If there’s anyone who could capture the essence of New York City, it might just be Candace Bushnell, the creator of Carrie Bradshaw, aka the author behind Sex and the City. Naturally, then, Bushnell was the Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan’s first choice in their search for a writer most capable of coming up with witty, relatable New Yorkerisms to stick inside of its luxe fortune cookies, or "fortune macarons," in celebration of the Lunar New Year.
Of course, New York is too multifaceted to be summed up by one person alone; it’s safe to say that Bushnell’s one-liners (“you’re thinking about rejuvenating your private parts”) won’t get confused with those dreamed up by the last writer Hakkasan commissioned, Jay McInerney. Instead, they perfectly encapsulate the realm of modern-day Carrie Bradshaws, complete with references to blowout sales at Bergdorf Goodman. Here, Bushnell shares more of her choice favorites and her culture diet (aka everything she’s been into lately, which definitely does not include the drama surrounding the next Sex and the City sequel).
Where did you get inspiration for the fortunes?
It took a little bit to get the hang of it. At first, I looked at fortunes on the Internet, thinking that it’s got to be pretty easy, right? But it actually was not as easy as it looks. So I just started looking around at some things that reflect my life here. I put in one about Zitomers, the incredible pharmacy on the Upper East Side that literally sells everything, and one that gave a shout-out to Taffy Brodesser-Akner, who writes those really sharp and brilliant profiles in The New York Times. I made sure to do some social-media-related ones, trying to tap into Instagram and dating trends like bread-crumbing and beauty trends like the vampire facial. And then there are some Sex and the City references, because those are just fun and very New York. In the end, it was a very fun gig.
Which is your favorite?
There are a lot of them—88 in total. Things like, “You’re about to do really well at the annual 80 percent–off shoe sale at Bergdorf Goodman”; “You’ll be pursued by a modelizer during Fashion Week.” I don’t know that I could pick just one.
Which one would you most want to get?
There’s one that says, “You’ll have to decide between a midtown uniform and a lumbersexual.” It’s great to have a choice! And then there’s “Your happy ending doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s—and it doesn’t have to involve getting married.”
I have to say, the “You’re thinking about rejuvenating your private parts” one definitely caught my eye.
Yes, that’s such a big thing right now. [Laughs.] There are just all kinds of…things going on now with, you know, rejuvenation. I’ve heard some stories.
How are you planning on spending Valentine’s Day?
I’ve never really been a big lover of Valentine’s Day. I’ve done a lot of Galentine’s Days, which is always fun, with chocolate and champagne. But I actually am doing something this Valentine’s Day—going away to the Bahamas with my boyfriend!
How do you think Carrie would celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2019?
I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not answering any more questions about the nonexistent-in-reality Carrie Bradshaw. I have no idea.
Fair enough! Getting into the culture-diet questions, what’s the first thing you read in the morning?
I try not to scroll through Twitter or Instagram, because it can really be a terrible habit. I’ll wake up at seven and think I’ll lie in bed just a little bit longer, and then, if I look, suddenly 45 minutes will have passed. So I really try to keep my phone out of the bedroom and look at Twitter and Instagram quickly, and then scroll through a lot of online publications—The New York Times, the Post, sometimes the Daily Mail. But, you know, the bar of what should be put out as news is a little lower these days.
What TV shows have been keeping you up at night?
I’m not a big TV watcher. I think part of it is because my Netflix does not work. And every time I call the cable company or anybody, it seems to be impossible to get it fixed, so I’ve just given up. But I do have certain reality shows I like to watch, like Married at First Sight. I still watch variations of Project Runway. I love Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid. I like real-life kinds of things, which is not so easy to find.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
I recently read Dani Shapiro’s book Inheritance—it’s about how she took a DNA test and discovered her father was not her father, and how that rocks your identity. It’s fascinating, and a really good book. Otherwise, I’m reading Kristen Roupenian’s Cat Person and Other Stories and Jill Abramson’s Merchants of Truth. And I’m probably going to get Elizabeth McCracken’s book Bowlaway.
What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?
The one with Anne Hathaway and Matthew McCounaughey, Serenity. And it was not a serene experience. I thought it was…interesting. It was a very experimental film, and it really made me think about how I’d love to see more female directors get to take those kinds of chances. I guess the part that irks me is that you just don’t see women getting to make a self-indulgent, experimental films.
Do you read your horoscope?
I don’t. I stopped reading and being into any astrology when I was about 30. I think I just outgrew it. But I’m still such a Sagittarius—I love travel, writing, communicating, all of that.
What’s the last thing you googled?
The hair salon that I just went to, and then before that it was trying to find out what to do when you get one of those calls saying that your social security number has been compromised, which thankfully I found out was a scam.
What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
I follow a very strange Instagram called the Clements Twins, who are these two little girls who are really very cute. I don’t know how I stumbled across it, but I was briefly addicted to it for a couple of days. I follow a lot of friends. [The stylist] Anne Caruso has a really nice Instagram. And I love Cynthia Rowley. And on Twitter I follow a lot of journalists, like Rebecca Traister and Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I really admire people who can nail those tweets—I don’t know that I can do that.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Eat M&Ms and peanuts. [Laughs.] I’m usually reading, too, but yes, I have a terrible habit of eating candy before I go to bed. Sometimes I find the M&Ms in the bed in the morning.