'Off the Cuff' Podcast: Candace Bushnell on "Finding My Courage at 56"

Courtesy of Candace Bushnell

The 'Sex and the City' author tells #THRpodcasts why women like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are inspiring even to her, as her eighth book is released this week.

First of all, Candace Bushnell does not wish Sarah Jessica Parker any harm. She's quick to dispel any notion to the contrary in this episode of Off the Cuff, given the tabloid controversy that has cropped up surrounding the release of her latest novel, Killing Monica

"I read tabloids. I have to read them every week," she admits of the publications that have recently painted her as a bitter novelist seeking fictional revenge on the actress who played her alter-ego on Sex and the City for six seasons.

"It’s human nature to try to locate somebody in a known spectrum. I just think it’s funny," she says.

Bushnell is not afraid to laugh at herself as she describes her own writerly neuroses ("I will spend three or four days alone and the only time I ever feel lonely is when I finish writing a book and then I’m like, 'I need my characters!' "), but the laughs go deeper when discussing the hypocrisy that women in her position often face with their male counterparts.

"If it comes to funny, men always have to be the funnier one. Or they try to be. Until they meet me," she warns. When asked how she feels about current firebrand feminist programs like Girls and The Amy Schumer show that are, perhaps in part, descendants of SATC, she quickly turns the arrow of inspiration the other way.

"I will say that Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are inspirational to me and have emboldened me," she says, adding, "They’re so bold and they’re like, 'I don’t care, I’m going to be funny the way, traditionally, a man can be funny.' It gave me courage. It really did. Here I am finding my courage at 56. It’s like, damn, why weren’t they around earlier?"

She also discusses the "likeable/unlikable character thing" that so many male executives get stuck on in regards to her female characters ("There’s always this worry: is she going to be likeable? And we would say, 'She’s powerful and she’s interesting!' "), and the quirky hobbies that keep her busy in the (little) time she doesn't spend writing — including an emoji line she just designed. 

"They’re really cheeky," she promises of the emojis. "There’s a 'no men' sign. And there’s a director’s chair with 'her' [on it]. So they’re all cheeky — with a wink at female empowerment."

Listen to Bushnell's full interview in this episode of Off the Cuff, and be sure to subscribe to #THRpodcasts on iTunes for all the latest episodes.

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