The Real Cynthia Nixon

The 42-year-old star reveals how her real life compares to her Sex and the City character’s.

By Rory Evans
Cynthia Nixon, 42
Photograph: Photo by: Lorenzo Agius

She’s Like Miranda

She has sex, just like the rest of the world.

"[The sex scenes] weren’t so bad. I feel like, if I had been doing Kim [Cattrall’s] part, it would have been different — her sex scenes were extremely funny or extremely sexy, and sometimes both. But with my character, she’s a person who gets naked and has sex, and this is something I know from my own life, so it didn’t seem so weird. And everyone had a take on the nude thing. Sarah Jessica [Parker] would never ever ever do nude, no matter what. But for me, I thought, if you’re having sex, you probably don’t have a shirt on."

She had a baby in real life, and on the show (but not at the same time).

"I was starting to show just as we were going into the plotline where Miranda was trying to lose weight after giving birth. And that’s a neat little trick! Sarah Jessica and I were pregnant at the same time; our sons are two months apart. It increases the pregnancy gear that comes in your general direction, so that’s a plus."

She has other professional ambitions, and she’s a woman in a man’s world.

On deciding to direct after turning 40: "For a long while, I kept thinking, ‘I’ll direct something some time.’ And now I feel like I really want to find a one-act play. I do not want to direct for film — that seems really frightening. Even with our sweet, adorable crew on Sex and the City, they would give female directors a hard time."

She’s Not Like Miranda

Her personal style is a bit more low-key.

"The only way I can think about my style in Sex and the City is, it’s not as extreme as Phyllis Diller or someone with crazy hats, but there is a certain sense that Miranda is some other person [than me]. It’s like being redone — there are professionals, and they bring you the clothes and do the hair and you try not to look out of place. You try not to have it wear you. One of the great things about [costume designer] Patricia Field is there’s no snobbery in terms of whether something costs $8,000 or $18 — she’s happy to put it all together if she thinks it looks good. She is the queen of mix and match — or unmatch, really."

She’s a natural blonde, not a redhead.

"Coloring is really hard on your hair. [And when I did a guest spot on ER in 2005], it never occurred to them that I wouldn’t be a redhead. They cast my children and when they showed up they were redheads, and I was like, ‘I’m blond.’"

Originally published on, April 2008.

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