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Sarah Jessica Parker: Please Stop Saying Gray Hair Makes Me ‘Brave’

Sarah Jessica Parker has just been informed that she has “herringbone highlights” and tens of thousands of Allure readers have read a story all about them. “Oh wow! That’s… what are they?” I explain that they are highlights woven in and around natural grays. Her description of this hair-color trend for which she is unwittingly a face is far less catchy: “I can’t spend time getting base color every two weeks. Can’t do it. Nope. Too much.”

This choice, many have said, is not a reflection of laziness or indifference or a crazy work schedule. It is bravery. Maybe you remember, last summer, when Parker was photographed dining al fresco in Manhattan. She was bare-faced, hair scraped back, and the headlines blared: “Sarah Jessica Parker goes gray!” The images went viral. “It became months and months of conversation about how brave I am for having gray hair,” she recalls. “I was like, please please applaud someone else’s courage on something!” Especially since, as Parker points out, she hadn’t even stopped coloring her hair. Those herringbone highlights were just bleached out from the summer sun.

But bravery seems to be a consistent theme for any woman bold enough to get older (a.k.a., not die). Perhaps you saw the plastic surgeon’s office scene in And Just Like That. Parker’s character —Carrie Bradshaw (in case you have recently joined us from Mars)—accompanies her friend Anthony on a face-lift consultation. Carrie winds up accepting the plastic surgeon’s offer to see a digital simulation of her own potential results. “‘Very brave, Sarah Jessica. You were so brave,'” she says of the feedback she got after that episode aired. The fictional doctor promised, “With the right work and the right touch, the last 15 years are gone.”

Staying in the fantasy world for a minute, I asked Parker what she would do if she could take away 15 years without a knife. “With a finger snap!,” I say. “You would be guaranteed to genuinely look like you did 15 years ago. You wouldn’t look unnatural or strange.” It sounds pretty great and honestly I’m tempted to take myself up on my own offer. But Parker’s gonna pass.

“So you’d have that moment and then you’d immediately start aging again and 15 years later you’re in the same place,” she says. “What’s the point? I just… don’t care enough. When I walk out the door, I want to feel OK—according to my standards. I can’t even tell you what those standards are. But you know how you feel when you feel most like yourself, whatever that means. I’m not without vanity. I guess I just don’t care enough about everybody else’s opinion.” 

Parker points out that of course anyone with a decent mirror and decent vision is well-aware that they are aging and what that looks like. “I just don’t understand why I’m supposed to be spending that much time thinking about it,” she says. “It’s not that I’m purposefully dismissive or delusional. But I don’t really ponder it. There’s been far more peripheral chatter about my time spent on earth than I’ve spent thinking about it myself.” 

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