“Sex And The City” has been a huge hit for the past two decades since it first aired in 1998. It has managed to gain a wide fanbase all over the globe. Fans were so dedicated in following the lives of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte, who are so different from each other along with their ever-changing sex lives. Despite the differences, they stuck together through the ups and downs in New York City.
Although the show last aired in 2004, fans have been craving for more “Sex And The City”. Their prayers were heard as “And Just Like That…”, the spin-off of “Sex And The City” debuted last December. What’s even more exciting is that the spin-off is more diverse and has laid more relevant issues on the table.
“And Just Like That…” also offers diversity and Cathy Ang who plays the role of Lily York-Goldenblatt, the adopted Asian daughter of Charlotte York, recently took time off to chat with us about the series, working with Kristin Davis, and more.
1) How did you end up landing the role for Lily York-Goldenblatt?
“I hadn’t really been doing a lot of TV and film but I got a new team this year who got me an audition and I just did a self tape. I just taped myself doing the audition. But whatever happened that day on that tape, they liked it. Michael Patrick King and Kristin had to give me the approval and they said that I was Lily. She accepted me as her daughter. So, it was very special. I mean, I just did the self tape, there was no callbacks. Oh, and I had to send in a piano piece. Of course, they needed to know that I could play for the challenge they would be setting for me in episode one. So after the piano and self tape, I got the call and it was confetti cannons and lots of screaming, joy and drinks. It was a big surprise and amazing, amazing opportunity for me. It was very exciting.”
2) What was your idea of “Sex in the City” back in the day when you weren’t allowed to watch it, and how did you feel about landing the role in “And Just Like That…”?
“Okay, so back in the day, my parents were like, “This show will corrupt you”, but you know, I honestly wish that my parents had a show like this to watch when they were going through their 20s and their 30s. I didn’t really try and sneakily watch it behind their back or anything. What’s exciting now is that they are watching it. They’re forced to because I’m on the show.
I feel like the show represents what it means to be a woman. And I love it. These characters have different lifestyles and I imagine myself as these brilliant fashion icon and entrepreneurs. Everything about these women (are) just so powerful. And no matter what, we deserve to see these stories told and I want people to be sex positive. There’s so much shame around it. And I think it was such a wonderful, wonderful fight that they took on back then and have done for women all over the world. I love it.”
3) “And Just Like That…” tackles a lot of issues that centres around race and gender. How important are these issues to you?
“Speaking from Lily’s perspective, I was not a transracial adoptee. My biological parents are the two people that I grew up with. And so I think Lily’s journey with her identity, particularly with her racial identity, is difficult. She will always struggle to know exactly where she belongs, who she is, where she comes from exactly. Even as an Asian American, I think that questioning still exists in my head as well about what my culture is and how I can connect to my roots. So it’s always been very meaningful to me whenever I can talk with my family back in the Philippines, whenever I can go there and actually be on the land, just be surrounded by the culture that I grew up with in my own home. But to really actually be immersed in it, it’s very different. You feel like you’re part of something.
I think it’s a beautiful, difficult journey that Lily has ahead of her to understand how she can feel like she belongs, how she can feel empowered to be every part of herself because she’s also a York-Goldenblatt. She’s grown up with these people. She loves their culture. She loves her family so much but there’re multiple sides to her. I think that her journey with racial identity really informs why she’s so supportive of Rose in Rose’s journey. What we learned from both of these kids is that, people are changing, people are constantly changing. So, you know, embrace it, explore it. Make mistakes sometimes but just keep questioning. I think that’s something so beautifully portrayed on this show. Always has been, and now, on “And Just Like That…””
4) As someone from a younger generation, how do you think the show has reinvented itself for the modern era?
“What I find amazing is just the way that these writers and directors have attacked it. It’s hard with art because it’s something that you’ve created, it’s like a baby. You don’t want to dissect it, but this team wants to. They’re so excited about making this better. In order to grow, it takes a lot of difficult moments and the show is doing such a wonderful job. We can’t represent every single person and every single lifestyle, but we can at least try and bring more people into the fold, you know?
It’s also important to make sure that the issues of today are tied to who are you as a person, and I feel like I’m learning by watching the show too. I just like working with these actors of different colours; of different gender, identities and sexual identities. It makes me a better person just to work with them. We’re getting so many people across the world, because this is a huge hit. There’s opportunity to learn something new and I’m really proud of us.”
5) In “And Just Like That…”, you’re one of the younger cast members; how does it feel like to be working around such amazing cast?
“I’m always a little bit starstruck when I arrive on set. You know me from “Over The Moon”, which was a voiceover; I was doing animation and TV acting is just generally new to me. So there’s a lot that I had to learn. But what’s wonderful about this group of people is that they want to teach you. The whole time they want to nurture you, give you tips and tricks.
I think it’s definitely Michael Patrick King, the creator. It’s definitely his energy, but also I think when you’re in a room full of women who have been doing this for so long, they just want to help other young women. It’s amazing because these women are so gracious and kind the whole time while also being totally aware of every camera movement, light — everything. They understand the craft. And so for me, it’s like, wow. I got to learn everyday, which is wonderful.”
6) Is there any advice you have been able to scoop from the more experienced ones on set?
“I work with Kristin the most because she plays my mom, Charlotte. Kristin knows Lily, you know, because in her head she’s raised her already up to this 15-year-old mark. And so I think there’s a lot that she can share about where (and) what their past have been; what past she crafted. And what’s nice is that we get to collaborate on that together now with the writers, Michael and a lot with Kristin.
And then, tips and tricks wise, I have never worn such expensive clothing or been around huge camera sets. There’s so much to learn. So Kristin will tell me how to make sure I’m catching my light and how to hold this little purse so that the paparazzi will be able to catch it in their photo. You know, like they’ve just experienced every aspect of how to succeed and exceed expectations in this industry. So it’s a wealth of information. They just know what to do. It’s a wonderful collaboration.”
7) Which character from the series speaks the most to you?
“I think I’m probably Miranda and Charlotte. I’m a mix of them; at least from the original series. Because the thing is that we also don’t know where this series is going to end up (and) who they’re going to be. But I just feel there’s something about the way they take care of people in their lives.
I really admire so many of their traits; Miranda and her career, and the things that she was able to accomplish despite working against so many different challenges in workplaces, as women do. And Charlotte in her journey of making a family happen despite all the barriers. I think that’s really beautiful to me, because I appreciate what my mom has gone through now that I’m a little older. So, I love them and I hope that I can be as wonderful of a mother as Charlotte and as wonderful of a friend as Miranda. And hopefully I can be as successful (like) both of them as well. I’m very type A like her and also, a mama bear like Miranda.”
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8) Which part of Lily Goldenblatt’s character can you personally relate to the most, and how similar is her upbringing and life to yours?
“Well, things that I relate to her definitely have to do with art. I think you get to see in this season, from episode one already, that she has a very strong connection to music, and it is a way for her to express herself. I mean there are other artistic ventures going around in her head and I think I relate to that greatly.
But we do have different upbringings. I was not a city girl, I grew up in a suburb. My parents were immigrants. I’m Chinese Filipino and they immigrated from the Philippines. And you know, at home we’re very culturally, Chinese Filipino. So I did struggle sometimes to really understand Lily. I wanted to at least talk through it with with Kristin and Michael Patrick King, but she’s just an American teenager like I am.
I think, her journey is something that I’m still going through when it comes to who am I. That’s every teenager’s question. That’s when you start asking that question. And if this show is teaching us anything, it’s that you can be asking that question your whole life. Right? And you should be.
We want to watch these women who are in their 50s and even their 60s; we want to watch them question who they are and challenge themselves. And so I think it’s exciting that Lily gets to do that on the show. But yeah, I hope that it’s inspiring and that other people (can) relate to her the same way I do.”
9) Tell us more about your upbringing; growing up Chinese Filipino in the United States. What were the unique experiences you’ve had?
“My mom doesn’t speak Chinese, they (my parents) both speak Tagalog at home. My dad also speaks Mandarin and so we spoke the language when I was growing up, because of course, I went to a Chinese school growing up. I feel like the food we ate, the people that are in our lives; we’re drawn to people who understand us and that meant growing up, my parents were cultivating that kind of community. I was very lucky, I grew up in a pretty rich Asian population. And, I‘m hoping that, I get to really soak in a lot of my culture even though I was in America, which is really hard for some kids across the US or if they’re just anywhere other than their home countries. And so, I was very lucky. My parents made a point to be true to who they are. And I think I didn’t necessarily appreciate that as a kid (of) how hard that can be. But now I do and they’re just my heroes.
When I go home now, I am always so happy to learn a new dish from my mom. I also just learned baking – I was baking a lot. So, I started making Ube rolls and Brazo de Mercedes (by) myself at home, which is really fun. I hope that I can teach my kids a few of the things that my parents have passed on to me, because I think it’s made me a lot stronger, having multiple cultures to pull from. But definitely, the grit it takes to be an Asian immigrant in the US is huge, and I will always look up to them for that. And now as an Asian American, I get to join the arts because they did all this stuff for me. I feel very blessed.“
10) Growing up, did you see many Asian representation on screen and what did you observe from that? Also, what does it feel like to be an Asian representative on screen?
“When I was growing up, my favorite Disney movie was “Mulan”. Because, you know, she was a strong fierce warrior, represented on screen and I felt like, “oh, yeah, I understand that. I’ve seen that.” Maybe I’ve seen versions of her or aspects of her in the women that I know; my mom, my aunts. There are so many different stories to be told, because Asian people just represent so many different kinds of cultures. There’re so many of us in the world and we’ve all had a slightly different experience.
I was drawn to art and music as a kid, that was my creative outlet. And I love to sing. I’m Filipino, so I grew up with karaoke in the house, always. I felt very lucky that I got to try and make a career out of this. As an Asian kid in America, you’re not told that it’s a viable career, because there weren’t many people who were succeeding at that. But things are changing because the industry is listening. So I feel fairly proud that in this instance, I hopefully get to inspire some kid to play the piano, to get into fashion, to live their life, discuss with their parents and help them understand about what’s culturally inappropriate and vice versa.
There’re so many things that Lilly represents that I relate to her as well. It’s a huge honour to be able to bring her to life on screen and I hope that I’m doing some kid justice. I hope that some people relate to her or find her interesting because there’re just so, so many stories to be told. And there’s going to be more representation in the future.“
11) “Sex in The City” is known for it’s fabulous wardrobe; so for this spin-off, can you tell us what are you going to wear or what have you worn? And please spill talk more on that Oscar de la Renta gown!
“The things that I wear on this show, just blew my mind. There were a lot of things that I tried in my fittings that you’ll never see. I’ll just have it as my own little secret. I think the fashion on the show is just visionary. But personally as Cathy, I don’t know a lot about fashion. So this show gave me an opportunity to learn so much and really appreciate what it means to be able to wear art, to just wear someone’s expression. It’s very special, and I don’t think I really understood it until I was on the show and was being taught how to move, how to breathe, how to stand and express myself when I was wearing this piece of art. It’s amazing what they do.
Wearing the Oscar de la Renta, that piece is classical, beautiful, sweeping and honestly I think I looked the part. Because the team Molly, Danny, Laughlin and Adrian who were tailoring for me, they made every piece feel like it was made for you. They make sure that every piece represents our character.
I’ve worn a lot of Chanel and MiuMiu. I‘ve worn a (stepped Stallard) piece, Oscar de la Renta, obviously. She’s grown up with Charlotte, who is a wonderful fashion icon. And so she’s gotten to experiment a lot and it’s informed who she is, you can tell by the way she’s just embraced the Charlotte within her. So I think that largely comes from fashion itself. It’s been a treat for me as an actor to understand that a little bit more.”
Catch up with our favourite gang and gag at the fashion pieces in “And Just Like That…” on HBO GO.
Can’t get enough of the series now that the season is ending? Follow the cast, as well as the costume designers, in “And Just Like That… The Documentary” as they talk about what’s going on behind the curtains, and get a chance to peek on the whole wardrobe worn during the season!
Premiering today, 10th February 2022 just on HBO GO.
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