‘Sex and the City’: The Simple Way Carrie Bradshaw Got Her Name

All of the characters in Sex and the City, except one, are based on real people. That doesn’t mean their names are real, though. Iconic character, Carrie Bradshaw, shares the same initials as the writer of the column that inspired the series. Bradshaw’s name is a pseudonym, but do you know the reason behind the moniker? 

Candace Bushnell initially moved to New York to become an actor 

Candace Bushnell became a successful writer, but she didn’t land in Manhattan with writing intention. According to Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, the author of Sex and the City and Us, Bushnell wanted to be an actor. When that didn’t work out, she started freelancing as a writer. Eventually, The Observer offered her a column. 

Candace Bushnell smiles for the cameras at the premire of "Focus Features Hosts The New York Premiere Of Mary Queen Of Scots"
Candace Bushnell | Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Bushnell’s column, just like her alter-ego, Carrie, wrote about sex, love, and dating in Manhattan. Carrie’s Mr. Big was based on one of Bushnell’s real loves, and the friends Carrie kept close mimicked Bushnell’s own friend group. Their names, of course, were changed to protect their privacy. According to the Washington Post, it became something of a challenge to get a pseudonym in Bushnell’s column. 

Why did Candace Bushnell give herself a pseudonym? 

Bushnell initially wrote her column from a first-person perspective. The writing style didn’t last. When she found out her parents had subscribed to The Observer to read her column, she swapped to the third person and gave herself a pseudonym. She revealed that she didn’t want them to know that they were reading about their daughter’s sex life. 

Sarah Jessica Parker poses in a gold dress for a 'Sex and the City' promotional photo
Sarah Jessica Parker | HBO/Newsmakers

Bushnell initially introduced Carrie as her “friend,” and that’s how she was referred to during the column’s run. Eventually, Bushnell revealed that she was Carrie and Carrie’s antics were her own. When HBO was casting Sex and the City, they focused on finding an actor who had a similar look to Bushnell. They did just that when casting agents hired Sarah Jessica Parker for the role.  

How did Candace Bushnell’s column get turned into a television show? 

Bushnell spent two years writing her column, but it wasn’t the only job she had. Just like her alter-ego, Bushnell wrote for Vogue. During an assignment, she was sent to California to talk to Darren Star. She and Star developed a close friendship that grew deeper when Star moved to New York. 

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall pose for promotional photos for 'Sex and the City' season 3
The cast of ‘Sex and the City’ | HBO/Newsmakers

‘Sex and the City’: Candace Bushnell Was Asked To Play One Of The Show’s Most Hated Characters

Together, the duo worked out how to turn Sex and the City, the column, into a TV show. Two interested networks later, and the deal was done. HBO utilized the series to help propel them into the world of original content. The show did just that. Critics have credited the series with putting the premium cable network on the map.