Why the Real-life Carrie Bradshaw Should Be Everyone’s Role Model

“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well that’s just fabulous.”

Carrie Bradshaw

For anyone who may not know, Carrie Bradshaw was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in the television series, later turned movie, Sex and the City from 1998-2004. Bradshaw made running in heels look effortless and proved that women in their 30’s are not these sad spinsters but badass, thriving women with some ridiculously enviable wardrobes.

Believe it or not, Carrie Bradshaw was a real person. Only the real Carrie Bradshaw did not reside in a rent-stabilized Upper West Side walk-up or survive solely on Cosmopolitans and Chinese takeout. Her name was Candace Bushnell.


Candace Bushnell circa 1996.
Ken Schles/The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images, via The New York Times

Bushnell was the author of the column turned book turned television series turned movie. Though Bushnell is super important, she receives little acknowledgment for this persona she has created. When Bushnell was thirty-four years old she began writing for the Observer in New York City. According to The New York Times, Bushnell then had only $300 to her name and was making roughly $14,000 per year. Much unlike her literary alter-ego, Bushnell was couch-surfing and wrote more than just one article per week. Instead, Bushnell freelanced for outlets such as Vogue and GQ, but that wardrobe was definitely real. The scrappy, hardworking freelance journalist is said to have been wearing head to toe Dolce & Gabanna while spending the night on a friend’s couch.

Bushnell’s scrappiness and will eventually pay off when her editor at the Observer approached her about writing a weekly column. It was then that Bushnell realized she was living the task her editor was asking of her. She had all these friends who lived extravagantly, why wouldn’t she write about them?! Bushnell’s column, “Sex and the City,” (see where I’m going here?) became the star of the Observer.

Manhattanites were going crazy. It was being passed around on jitneys to the Hamptons and it was being faxed from New York to Los Angeles. “Sex and the City” was beginning to take over the country. Within four months Bushnell was approached by the bigwigs of Hollywood and flown out to California where she had her, “Oh my God! This is my life!” moment.

The column was turned into a book in 1996, then in 1998 became one of HBO’s top-rated series to date.

Over the years, Bushnell has inspired a new generation of Carrie Bradshaws. The character of Carrie Bradshaw has inspired women that they can not only survive anywhere but conquer whatever they put their mind to while wearing Manolo Blahnik’s, nonetheless!

I believe that the story’s four main characters — Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte — also gave women more confidence in their careers. Whether you are still trying to figure this whole “college” thing out or are on your own trying to make it in a city like New York, these ladies have taught countless women to be confident and that you do not need a man to make you happy. (I know… I talk a big game for someone in a serious relationship, but that’s beside the point.)

Bushnell, along with the leading ladies of Sex and the City, has not only made an impact on fashion or the required subjects of brunch time gossip, but have served as role models for women of many ages, even if it means wearing a tutu.

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