
"The fact that I spent my honeymoon in New York in 2003 was down to Sex and the City – the romance, the glamour, the energy. Not that I had any of that; I was three-months pregnant and vomiting, and my husband was made redundant while we were out there. Not the start to married life I was expecting, but I could dream.
"They say the City was the fifth character in the series which ran from 1998 to 2004 and it’s hard to imagine how in Covid times it can keep its crown, when a socially-distanced coffee queue in a face mask is the new Cosmpolitan in Choos. Now, even a visit to the dentist counts as a top day out. Half an hour spent staring into the eyes of a solvent handsome man with good teeth - what’s not to like even if you are dribbling down the side of your dental dam saying only ‘gahhhh’?
"I asked my daughter, now 17, whether she’ll be watching the remake and having not seen the original she says 'yes, only if it’s funny'. That’s what we all need – a bit of reality but with nostalgia, warmth and a touch of fairy dust.
"I do hope Miranda’s son Brady (who may, like actress Cynthia Nixon’s transgender child) have become Brandy, pulls her up as much as my Gen-Z teen does for things like accidentally misgendering (I thought it was mis-pronouning, but what do I know?) or dead-naming or all manner of middle-aged transgressions.
"I hope Carrie, like me, gets pop-up ads for earwax removal, pensions and funeral plans, when she’s just trying to get her column out. Is she still sharing a bed with Big or have they managed to agree on a duvet tog and cure for snoring? Like many, I will miss Samantha though. I know she’d be brave enough to try the O-shot (a PRP clitoral injection – ouch!) or the Mona Lisa Touch laxity-busting laser or a cringe-worthy TikTok dance.
"I'd like to see an openness about tweakments. Pretending you haven't anything done does a disservice to the aesthetics industry, which has some truly gifted injectors and practitioners, lending a subtle confidence boost to women in their 50s, in the same way our colourists cover up our greys.
"I do hope that in the intervening years, the now-trio have broadened their friendship group to include some BIPOC friends. If they haven’t, my daughter will be sticking with her Modern Family and One Day at a Time cross-cultural binge fests and I will be watching alone."
A great pair of trainers and the fittest body of their lives: Lucy Wyndham-Read, 50, personal trainer
"I’d like to see Carrie’s footwear reflect her age – of course, women in their 50s still wear killer heels, but realistically I think she’d have added some trainers to her shoe collection as she’s matured and knows the merits of comfortable footwear. Knowing Carrie, they won’t be any old trainers, they’ll be the best of the best and they’ll be pride of place alongside her Manolos, Christian Louboutins and Jimmy Choo.
"Other than Charlotte doing laps around Central Park, we didn’t see the Sex and the City ladies do much exercise, but I like to think that as they’ve matured they’ve realised the importance of working out, especially when you’re perimenopausal. I hope Carrie will have swapped her cigarettes for daily cardio, but nothing too strenuous. I think power walking, most likely (up and down the shopping hot spots and in the parks) then doing super-sculpting workouts when she’s at home to keep her muscle definition up.
"Miranda will be juggling working from home with online workouts. She won’t be dressed in all the latest workout gear, I’d see her more in her pyjamas. Charlotte will still be running, but she might be running for a little bit longer after all these years of practice."
Weak bladders rather than wayward lovers. Kate Shapland, 56, founder of Legology
"A remake of SATC? Yes please, if only for more time-in-life wisdom from Carrie. Here we are, a decade on, experiencing the very age changes we had heard mutterings of but, as with so many things in life, didn’t fully appreciate until they whacked us round the chops apparently overnight. Let me be the asker of The Bladder Question on behalf of many: what the hell happened to that grace time between thinking you need to have a pee in a few leisurely minutes and thinking you need to go LIKE RIGHT NOW? Somehow, sometime over the past year or so my bladder-to-brain signal has rewired itself from giving gentle reminders to visit the loo when a meeting is over or when I get home to all systems go immediacy which, unless acted upon there and then, serves up the direst consequences.
"Travelling on public transport now needs a strategy: I’m familiar with every single peeing pitstop on the 430, 211, 14, 22 and 19 bus routes (you would be amazed at the number of cafes won’t let you avail yourself without first buying coffee or a bun), the tube is a no-go and traffic jams cause for a meltdown. And yes I have got a moon cup in the glove compartment, but quite how you are supposed to get your jeans off and the cup in place in ten seconds in that situation is anybody’s guess. So if Carrie has any free ponderous moments to fill on the steps to her brownstone coming up, perhaps she could muse on the pelvic floor?"
The sandwich generation holding everyone but ourself together: Sarah Vine, 53, GTG creative director
“Personally, I’m not sure Sex and the City has much juice left in the tank. The movies were dire, and even the original series itself went a bit off towards the end, especially the plotline about Samantha getting breast cancer, which some fans (myself included) read as a kind of moral judgement on the character’s wanton lifestyle. Besides, it was at its heart a deeply shallow show, and quite how they’re going to recapture the wicked frivolity of it all in this humourless modern age of ours I can’t see.
"Today’s Carries are all tee-total vegan social justice warriors with about as much joie-de-vivre as a three-day-old kale smoothie. If they make it all about #meToo and Black Lives Matter, it will be a monumental bore. If I want that, I can just look at Twitter. What I’m interested in is a witty, subversive take on what it means to be a 50-something woman today: still working, still paying the mortgage, still looking after the kids but also having to take care of ailing parents, partners, egotistical bosses - all while staying on top of the housework and dealing with everything else that life has to throw at us.
"In essence, what it means to be at the very bottom of everyone else’s to-do list, including your own - and how to survive it without losing your mind, or your sense of humour. While also wearing nice shoes."