The Grey Hair in And Just Like That… Sends an Important Message
We already knew Sarah Jessica Parker felt OK about ageing, and – gasp – embracing her grey hair. Just consider her recent, much-photographed meal with her friend, Bravo’s Andy Cohen, which prompted people to criticise the 56-year-old for daring to don her natural hue. Side note: salt and pepper-haired Cohen was not criticised.
For her part, Parker told Vogue, “It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, […] whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better. I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop ageing? Disappear?”
Now, as the highly anticipated Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That…, debuts on HBO Max, we learn that not only is the actress cool with her grey hair, but her alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw, embraces it too. In the series, we see the character for the first time since 2010. It’s been more than a decade – and, naturally, that means everyone has aged. Luckily, the show is not afraid to address the elephant in the room head-on.
While Carrie doesn’t have grey hair in the series, Miranda (played by Cynthia Nixon) does. In the first episode, during brunch, Charlotte (Kristin Davis) asks Miranda if she plans to colour her hair before going back to school to earn her master’s degree in human rights. (Both Carrie and Charlotte admit that they colour over their greys, with Carrie saying she hopes it’s not “obvious.”) Miranda’s response was perfect: “There are more important issues in the world than trying to stay young,” she said. Later, Carrie reassured Miranda that her hair is “fabulous.”
Grey hair is a big theme throughout the first episode of And Just Like That. Carrie later joked to Mr. Big that she remembers when his hair was black. Miranda then lets on that she’s self-conscious about her grey hair, checking it out in the reflection of a bar window en route to her class. She also joked to her professor she doesn’t look like someone who would care about her hair.
As someone with grey hair – not a full head of greys, but some grey hairs here and there – I appreciate that the show is not shying away from the topic of ageing. We are not watching a bunch of 50-something women acting like they are in their 20s. Steve, Miranda’s husband, has hearing aids. And the last scene of the first episode is, to put it mildly, about getting older. For that, I thank the writers and producers and actors. It’s so refreshing to see women we grew up watching actually age along with us, too. Because let’s face it, for a lead character on a mainstream TV show to have grey hair is an anomaly, and that representation of older women, looking fashionable and having careers, is important. As Parker put it, we don’t cease to exist after age 40. Our hair gets grey, we get wrinkles, we aren’t 29, or even 39 – and our stories still deserve to be told.
Much like Carrie and Charlotte, I colour my hair. Will the fact that the beloved characters from Sex and the City embrace grey hair embolden me to stop colouring mine? Maybe not. Will the fact that they are frank and honest about ageing empower me to feel more comfortable in my ageing skin (and scalp)? You better believe it.