People have a lot to say about the new Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That… Like, a lot. First, there’s the whole Big dying thing. And then there’s Miranda’s journey to discover her sexuality, which is a net positive for the series as a whole because it brought us the instantly iconic “Hey, it’s Che Diaz” line. And now Carrie’s dating again, and that’s a whole thing. But the one person seemingly everyone can agree on is Seema, Carrie’s new realtor and dating sherpa, played by Sarita Choudhury.
Seema is 53, single, dating, and unashamed of all the above. As Carrie’s realtor-turned-friend, she has a refreshing “everything can be fixed” mentality. When Carrie bought a brand new apartment and then decided she didn’t like it, Seema’s response was, “Then we’ll sell it.” And as the only one of Carrie’s friends to enter her life post-Big, Seema sees Carrie as who she is as an individual, not just as a recent widow. It reminds the audience of who she used to be, and that feels really, really good. Each episode of this reboot has about 1/10 of the amount of Seema scenes we actually want and need.
Cosmopolitan hopped on the phone with Sarita to ask how she brought the best new character from And Just Like That… to life.
Cosmo: How did this role come your way? And was there anything particularly interesting about your audition process?
Sarita: I read the script and thought, Oh my god, this character, she’s something. I really prepared for the audition, because there was something about this character that I couldn’t casually pull off. She speaks her mind. She walks her talk. I also brought all these props to the audition. I brought a smoothie because I wanted a straw. I had a cigarette. I had glasses. I had a cup of coffee from the cafe, like in a New York coffee cup. I had a hairband because halfway through the audition I put my hair up, a scarf that I put on during, a jacket.
What role did the producers want Seema to fill within the show? Was there a mission statement for this character?
There wasn’t, but it was in her lines. Her opening line is, “My name means ‘boundary.'” Which is hilarious, because I have none. That said everything. I didn’t have to go further than that.
Seema is dating in the show, and I’m wondering why you feel that’s such a rich area to explore—people who are dating as real adults. We don’t get to see that depicted onscreen very often.
I think also if you see real adult dating, it’s more in that, “Oh, I have a friend through work. I want you to meet them casually.” But Seem unapologetically is on dating apps, as if she’s in her 30s. And I think that’s new, because even though probably people are doing that, they often hide it or they pretend that they’re not really. She’s just talking about it. She doesn’t care.
I feel like most of the time we see dating depicted onscreen, the people are either under 35 or they’re freshly divorced. But Seema has always been single. That’s different to me.
Oh, my God. I mean, even though I knew what you just said, I’ve never heard it said like that. It’s so true. It’s also makes you wonder why she didn’t get married, right? And why is she still so comfortable dating? There seems to be no sense of, what I love about her, there’s no sense of talking about what didn’t happen. She’s always talking about what can happen.
What do you think Seema’s type is?
I think she would like the way someone orders coffee and want to date them. She would like the way someone’s working hard and not staring at her. She’d like something very specific about people, which probably leads to why she has to keep dating because, even though those things are great for the moment, that doesn’t mean the whole person is gonna be amazing. I think she’s never found the person who knows how to fully deal with her. She’s found elements of that, but not a full one.
In the Diwali episode, we discover that Seema made up a boyfriend for the sake of her parents. Did you relate to her at all in those moments?
Totally. And even though it was so relevant Indian culture, it made me realize, Oh, my God, everyone goes through this. What’s unusual about this situation is she’s 53, which you would think it would get easier as you get older, but she has it more because she never got married. It shows the little cracks in Seema, Seema as the daughter. When she’s out in the world as a boss lady, that’s one thing. But at home, she’s doing what we all do.
It’s almost like it doesn’t matter how old you get, or how sure of yourself you seem to other people, your parents are still your parents.
Totally. And also, we rebel all our lives against our parents, but we also protect them and that’s a very Indian thing. You love your parents so much and you respect them, and you never want to break that respect, so she’ll be doing that for a long time.
In this week’s episode, there’s a scene where audiences see the three women out to dinner and Seema is there, metaphorically taking Samantha’s place at the table. How did you feel about that challenge, as an actor?
When I saw that scene in the script, I was like, Wait, I’m at the table? Am I having a cosmopolitan? I have to admit there was something super exciting about it, because they’re iconic to me, those dinner table scenes. When I’m asked about Samantha’s character, then I think about it, but when when you’re an actor on the set, and you read the script, you’re not so much thinking about that. You’re literally thinking, I don’t want to ruin the table scene. But I can see why you’re asking me that because of course, that chair is for Samantha.
I think people will draw comparisons, but I’m sure for you, you’re kind of like, “Well, I’m here to create an entirely different character.”
But I also get that when you join a show like this, you’re literally stepping into all these different shoes. And I don’t even mind it. I’m enjoying it, because I used to do the same with Sex and the City.
Other than your character’s storyline this season, what arc have you been the most interested in watching?
I’m literally, like, open-eyed at Che and Miranda. I’m fascinated, loving it, watching it.
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