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Cathy Ang is definitely not used to this yet. On the set of her photo shoot for Cosmopolitan, where approximately 20 (vaccinated and masked) people came together for a day entirely devoted to making her look and feel fabulous, she gives a lot of “This is pretty wild!” type comments between hair and makeup checks and is so earnestly excited about the opportunity that she asks everyone on-set for a photo at the end of the day. Even a month later, talking about it over Zoom, she says it was a total whirlwind.
But the 26-year-old actor, who is a key member of HBO Max’s upcoming Sex And The City reboot, And Just Like That…, should get comfortable before its December release. She stars as Charlotte York Goldenblatt’s daughter Lily, who, you might remember, singlehandedly catalysed one of SATC’s biggest-ever plot points. (More on that later.)
Until now, Cathy’s been best known for voice work, like being the girl behind the main character in Netflix’s animated movie Over The Moon, and for theatre. But as a member of SATC’s new—more diverse—generation, she’s looking at a lot more days exactly like this one.
We asked Cathy to give us any and all script secrets she possibly could, and she played along… As much as she’s contractually allowed to.
When you got the audition for Lily, what was your relationship with Sex And The City like? Were you a fan?
I didn’t understand how big it was because I hadn’t watched it, and so once I got the audition…this was the wrong thing to do, but…I watched the movies first. And then once I got the role, I binged the show in, like, a week.
Wait, that’s wild! So you first watched Sex and the City as a 25-year-old? What is it like to discover it at that age?
I think if I had watched it as a teen, I wouldn’t have understood as many of the problems they ran into, because I was just a little bit unaware. So I appreciated that I waited because it would have felt more foreign to me before, but now I could relate to these characters.
What can you tell me about your character, other than the fact that she’s Charlotte’s daughter?
I believe I’m allowed to let you know I’m in my teens. That’s pretty much it.
Is it hard to keep all these secrets? I imagine it’s very stressful.
Now that we’re actually in production, the secret-keeping for the scripts is really intense. We’re not allowed to take pictures, and if your scripts are found…everyone’s name is on their script on every page, so you could get in real trouble. They won’t print out full scripts, and they always take them from you at the end of the day.
What’s it been like sharing scenes with Kristin Davis? Does she do anything IRL that reminds you of Charlotte?
When we were beginning to shoot, she would always be coming around to me and Alexa Swinton, who plays my younger sister, checking in on us and explaining, “When Michael Patrick King, the showrunner, says this, he might be meaning that.” She was always dishing with us in a way that was just…she was taking care of us. She was also taking care of us by saying like, “Now remember, you have to understand these rules,” and in the same way that Charlotte has a type A personality, you can see that in Kristin all the time.
Along with her, have you been able to get advice from people like Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon? They’ve probably seen it all.
Sarah Jessica Parker — she’ll help you. I was making some mistakes when we were first working and, like, she’ll help you. And I wanted to ask the two of them about how actors talk to writers and the producers and the directors about their own thoughts and bringing those to the table, and Cynthia, in particular, is great about asking you more questions so that you can think those ideas through and then phrase them in a way that makes sense and doesn’t waste anyone’s time.
Okay, here’s a hard-hitting question. The Lily character is responsible, in some ways, for the demise of Big and Carrie’s wedding because she hid Carrie’s phone while Big was having his meltdown. What do you have to say for young Lily?
I don’t think Lily thought anything of it! I really don’t. I think she was curious. She was excited. She has an eye for beautiful things. Even now, she doesn’t mind getting her hands on them. Not that she’s a thief, but I think that part of her personality has continued.
There’s been so much conversation about the lack of diversity in the original show, and based on the casting for this reboot, correcting that looks like a major priority. But is that diversity going to extend to the storylines we see?
Yes. I really think it is going to showcase the way that our beloved trio can actually interact with women of colour today. If you go down the list of everyone who’s cast: Sarita Choudhury, Sara Ramirez, Nicole Ari Parker—they have such large personalities and energies that they bring to the table. And even at a table read, there’s always discussion about how to make sure that these characters are properly representing a real person.
It’s too much pressure to be like, “I’m representing all these Asians in New York City,” obviously, but maybe I’ll be able to represent how complicated it is to be a Chinese adoptee in a richer, white household. And I think those conversations are constantly happening with the writers, with the producers, and they’re so open to it. And I see it in the storylines. I also don’t think it’s going to reduce anyone to just the colour of their skin. Everyone is a little surprising.
That’s amazing, because it would be such a bummer if we watched this version and it felt like it was made for one type of girl.
If we think about the past couple of years that we’ve had, everyone has had to reckon with who they are and how they should be relating to the rest of the world. I think these artists in particular felt the need to really engage in that conversation. We want everyone to be seen on our show.
What is it like to step into this franchise that is so beloved and that fans have so many very strong opinions about?
It’s scary but also exciting to know that a person like me can be on the show. I never thought of myself as sitting on a show that was so spectacular and iconic. I hope people enjoy seeing Lily and that there’s a lot of young girls out there who feel akin to her. I hope I can be a light for that.
Photographer: Lauren Loncar. Stylist: Cassie Anderson. Editor: Madeleine Frank Reeves. Hair: Yukiko Tajima at See Management. Makeup: Yumi Mori at Kalpana. Manicure: Yukie Miyakawa at See Management. Visual director: Kristin Giametta. Entertainment director: Maxwell Losgar. Fashion assistant: Danielle Flum. Visual editor/producer: Marina Schoger. Digital tech: David Macedo. 1st assistant: Brandon Harrison. Assistant visual editor: Beth Sacca. Props: Elisia Mirabelli.
On Cathy, bucket-hat look: Lingua Franca sweater. BrooksCuteCrochet hat. YanYan scrunchie. Maryam Nassir Zadeh ring (left). Sig Ward Jewelry (right). Beanie look: Christopher John Rogers sweater. Dior shorts. Dior sandals, nordstrom.com. Staud beanie. Emily P. Wheeler earrings. Colourful nails look: YanYan cardigan. YanYan dress, nordstrom.com. Dauphinette earrings. Sig Ward Jewelry ring (left). Keane ring (right). Bra look: LoveShackFancy cardigan and pants. Isa Boulder bra, nordstrom.com. Echo scarf. Prada slippers, nordstrom.com. Keane ring (left). Sig Ward Jewelry ring (right). Checkered-dress look: Stine Goya cardigan. Nanushka dress. Jimmy Choo flats. Dauphinette earrings. Jia Jia necklace.
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