It started off like any other day until Sarah Jessica Parker—or “SJ” as she prefers—tells me to “go read a book” instead of worry about aging. We’re meeting to discuss her partnership with RoC Skincare, the science-backed Parisian brand responsible for the actress, producer, and designer’s incredible skin. For the second year in a row, Parker is serving as RoC’s resident optimist, helping to amplify the message of optimism through its Look Forward Project—one of the main reasons she teamed up with the company (after great skin care, of course). After all, much like her character on And Just Like That…, she is deeply passionate about reframing others’ narratives in a positive way. As we begin to tackle deep issues in a New York minute, including the beauty pressures of being in the public eye, aging, the importance of mental health, as well as buzzy questions like why she’s sticking to non-invasive procedures, for now, the overall vibe is indeed hopeful and confident.
Currently, it seems like almost every celebrity has or is in the process of launching their own beauty line. Parker, for her part, has chosen to partner with RoC primarily because beauty, in her words, can be overwhelming at times. “I’m somebody that doesn’t spend a significant amount of time researching products,” she tells ELLE.com. “I find a product, usually by recommendation, and I get happily stuck. I don’t like 10 steps, I don’t like five steps. I like simplicity and efficacy. And I like something that’s affordable—I always have.” She had seen RoC in passing and heard about the products via word of mouth, but it wasn’t until two years ago when the brand called her up that she took a deep dive into its history and ethos. After sampling nearly everything in the line (relatable), she didn’t know where to start, but her product education ultimately led to the new RoC x Sarah Jessica Parker limited-edition curated gift set.
The skin care trio is comprised of a Hydrate + Plump Eye Cream, Serum Capsules, and a Multi Correxion Hydrate + Plump Moisturizer with SPF30. “I asked for advice, and I read everything, and it was a gateway into really three or four products, and I loved them,” Parker shares of her holy grail essentials. The best part? 100 percent of the profits go toward the SeekHer Foundation to support mental health awareness for women. “Witnessing it [mental health] in [the] lives of people that matter to me, the ways in which they’ve been able to talk about it, and they’ve been able to find help and the ways in which they haven’t—and you see people suffer and really tread water,” she says. For SJP, not talking about mental health is the bigger issue, and dialogue, she says, enacts change. “I’m always encouraged, especially when it’s a public person who’s not me but someone who’s actually sharing publicly their own struggles with it. It’s a conversation that’s not foreign to people now.” And while Parker, like many, seems to have a complicated relationship with social media, she does enjoy how it can function as a conduit for community, particularly in regards to mental health.
Oftentimes, it can be the little things—like a deep breath or a brisk walk in nature—that can calm our mind restore our spirit. Parker agrees: “When I see my daughter make good choices all on their own, I feel optimistic.” She also cites seeing New Yorkers be kind to each other and the community this city creates.
“New York has a tough reputation that we’re all rough and angry, but if you’re on the streets every day, you’re really seeing people be good to each other,” she says. And Parker is out there—she still takes the subway, hails taxi cabs, and yes, even does her own grocery shopping. In fact, earlier this year, she shared her favorite watering holes in NYC with us. A regular at her local Gristedes, she beams about how every time she’s in there (“at least twice a week”), she sees someone helping an older person. “I don’t think that’s unusual. I think we feel that in our little communities we live in. New York is very provincial in that way. I mean, I also see it as tough, and people are screaming at each other and there’s language tossed around, but I also think that we develop really good coping mechanisms.”
As our conversation continues, I can’t help but wonder (pun intended) how Parker copes with aging in an industry that isn’t necessarily kind to older women. “I’m heartbroken to hear all these women, especially young women, who are terrified of aging,” she says, candidly. “What happened? Why is it bad to age? Why is it bad to live? That means you are waking up another day. You have more experience. You’re more of an authority of yourself, your life, your work, your children—you’re a better partner, you’re a better teacher, you’re a better writer, you’re a better mother, you’re a better friend, you’re a better employee, you’re a better employer. That comes with aging, that comes with experience.”
And yes, Parker has, of course, aged—just like us—but she has also aged onscreen. She memorably starred in Sex and The City at the age of 33 and was 56 for the premiere of And Just Like That... two years ago. Now 58, Carrie Bradshaw is still giving main character energy, and she’s still having plenty of sex in the city. Despite being in the public eye, she has managed to swear off public surgery…or so I thought. “I never said that—” she quickly retorts. “It’s just not something that I’ve done. I don’t judge anybody that has.” And if she does, don’t expect an announcement—she won’t tell us (not that it’s any of our business anyway). “I’m an actor. I want to communicate emotions, feelings, stories—I want my face to move,” she says. “I want to look like me, and my parents, and my siblings, and I want to be able to look like the characters I play. I don’t want to look the same. I want to be a person who has an emotional life that [can] be communicated—so I don’t care what other people think.”
And just like that—our time is up. “Until we meet again,” I say optimistically. Because in truth, after gaining great life advice and even a dermatologist recommendation, I felt like I was sitting at the local diner with her, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, talking beauty over Cosmopolitans. Right in line with her role as resident optimist, she cheerily replies, “Yeah, I see that happening!”
Danielle James is the Digital Beauty Director of ELLE.com. Previously, she was the Fashion and Beauty Director of HelloBeautiful.com and MadameNoire.com. She’s bylined for The Cut, InStyle, Allure, Business of Fashion, Nylon, Essence, Good Housekeeping, The Grio, and Huffington Post. Danielle enjoys sailing, thrifting, Japanese whiskey, Naomi Campbell’s runway walk, and Rihanna in the comment section.