Browsing Tag

Sex and The City

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Samantha Wills

30th October, 2016

Samantha Wills and I catch up at The Apollo Restaurant, Potts Point

As a 21-year-old, Samantha Wills founded her own, self-titled jewellery company. Her pieces have since been worn by the likes of Taylor Swift and Eva Mendes and appeared in the 2010 movie Sex and the City 2. Wills has been chosen to be a face of marketing campaigns for Optus, Yellowglen, Mount Franklin and Nespresso. This year, she was nominated at the Australian of the Year Awards. Wills, 33, chatted to me about the best advice she has been given, what she misses most about Australia, and how she turned her hobby into a business with $10 million turnover annually.

What is a day in the life of you?

When I’m in New York, it’s very creative focused [and I’m] in design mode. When I’m in Sydney, it’s very much team- and media-focused.

How did it all start for you?

I started the company when I was 21 – 12 years ago. Now we have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris, Korea and Japan, and it started just as a hobby on my dining room table. I started selling down at Bondi Beach market and launched at Australian Fashion Week, very opportunistically, in 2004 with $17,000 of orders. As a 23-year-old, I threw everything I had, got myself into $80,000 of debt and refused to give up.

Did you always dream of becoming a jewellery designer?

I think when I was younger, I definitely always thought I’d have my own business in some capacity and it was always going to be creative. For me, jewellery wasn’t the be all and end all. It was more something that I could hand make myself without formal training, and so it kind of naturally evolved that way.

You’ve had many celebrities wear your designs. Who are some of your favourites that really stand out in your mind?

Definitely Taylor Swift is a huge favourite in American Vogue. Eva Mendes has to be a favourite. She made our signature Bohemian Bardot Ring [into] a global signature. Ever since she wore it [in 2008], it has been our bestselling item. And to have it appear on Sex and the City was pretty surreal as well.

How did the Sex and the City collaboration come about?

We were presenting to media in Los Angeles and … you hope that the right people come past. Patricia Field, the style assistant for the film, came past. They made some notes and then called some pieces in … You can assume those samples will be gone for a year or you won’t get them back because they go into the wardrobe department. About a year later, I had certainly forgotten about it, and we received a card with an illustration of the four girls on the front and it said, “One hand in the air for the big city, thanks for making us look so pretty. Love, Patricia” … I literally had to wait to go to the premiere of the film to see our products up on the big screen.

How did appearing in Sex and the City impact on your brand?

It kind of like evolves the story I think and adds credibility at an international level.

You are the face of Optus’ Small Business Campaign. How did that come about?

It was quite surreal. I think when you get a phone call like, “We’ve signed Mark Wahlberg on to do a campaign and would like you to sign on to the same campaign?”, I was kind of like, “Do you guys have the right number?”

Did you really think that?

Yes, it clicked to me that you really don’t know who is watching your journey and the team at Optus had done a lot of research on the last 12 years of my career and really felt that my story of an underdog from small town Port Macquarie to New York City would really resonate with small- to medium-sized business owners.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Working in fashion, people expect you to have attitude … [so] I think if you can be a nice person and treat everyone like they’re someone, it really goes a long way.

What would you tell your 19-year-old self? 

I think about myself when I was starting the business and the anxiety and the fear and the 20-hour work days … I would try and tell myself that if you look up every once in a while, everything is going to be OK, but I don’t think she will listen.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face? 

There are always challenges as your business grows or you become “procedure successful” – the challenges just differ. In the early days, being $80,000 in debt, as a 24-year-old is incredibly daunting. As the business grows, it’s people issues. You’re only as good as the people around you, so you’re continually managing people as well as the business.

What would your advice to someone starting out in the jewellery industry?

My overarching advice is you don’t want to be that person at the party, three years from now, being like, “Oh yeah, I was always going to do that”. Just start, even as insignificant as the action might seem, do something towards what you’re wanting to do.

Is New York home now?

It feels like home at the moment. I’ve got a great network over here and home is where you build your network. I say New York is my city, Sydney is my town.

What do you miss most about Australia?

Definitely the beaches. I think I was so spoilt growing up in Port Macquarie with these beautiful coastlines and then, in my 20s, in Sydney. When I come back to Australia now I know I look like a tourist because I’m taking a thousand photos of the ocean. I’m in it everyday. It just gives you a whole new level of appreciation for how beautiful our country is.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a lot of external projects outside of the brand, which is really exciting for a personal career perspective… [It has been] stimulating and inspiring to kind of step outside the business, but still have it as the backbone and, I guess, the foundation of everything that I touch.


WE WENT TO The Apollo Restaurant, Potts Point

WE ATE Walnuts filo pastry coffee cream dessert

WE DRANK Champagne and mineral water

SAMANTHA WORE Misha Collection jumpsuit

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Kristin Davis

22nd February, 2016
SUN HERALD DATE WITH KATE. Kate Waterhouse with actress Kristen Davis having lunch at The Flying Fish in Pyrmont, Sydney 11th February 2016 Photo by Louise kennerley smh

A delicious seafood  lunch at The Flying Fish with Davis

Without a doubt Kristin Davis is best known for her role as Charlotte York on the popular Sex and the City (SATC) series. She has also starred in films such as Couple’s Retreat and has worked in theatre on the West End and Broadway. Away from acting Davis actively raises awareness about the mistreatment of refugees through her work with the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) agency and  has established herself as a renowned animal rights activist and award-winning humanitarian. I chatted to Davis about her charity work, whether there will be another SATC movie and being mistaken for her popular character Charlotte.

What brings you to Australia? 

I’m with the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees to talk about the bigger picture of the refugee crisis. Australians have made a big commitment in terms of their work, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo with women who have survived horrific violence at the hands of rebels. I have come with Sister Angélique, this amazing woman who has done a tremendous amount of work in a small part of the Congo. Australia is one of the biggest funders of her work. She has also come to raise money to continue that work.

What has made you so passionate about human rights and UNHCR? 

In the famine in 2011, these people had nothing. On their journey to find food, they were robbed of their own clothes on their back. I saw first hand the unbelievably integral part that UNHCR plays as a frontline responder. The UNHCR delegates jobs to different NGOs by organising help to people who have already suffered unimaginable violence. I’m able to go to places and see these things so I feel like it’s my job to tell people about the issues. There are 60 million displaced people who need to be taken care of, 83 per cent of them are women and children. 

Tell me about your recent visit to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It was really wonderful and amazing and also shocking. In Uganda, where I was in the camps I would help unload the transport trucks. Many people have tiny, tiny babies and they just have a little sack on their back and that was what they were able to run with. You just think about what they’ve been through and they’re so happy to get there and you hand them a bar of soap and a cup and they’re kind of dazed but so happy and relieved. There’s a lot of joy in these camps.

Republic of Congo is one of the worst places in the world to be a woman and is the rape capital of the world, what are some of the shocking facts about the region?

The Lord’s Resistance Army had moved through there and had basically lived in the area for a number of years and had taken all of the young boys to be soldiers against their will and taken most of the young women with them into the jungle. So the mothers have had to face losing their children. Over time some of the younger girls who had been taken, would escape and would come out of the jungle, often pregnant or with a little baby that would be a Lord’s Resistance Army child, and then their families would not want them. What they’ve been through is more than any of us could probably withstand.  

How can people help?

In Australia, we have launched the, “I will” campaign. It is about just starting a conversation. A lot of it is about taking the stigma away from talking about these issues. These issues might not touch us directly but globally, they are affecting us because huge amounts of people are displaced and subjected to this violence and rape.  

SATC must have been a great platform for opening up conversation about women. How has being on such a popular show helped you with your charity work?

It really just created the opportunity to travel and be exposed to the opportunities to jump in. It taught me about the need for the good people in the world to step up and help because the people who don’t mean well are very energised right now. So we kind of have to step up a bit more.

What was one of your biggest highlights while filming SATC?

There were many beautiful nights in New York City. One time, we had to shoot in Times Square for a week in the middle of the night. It was fascinating when you get to be in a huge landmark place which is somewhat shut down at that time. Even in LA, I remember just laughing so hard between takes, we spent a lot of time just laughing and laughing.

SATC was watched my millions, do people often mistake you for Charlotte and her character? 

They call me Charlotte, but almost like it’s unconscious. Just today, someone called me Char.

Do you just ignore it or do you respond?

It depends what kind of situation it is. I was in my doctor’s office one time when the Nurse came out she said, “Charlotte”. I was like, “What do I do?” Then when no one got up, I was like, “I guess, she means me”. So I was like, “How do I politely tell her that my name is not Charlotte?” It’s kind of awkward.

Will there be a Sex and the City movie III? 

I don’t know. I hope so… It would be great!

What do you love most about acting?

I used to really love acting. I love the camaraderie of the set. It can be a very fun and creative place. It’s kind of a fun, interplay and creative experience when you’re on a good set. As I have grown older though I feel more driven for my humanitarian work and my work with the elephants [Davis works with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to help raise awareness of endangered species].

Tell me about your experience on West End and Broadway.

West End was a little hard because I took my two-year-old with me. There were some big challenges involved with that. I got to work with [director] Trevor Nunn and [actress] Natasha McElhone. Broadway was amazing because the cast had an amazing energy as it was a comedy. I loved the journeyman element of it all, getting to go to different places and be with different people.  

Will you make a return to stage?

I hope so as I do love it. It’s really what I was trained for and then I just got distracted happily into television and film. But, I love the theatre because it’s so immediate and you share that experience with the audience right there. I would do another TV show too if it was the right show. 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Well, I hope that I’m still working for the UN High Commissioner of Refugees and I hope that the elephant-poaching crisis is over and that we can just feel happy that the elephants will survive. I hope my daughter is growing and thriving. I hope we’re traveling together and having adventures.

For more info on UNHCR go to:


WE WENT TO Flying Fish, Pyrmont 

WE ATE Charred storm clams with cauliflower and black vinegar; Oysters from north and south coast varieties; King prawns with dry spice

WE DRANK Sparkling mineral water

KRISTIN WORE Mary Katrantzou

KATE WORE Bec and Birdge dress and Christian Paul watch

Photography: Louise kennerley

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Candace Bushnell

28th July, 2013
High tea with Sex and The City author Candace Bushnell.

High tea with Sex and The City author Candace Bushnell.

Candace Bushnell is the best-selling author of Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries, Lipstick Jungle and more. Sex and the City was published in 1996 and went on to be the basis for the HBO hit series and two subsequent blockbuster movies. I caught up with the New York-based author during her trip to Sydney.

What are you up to during your time in Australia?

Maybe some crazy things like the Thunder boat on Sydney harbour. I’m here with my sister, so we have been doing a bit of shopping. This is probably my 10th trip. I’ve been out here a lot with my book tours. But this time I’m out here for the Business Chicks lectures. Business Chicks is the biggest women’s business organisation in Australia, so I’m looking forward to meeting lots of inspiring women.

When you started out, did you ever expect your books would be so successful?

No. When I first started out, my goal was really just to write a book and get it published. I started writing when I was really young – I was first published when I was 19. I knew that I wanted to be a writer at the age of eight and I knew I wanted to write novels. So that was always my dream and my passion.

What is it like when you see your novels come to life on screen?

I’m usually really proud. I mean, I’m always really proud because there are so many people who put in so much hard work.


What do you think it was about Sex and the City especially that people love so much?

I think it’s very relate-able and I think that women see a part of themselves in each one of the characters. And I think that the situations that the characters are in are – they are very modern. We are striking out on our own and having careers and then also trying to navigate relationships, and those are always things that women can relate to.

Of the four main characters in Sex and the City, which character are you most like?

Well, Carrie Bradshaw was my alter ego. In fact, I actually started off writing Sex and the City in first person and then I felt it was maybe a little bit limited. So then I remember I was sitting at my computer and I was like, ‘I have got to come up with an alter ego and a name.’ And the name just came to me in a flash: Carrie Bradshaw.

Are you as passionate about fashion as Carrie is?

Yes, I’m into fashion, but I spend a lot of time at a house in the country and I have a horse, so most days I’m in a pair of very casual pants – something resembling pyjama bottoms – and flip-flops. But I really appreciate fashion and I like the visual aspect of it, and putting things together.

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

I’m working on another book and the working title is Killing Monica. I had a different title but it was very strange because I had sent a bit of the first draft to my editor and it ended up getting hacked. It’s the times that we live in.

Tell me about your writing process.

Each day I get up, have an Earl Grey tea with lemon, read The New York Times, check my emails and then I just try to get to work and write. I usually work five or six hours and then I’ll go and ride my horse and/or go mountain biking. When I am writing it’s a very simple life, so then I’ll go home [and] make dinner. I’ll get ideas and I’ll take notes while I watch a little bit of TV – sometimes The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, some sort of reality show usually – and then I go to bed and get up and do it all over again. It’s a pretty disciplined life.

What would be your best bit of advice for someone who is just starting as a writer?

Practise. It’s the same kind of discipline that you need for sports or playing an instrument. You practise and practise. I’ve been doing it since I was 19; I’m 54, so that’s 35 years, and I feel like, oh, I’m really starting to understand who I am as a writer and how to say what I want to say. But it’s a continual learning process. It takes a lifetime to do it and to master it, so every day I hope I’m going to be a better writer. You just keep refining it and you have to push yourself.

What do you do to relax when you’re not working?

Well, I ride my horse and then I do dressage, which also is an incredibly disciplined kind of horseback riding. Other than that I spend time with friends and I have two standard poodles.


WE WENT TO The Darling, Pyrmont.

WE ATE Finger sandwiches and a selection of cakes.

WE DRANK Earl Grey tea.

I WORE Dion Lee top, Miu Miu leather pants, YSL heels.

CANDACE WORE Missoni dress and Christian Louboutin heels.

Photography: Dallas Kilponen