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Oprah: Explain that to us.

SJP: I'm not being cagey or modest. I just know how to dress. And so much of it is about genetics. That's why I don't like the endless discussions about how to get skinny after pregnancy. It's crap.

Oprah: Yes.

SJP: And it's not good for women. Actresses have this weight standard for professional reasons, but I think the standard is impossible for women in America.

Oprah: And yet you did it. You came back rushing down the street in Manolos.

SJP: My job requires me to put on a little dress and run around the streets of New York in heels. But I also had the financial means to hire a yoga teacher to come to my house while my sitter watched the newborn. For 95 percent of the world, that's not realistic. So when I hear that people are discussing how this actress got skinny, I say, "Who gives a crap how she got in shape?" We should find other role models.

Oprah: I'm with you, sister. Who are the women you admire?

SJP: My mom. My sister Rachel, who's a physician's assistant and a really decent person. She specializes in heart surgery. No one mentions her name in a newspaper, but she literally saves people's lives all day long.

Oprah: Sex and the City made America feel differently about being single. Was that your intention when you took the role?

SJP: No. I just thought it was an interesting part. There's a formula now in romantic comedies: the career lady with fantastic clothes who's a mess with men. But these women aren't flawed and complicated. They aren't on a quiet journey. That's the great thing about Carrie. Yes, she's a bit of a wreck, but she's a romantic and she's a writer and she's an observer, and she makes fantastic mistakes—and she has this beautiful relationship with New York City, which really is the person she loves most.

Oprah: Carrie has a soul. Over the years, you built that for her.

SJP: Well, I was given the opportunity. And I love Carrie. But I don't know that I'll play that kind of part again. I should play an engineer; I should play someone who buys her clothes at the Gap.

Oprah: I've always wanted to ask you something: Do you get all your Manolos for free?

SJP: I get a 30 percent discount. While I still have money, I'm happy to pay for them. I don't spend on things like drugs or alcohol—I buy shoes! And I buy a lot of purses, too. Are you a purse woman?

Oprah: I'm not.

SJP: Well, I like a purse.

Oprah: And I bet Carrie has hundreds in the wardrobe closet. Will you stay in touch with the other three women once the show is done?

SJP: Sure. We'll always know one another, but I doubt we'll work together again. Well, Cynthia and I might, because we worked together before, in theater. But we're forever in one another's lives. I want the same thing for them that I want for myself: new experiences. I'm not worried about them getting roles. They'll go on and do exciting things that scare and challenge them, too.

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