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Candace Bushnell and Brooke Shields Dish on Lipstick Jungle

Lipstick Jungle — that other show about career women searching for success, love, and happiness in New York City — finally premieres on Thursday. Unlike Cashmere Mafia, this series has Candace Bushnell behind it: The story comes from her book of the same name, and she's remained with the show as an executive producer. But in a conference call with reporters recently, Bushnell insisted Lipstick can stand on its own without being compared to her iconic Sex and the City. Here's some of what she and star Brooke Shields had to say about the show:

  • On whether professional women must be neurotic if they are also successful:
    Shields: "I think you can be successful and still be extremely present in a healthy life. The women of Lipstick are saying to us that it’s OK to be successful and it’s also okay to be happy with your success even though it might not be easy. . . . I’m not saying any successful woman's life is without struggle. But it doesn’t mean it has to be miserable."
  • On keeping the show real and not cartoonish:
    Shields: "The humor comes from the situations and it's earned. The funny moments are earned not because we’re going over the top or we're trying to hit you over the head, but because the situation is funny. But the basis of it and the ground on which we're standing truly comes from the struggles that these women really are going through, and really do exist. So the cartoon feeling was just taken away from the very, very beginning. That's why I was on board so quickly."

    Bushnell: "I think one of the things that’s very important to understand about Lipstick Jungle is that the show, the book, and the whole concept was really inspired by real women and a new paradigm of a career woman, and a working woman. It happens to take place in New York. But one of the initial things that inspired me to write the book is the fact that 30 percent of married women make more money than their husbands. Thirty percent of married women work and are the breadwinners for their families, which is something that surprised me and really inspired me. And having traveled all around the country, I will tell you that this Lipstick Jungle paradigm is not just high powered career women in New York."

Lots more from Shields and Bushnell, so


  • On whether there's room for both Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia:
    Shields: "When you walk through New York City or if you’ve lived in New York City at all, that this city is filled with amazing women. But we’re all individual and all really different. . . . Lipstick was around way before any of the other shows were around and I’m not only proud of that from the standpoint of originality, but just from what I regard as women that I can relate to and that I want to watch."
  • On what the show could teach younger women viewers:
    Bushnell: "I hope it offers a different message than the message that so many teenage girls seem to get today, which is that you should be hot and that’s it. I am a very strong believer that we should be telling teenage girls that a great deal of fulfillment and happiness comes from having a career, from working hard, and from really pursuing achievements."

    Shields: "I think the value and the power that is derived from friendships, from your real good girl friendships, is a gift that I think we don’t see enough in entertainment. We see cattiness, and pettiness, and b*tchiness, and stabbing in the back. And what these women say is that we really thrive on our friendships and I need my girlfriends. And I need them to be there when I fall down, and when I’m less than pretty."
  • On the show's wardrobe:
    Shields: "It is undeniably a high fashion show. But what I think makes it more accessible is that nothing in it is prohibitive. Nothing in it has a cartoon aspect to it where you couldn’t feasibly think that you could wear that yourself. . . . I think that they look amazing and I think that it’s comfortable on them. But you'll see them before you see the fashion. But then if you take a closer look you’ll realize it is a Louboutin shoe and it is a Chanel jacket, and it is a Dior outfit or a suit."
  • On being in her 40s and doing love scenes:
    Shields: "Well, first of all, when we signed up all of us were basically signing on to a 9 o'clock show. Once we became a 10 o'clock show, and we were all taking a trip to the lingerie shop, and practically all crying — I think it was a bit sprung on us. . . . You know, I’m really pretty proud to be a mom of two and able to put on the wardrobe they give to me and not need the body double. So I guess it’s a shout out to women to say, you know, you should be proud of what your body looks like at this age. And why not?"

Photos courtesy of NBC

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