Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell at Business Chicks lunch Brisbane

Wise words from author Candace Bushnell

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, Life 22 Comments

I’ve been having a few pinch-me moments of late. This particular one will be pretty difficult to top.

Let me paint the picture … a couple of weeks ago the lovely Lauren Palmer from CBA’s Women in Focus team contacted me to see if I’d like to join her at the Business Chicks Brisbane lunch, a lunch at which Candace Bushnell would be guest speaker.

It took all of about 30 seconds for me to hit the reply button, say yes and immediately go into Outfit Planning Mode (more on that here).

I watched Sex and the City from the beginning. I read the original book not long after. And I re-watched every episode when the boxed DVD set came out in time for Christmas 2004. I even sat through the second movie out of loyalty and devotion to beautiful frocks and accessories*.

So when I arrived at the venue for lunch with Candace, I got the shock of my life to sit down and see I would actually be lunching with the bestselling author herself.

Business Chicks lunch Brisbane

Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell at Business Chicks lunch Brisbane

I KNOW.

Business Chicks founder Emma Isaacs was also on the table. Emma is an absolute dynamo. We’d only ever chatted on social media but I’ve long admired what she’s created with this Australia-wide community of business women.

I asked Emma whether Candace would be up for an Instagram photo with me. Turns out Candace is a massive fan on Instagram and was only too happy to oblige as long as we talked filters and how difficult it was to shoot shoes. Kidding, she was very obliging with many of the guests at the lunch.

Nikki Parkinson and Candace Bushnell

Speaking of shoes, Candace wore fabulous blue heels on this day but admitted she was more likely to be found wearing flip flops, now she no longer lives in New York.

Channel 7’s Jillian Whiting quizzed Candace on professional and personal life. There were more than a few gems of advice dished up, so I thought I’d share them with you here.

Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell at Business Chicks lunch Brisbane

On being Carrie

At 33, she said she had nothing – no career, nor relationship.  Writing a column for the New York Observer was her first big break. Carrie Bradshaw was her alter ego in the column.

When I first started writing the column, I thought I had to make it New York-centric but as it went on I started to get letters from around the country from women with the same issues. There are Mr Bigs and bike boys** everywhere.

The real Mr Big was a publisher at Vogue. I was devastated he broke up with me and I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so upset. I decided I wanted to feel all of those wonderful things  I felt when I was with Mr Big when I was on my own. I vowed to be my own Mr Big! My dad said you cannot rely on someone else for your happiness.

On the SATC TV series

When the TV show started it was underground and very authentic. Because it was authentic, women around the world could relate to it.  The idea of the career woman delaying marriage was a new phenomenon. Sex and the City made it ok to make that choice.

As a show itself, Sex and the City was an opportunity for everyone involved to make it great.

On her career

Candace said there was a certain alchemy that happened with the sale of her book and the ensuing television and movie deals.

There’s a certain magic that happens just by doing it. You can’t hit a home run unless you’re at the plate swinging the bat. The only thing we really have control over is what we’re doing right now!

On teenage sex

Sex was a pretty big mystery to me. I did not have sex in high school. You have your whole life to have sex but not your whole life to be a teenager.

I’m  not saying don’t do it. It’s about being ready!

On social media

If someone mentioned Twitter to Candace a few years ago she would have pulled a terrible face and made noises about not being interested.

But I started doing it. I love Instagram – it’s my creative time! If Carrie were on Instagram I bet she would dress up in an animal onesie***.

It’s (social media) is a part of our lives. I spend half and hour at end of day on it.

On success

There is the fear about success. You think, what if I do become successful? Will people not like me?

I think success is being about being self actualised. It’s about setting goals and working towards them. There are times in your career where you don’t enjoy it – you have to hang in there.

Being successful is being authentic and being yourself.

Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell at Business Chicks lunch Brisbane

On getting older

Candace said a major benefit of getting old was that you stopped worrying about what others have to say – and the latest “It” bag doesn’t matter as much.

As one gets older, you don’t need that latest handbag. Let the 30-year-olds fight over it!

(In life) it’s not about what you have or don’t have. It’s about your attitude.

On being single

I am single but don’t feel single. I feel complete and whole. I don’t feel like I’m looking for someone to complete me.

On girlfriends

I had lots and lots of girlfriends but most were like Samantha – even my Miranda was like Samantha!

On women having a career

There’s no animal onesie*** that fits everybody – if you want to stay home and care for your kids, that’s ok. I do cleaning and groceries and it’s a lot of work. I can only imagine how much work it is with kids.

It’s what right for women at the time.

We have such a small percentage of women in politics or who are law makers, we need more women in those position of power.

On children

When I was kid I didn’t want to have children. I have dogs.

What’s next?

I love telling stories. I have contracts for four novels which I’ve had to put aside but I hope to finish one of them.

Candace, I really do hope you keep telling those stories and putting on the “spike high heels” for special occasions.

* The only redeeming feature of Sex and The City movie was the wardrobe and cocktails.

** Bike boys are boys who ride their bikes everywhere and expect to bring them into your apartment when visiting or staying over.

*** Apparently the US is somehow onesie-free. Candace desperately wants an animal one.

Were you a huge Sex and the City fan? Are you Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte?

PS. Come back Monday for a look at what I wore to the lunch …  in the first Model and Me post of the new fashion season. 

Comments 22

  1. I couldn’t stand STAC but it’s interesting to know she chose dogs over kids. That’s my choice too!

  2. Great post Nikki and what a wonderful experience for you! I loved the show. Think I’m a blend of all 3 minus Samantha! Would love to go to NYC one day and pound similar pavements xx

  3. Yes SATC was more than a TV show for me, I lived a fantasy single life through it when I was in a bad relationship & when I ended that relationship I chose my new video store password as ‘Carrie’!
    I admired each character equally but would most likely be a Carrie/Charlotte hybrid.
    What an amazing moment in your life to meet Candace!

  4. SATC is my favourite show. It’s probably the only show I could watch re-runs of over and over again. I just love it. I guess I’m a mix of all four, maybe a little less of Samantha although love her ‘f**k it’ attitude!

  5. I will always love SATC, I am mostly like Carrie (it’s one of the things that made me want to write!)…and a little like Charlotte (love the preppy fashion)

    Great post! I enjoyed reading it and am supper jealous that you got to meet the woman behind my favourite TV series! (love her books to of course!)

  6. SATC – my all-time favourite show. Watched all six seasons 12 times over. I’m in love with NYC because of that show, although I’ve never been. Funny thing, I haven’t read the book either. Really must get on to that. Favourite episode was “Hubble!” and the scene at the end: “I don’t get it” – “and you never did” – burst of Spanish music – BRILLIANT. Crying just thinking about it… I’m definitely a Carrie.

  7. Wow that would be a high I have read all Candace Bushnell’s novels,I bet you were in Awe of her ,she looks and sounds like a fabulous successful woman,Go Nikki! I loved Sex in the City I do believe I own the box set also and both movies and yes the last movie had the most stunning fashion,I watch it occasionally just for those vintage dresses and Caftans.I loved all the characters in the show,but especially Carrie and her unique take on fashion.What I loved most about the show was the girls friendships and I do hope Candace picks up an animal onsie while in Oz I am sure she could pull it off.

  8. I love sex and the city, but I think I “got” it more when I became single.
    It was and still is a ground breaking show because it was a realistic representation of female sexuality. Before that, women were either virgins or whores.
    I heard that every dating experience that occurred on the show had occurred in real life as inspiration.
    I was a Miranda but now I think I have more Samantha. She’s brilliant.

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