Sarah Jessica Parker has never been one for a manicure — at home or at the salon. Back in 2011 she said, “I never do my nails…and I've probably had nail polish on my nails twice in 10 years.” In 2016 she told People the reason her nails are usually just buffed and clean is because “I use my hands a lot. I cook. I clean. I do laundry. [Nail polish] is not practical in my life given what my hands need to do every day.”
There has been at least one exception to her no-polish rule, however: She recently was spotted with a black mani to match her polka-dot dress at the Sex and the City 25th-anniversary party earlier this month.
But given that her alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw, isn't one to cook, clean, or even do her own laundry much, it's interesting that the fashion and glam-obsessed writer, podcaster, and society It girl is often seen with those same bare nails. I haven't gone and done a rewatch of SATC for the purpose of tracking Carrie's manicures — or lack thereof — but numerous Google searches and deep dives on Reddit confirm my theory.
And so, during my recent Zoom interview with Parker to talk about the second season of And Just Like That…, I asked her why Carrie is often seen with bare nails, given that her hair, makeup, and clothes are always so impeccably styled. Aside from a general curiosity, it's something that I've always paid close attention to given that I love all things hair and glam, but my nails are always short and bare. It's never been my thing, but living in Los Angeles and attending regular red carpets, events, and award shows, I often feel like I stick out like a sore (nude) thumb. I may have questioned Carrie's choice in men over the years, but I've always appreciated that she can be super fancy without having a manicure.
Parker lights up when I ask her about this. For one, she says, “Carrie's a writer, so she would have been typing originally on a proper typewriter. She would have learned typing in high school, and she was a practical writer and a necessary writer and a romantic writer.”
She goes on to say that manicures for Carrie “seemed (a) futile because it would always be messed up and (b) an obstacle on the speedy road toward thoughts being written.” While Parker adds that doesn't mean that other writers don't or can't type beautifully or easily with nails, “it just never seemed that it was where Carrie would spend her time expressing herself.”
Executive producer Michael Patrick King agrees. “Anything that Carrie wears that you see on camera is well thought-out by the wardrobe department and Sarah Jessica,” he tells me. “She really tries to play both sides, the high and the low, the real and the fantasy. So notably, she never wears nail polish.”
Another reason for Carrie's bare nail look is time management as well as episode continuity. Aside from being the star of SATC and AJLT, Parker is busy serving as an executive producer. She's also heavily involved in Carrie's looks and therefore in constant fittings with costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, leaving little time to spend in a manicure chair.
“We also don't shoot in order,” Parker explains. “You're moving from scene to scene, so practically speaking, it's problematic to have a nail colour that's got to match every single scene. It gets in the way of speed and economy.”
However, Parker surprises me by revealing that there are a few upcoming scenes in later episodes in which Carrie does wear bold nail polish. “I thought it would be interesting to do, given the outfits and given the environment in which those scenes take place,” she says.
During the filming of said scenes, King noticed right away: “I thought, Wow, she's wearing nail polish! And it's a dark nail polish, which is interesting and surprising.” When asked for more details, King says the initial scene takes place in Brooklyn, and you notice the nail change right away because Carrie is “holding the tiniest purse she's ever held. It's almost a doll's purse. I guess she just decided, ‘I'm going to Brooklyn, I'm wearing this glittery thing, I feel like I want a little fun.’ But once again, it's always spontaneous. Carrie Bradshaw is spontaneous. She decides, ‘I’m going to wear this or that. I'm going to wear this long slip tutu to go get coffee. And, oh, maybe I'll put on nail polish tonight.’ What's great about the character is she is not guarded by rules. Even rules she makes up.”
Plus, it's a new season on And Just Like That…. While Carrie will always be a bare-nail girl, she's also coming out of a deep grief since Big passed away — and that's evident in her look. “Carrie went through that loss when it was winter,” King says. “In this next season of And Just Like That…, which is in spring, Carrie's returning to herself with a new thought: Life's too short, so live. So one night she decided to let her fingernails live, I guess.”
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour senior West Coast editor and author of the New York Times best-selling book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series.
The article originally appeared on GLAMOUR (US).