5 Career Lessons From Sarah Jessica Parker

5 career lessons from Sarah Jessica Parker

Happy 50th Birthday Sarah Jessica Parker

Today is Sarah Jessica Parker’s 50th birthday, if you can believe it or not! In some ways she will always be 30-something Carrie Bradshaw to us. But though we could just go on and on about her years on Sex & the City and how she is such an amazing fashion icon we thought we would look at a few other things about this dynamic lady because there is a lot we can learn from SJP.

1. Take Risks

Parker took a risk when she signed on for Sex & the City. HBO was not the powerhouse studio it was today. It was really just a cable channel that played movies. Plus the material was rather risque for television. After she shot the pilot for the show, she actually forgot about it until she ran into a producer friend at HBO who said she had seen the show and liked it. When HBO told her they wanted to film the rest of the season, Parker says she suddenly had second thoughts. “I hatched this plan to offer myself to HBO and say, ‘You can have me for six years, and I can do a movie or work in an office, but I don’t want to be committed to the show.’ I felt like it was not the right fit.”

Eventually, she was convinced by a producer to do just two more episodes of the show. And well, the risk paid off. From that first day, “I didn’t regret one moment spent,” she said in a recent interview.

2. Hold your ground

Though Parker loved doing S&TC and eventually became a producer, she was adamant about certain things. Parker said in a 1997 interview that “If something is really vulgar, I have conversations with the writers where I say I’m not comfortable with that. It doesn’t mean they’ll make the change, but we do discuss it.” She was also the only actress on the show to have a no nudity clause.

3. Diversify

In addition to becoming a producer, Parker has also been working in fashion and beauty for years. Her perfume brand is a top seller and helped her earn the coveted title of highest earning actress back in 2011. Fashion has always been a love of hers, but Parker has been selective with her ventures. After one failed attempt a few years back Parker was slow to come back into fashion but she finally did in 2014 with her shoe line SJP. Though Parker has a shoe budget that exceeds our wildest dreams (you probably wouldn’t even call it a budget) she is mindful that other women do.  Shoe prices range from $195 to $485 and bags are under $375 and under. “Those are hard-earned bucks so I really tried to give women beautiful silhouettes and colors and excellent quality for their money. I didn’t want to do anything that says, ‘Oh, these shoes are 2014.’ I want my shoes to be a part of the world for a long time to come” said Parker in a statement about the new line.

4. Be honest

She told Redbook a few years ago, “I’m slightly allergic to the phrase having it all, because it suggests an indulgence I don’t really identify with. The idea of having a full life resonates with me more, because it’s what I aim for. I’m a mother first and foremost, and the work that I do outside the home can only happen if I know all is well inside my home.”

5. Always be nice

As one of seven children from Ohio, Parker was raised to be a very, polite girl and she has never let go of that even in cutthroat Hollywood. “She has a fan base in the fashion world that’s extraordinary, and it’s truly because she’s such a nice person,” says George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik, who teamed up with her on her shoe line. “Were it anyone but Sarah Jessica, I wouldn’t have done it,” Malkemus says.

Meredith Lepore

Meredith is the former editor in chief of the women's career site, The Grindstone. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire @ Work, The Jane Dough, DailyWorth, SheKnows.com, Business Insider and Learnvest. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time and enjoys reading, jogging, SoulCycle and playing with her small dog, Otis.

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