In the spirit of full transparency, yes, I am one of *those* Sex and the City fans. The lifetimers. The ones who counted down the days between the announcement of a reboot and the premiere of And Just Like That. While many fans feared the worst with a cast of newcomers, two seasons in, it still feels… right. In fact, some of the new characters make me an even bigger fan of the SATC universe, and one in particular stands out: Lisa Todd Wexley.

A documentarian and a mother of three, LTW feels aspirational and relatable all at once. She’s warm and kind, but she’s not a pushover. Her life may be glamorous, but she struggles with the same motherhood stressors we all have.

And after catching up with Nicole Ari Parker, who plays LTW, I can’t honestly imagine anyone else filling those (Giuseppe Zanotti slingback) shoes.

Teri on Soul Food, Giselle on Empire, and now LTW on And Just Like That — Parker has a knack for inhabiting characters who are strong, smart, independent, and endlessly stylish. Spend 20 minutes with her, and it’s not hard to see why: She is all of those things, too.

But in the span of our conversation, it became clear very quickly that the jewels in her proverbial crown will always be her kids, daughter Sophie, 19, and son Nicolas, 17, whom she shares with husband and fellow actor Boris Kodjoe.

It’s the thread of motherhood that led to our conversation with the busy working mom of two: She’s partnered with Jergens Skincare and renowned fashion jeweler Adina Eden to create a custom, limited-edition bracelet for the brand’s new Mother’s Day campaign, Mom-Sense. Parker drew inspiration for the distinctive bracelet from the mothers in her life.

“It was already this gorgeous link symbolizing that unbreakable bond between a mom and the people she cares about, and then it came with a cherry, of course, for Jergens’ iconic scent,” she explains. “They let me add a heart for mom’s love, and a star because, in my business, you become a star for a lot of different reasons, but my mom and my grandmother and all the women in my life are stars to me. They just shined their love everywhere they went and were such a great example of what I could give my kids.”

Parker opens up to us about her next chapter as a mom, her beauty must-haves, and, obviously, all things LTW.

Scary Mommy: I’m a strong believer in a mother’s intuition. Are there any moments you can recall when your “mom sense” had a profound impact?

Nicole Ari Parker: So many. Do you know how, around fourth and fifth grade, your kid has a little bit of confidence, but they might be struggling in English or math or forming their ideas? So both of my children had this where they were sitting at the table, and I would be cooking or whatever. My kids both are very sensitive children and they kind of drift. And there was something in me that would just know that they needed an anchor.

So, I’d stop what I was doing and I would just sit at the table, and the work got done. My mom sense told me to just be around, and it grounded them in a way. Just energetically — very subtle, can’t prove this, don’t write an article about it — but it helped.

I got that from my mom. My mom would kind of know how powerful her presence was without saying anything. I just felt that intuitively and gave it to my kids.

Arnold Turner/Getty Images

SM: You’re almost in that “empty nest” space. How are you feeling about this next chapter?

NAP: Kind of sad and lonely and weird. The house is quiet. Even though my 17-year-old son is home, he’s away at practice … and he drives to practice. I’m like, ‘What?’ He’s a real athlete now. He’s gone most of the day.

So, I’ve been adjusting to the empty nest. Luckily, they both call me since I shoot the show in New York. Literally just saying, ‘What you doing, Mom?’ Oh my gosh, best thing ever. And if I have five days off, I fly home.

But it’s going to be tough. Boris and I were at dinner last night because my son’s playing in Germany right now and my daughter’s at college, and we were like, ‘It’s just us at this big old table.’

SM: I read that Boris went to therapy for, like, eight months before he asked you out because he didn’t want to bring any bad patterns from his past into your relationship. Hard swoon. You’ve been married now for almost two decades. Do you still use therapy as a tool in your lives, or what’s your strategy for staying connected?

NAP: Yeah, we both have individual therapists, and then we had couples therapy because we both came from crazy homes — a lot of love, incredible moms, but a lot of stuff. It caught up with us.

Not so much as parents because he’s an incredible dad, and I try to be the best mom I can be. But we had to work on everything that you hear about, like communicating, projecting, all the things that happen in a long-term relationship, and it really helped us a lot.

We’re also really into prayer and meditation and things like that. Separately we have our own ways of doing things, but that has really been an incredible journey for me to connect with myself and heal parts of me that he’s not responsible for.

It’s been great. I can’t believe next year is 20 years married. Two actors.

SM: Is there any chance we’ll get a Boris cameo on And Just Like That at some point?

NAP: I don’t think so. He’s pretty busy, but I don’t know. That’s up to MPK, Michael Patrick King.

SM: Speaking of And Just Like That, you’ve had some of the most iconic looks of the series. What has been your favorite so far?

NAP: There are so many, but I’d have to go with the custom-made Valentino, crossing Park Avenue, 15 feet of silk chiffon, hands down. And the Philip Treacy headdress. I mean…

Christopher Jackson and Nicole Ari Parker are seen on the set of ‘And Just Like That…’ Season 2 in New York City.

James Devaney/GC Images

SM: I knew you’d say it. How could you not? I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched that scene.

NAP: That warms my heart. Then I have this beautiful outfit that Pierpaolo made for the premiere last year that happens to be the same colors.

SM: What’s been the most surprising or challenging thing about playing Lisa Todd Wexley and joining the SATC universe?

NAP: Not stealing the clothes! (laughs) I think I went in very nervous. It’s 20+ years of icons that I was about to share the screen with. I think I might’ve said to Sarah Jessica Parker, ‘Do you know when I’m ordering stuff online and have to say my whole name, and they don’t know what Ari is, I just say, ‘It’s three names, like Sarah Jessica Parker’?’ She was like, ‘Thank you. That’s, wow.’ That was my first day of humiliation.

But they were all incredible humans. They’re New Yorkers. They were part of the realness of the city. So they’re not scared to talk about politics; they’re straight-shooters, highly intelligent, seasoned, gorgeous, smart, powerful women, and they welcomed all of us with open arms.

SM: You and Sarita Choudhury, who plays Seema, are actually longtime friends. I don’t think a lot of people realize that.

NAP: 30 years! We were struggling broke actresses in New York City. We used to audition for Law & Order with the same blue shirt. I think I bought the shirt; I splurged. Then, if she had to audition for the cop or the lawyer, she borrowed it… and here we are.

SM: Full circle. I know you’re sworn to secrecy about Season 3, but is there anything you can share?

NAP: There’s so much secrecy. I don’t even know what I’m doing this season. I’m still married to the amazing Chris Jackson, Herbert Wexley. I still have kids. I still have that fabulous closet. I have my first table read on May 1; we can circle back.

SM: Fair enough. If they ever pitch an LTW spinoff, would you do it?

NAP: Oh yeah.

SM: Personally, you’re always changing up your look. What inspires that?

NAP: I’ve always been like that. I came out of the womb with jazz hands and caftans. Full on, my mom used to drag me to all the antique stores and secondhand shops, and I’d buy all the jewelry, I’d buy scarves. I played dress up. I was an only child, and I made skits in the kitchen. I rewrote episodes of Dallas and Knots Landing growing up. I was an actress from day one.

So, I never felt locked into anything. Blonde hair today; I might have a curly bob tomorrow.

SM: What advice do you have for other moms who want to experiment like that? What’s an easy way to tiptoe into change?

NAP: I got one for you, and I learned it from LTW: Don’t save the party dress.

We keep thinking, ‘Well, I’m just running errands today, and I feel schlumpy. Then I need a workout. And my favorite lipstick melted in the car.’ No. Just put it all on. It feels so good to pick out pasta sauce in your favorite jacket. It’s the weirdest little detail to take what you already have — you don’t have to go shopping — and you just pick up the kids in a dress.

SM: Can you share five beauty staples you couldn’t live without?

Perfume. Lotion. Sleep. Sunscreen. Yes, to all my Black and Brown sisters, we have to wear sunscreen too. And spiritual time. Even if it’s five minutes, deep breaths, whatever religion you believe in, connecting with the source, boom, start your day.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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