She may be famous for playing New York sex bomb Samantha Jones in Sex and the City, but make no mistake – Kim Cattrall is one of us.
“I’ll let you in on a secret,” whispers Kim. “It’s called a magnifying mirror. Mine is times 12.” We’re talking the hazards of plucking your eyebrows while bespectacled because Kim’s been in Auckland as star judge of Specsavers’ Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition.
“You see things in those mirrors you didn’t know existed,” she laughs, before revealing another tip – she keeps her shampoo and conditioner on different shelves in the shower because she can’t read the ant-sized writing telling her which is which. See what I mean? One of us.
Oh, she might not look it because she’s svelte and stylish, her blonde hair perfectly done, her make-up flawless. Plus she’s wearing a killer pair of heels and, naturally, rocking her specs, which are “just as important as shoes”, she insists. “You heard it here first!”
She’s also had the benefit of being inspired by Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field, who taught her how to mix it up – a bit of couture there, a bit of garage-sale flair there.
She fancies the rock ’n’ roll look – a leather jacket with jeans – but really, it’s not her clothes that strike you. It’s her skin. She’s comfortable in it and that’s having just reached a milestone that would have many a lesser actress fleeing to the wilds to live out their days wearing a hemp poncho in a teepee.
Instead, she’s owning it. “My platform now is to re-educate and introduce people in a very personal and professional way to what it is to be in your 50s and, now, my 60s.”
She says it just like that: “My 60s.” And she’s only been in them since the middle of August. Personally, she’s already doing her job just by looking a good 20 years younger than she is and not in a surgically enhanced or bolstered way – she’s a true natural beauty with real smarts.
“Could you raise the camera a little please?” she asks our photographer, with respectful politeness, before our interview begins. Anyone over 27 who’s had a photo taken from below chin level knows why. “You have to protect yourself,” Kim says with a conspiratorial smile.
We can really learn from this woman. It’s Samantha Jones, for heaven’s sake! And what Samantha started in the first Sex and the City movie by openly turning 50 and retaining all her fabulousness, Kim is continuing in her latest award-winning TV show, Sensitive Skin (series one of the black comedy is currently on Netflix). It’s the story of a woman once known for her looks, but now struggling with the changes that the march of time presents.
“In your 50s, you really start to question where you want the next years to go and if this relationship is still fulfilling or this career,” explains Kim. “Or did I not even have the career because I was too busy getting married and having children?”
But there’s no clichéd crying at her reflection in the (not-even-magnified) mirror here. “All those menopausal moments, they’re often used for comedic effect, but in a grotesque way,” says Kim. “I don’t feel at this age that I’m grotesque. I’m human. I’m viable.”
She’s inspirational. “There are a lot of wonderful things about getting older,” she asserts, “and one of them is I don’t give a s* so much any more. Take me as I am.”
There’s simply not enough of that around, it would seem. “I want to expose the underbelly of being middle-aged. There’s a huge audience out there and no-one is providing any entertainment for them. Sex and the City was changing taboos about sexuality and in Sensitive Skin, I’m challenging women’s and men’s ideas about ageing.”
I’m with her every step of the way, but our chat together is drawing to a close and there’s only time for one more question. In real life, is she a Carrie, a Charlotte, a Miranda or a Samantha?
“I’m all four,” she answers diplomatically. “All four make up one complete women, with different shades, different strengths and weaknesses. “I have my Charlotte moments – I’m a terrible romantic, I’m monogamous, but I question a lot.”
She wonders sometimes why she doesn’t have more fun and has a strong business side, just like Miranda. “But then there’s some Samantha in me, where I just love having a fantastic time.”
Clearly, I can see some Samantha in her too because in the flurry of photo-taking as we finish our interview, I call her Samantha by mistake. Kim just laughs. “Don’t worry,” she says. Even her mother has done it.
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