Celebrated actress, activist, and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon joined Chief in a conversation spanning quarantine hobbies (brewing her own kombucha), the Sex and the City sequel, and what a lifetime in acting has taught her about building an enduring career. Speaking with Chief Member Joanna Rosholm, the Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award-winning actress revealed her secret to career longevity and how to come back from defeat. (Hint: It’s the same tip.)

On What Inspired Her Advocacy Work

"When I was 13, my mother got breast cancer. In those days [getting] a double mastectomy was really the go-to and my mother didn't agree with that. Her own mother had been a bacteriologist and a woman in science. So my mother was like, you should cut up the part of the breast where the infection is not the whole, you know? My mother became a proselytizer about lumpectomies, which are now the standard treatment. I watched how outspoken she was about it, and I feel like there were issues like that that my mom felt were really important to go on the record."

On Planning for Career Longevity

"It's important to think about the highs that you're going to achieve and those markers that you want to hit. But I think the more important measure is not the peaks, but the longevity. I think that that exists in your professional life, your personal life, your health, everything. And so while you have that goal you're trying to achieve this month or this year, think about when I'm old (whatever you think of as old), what do I want to be doing? And what do I want to do between now and then to create the kind of life and career for myself that will enable me. Instead of just chasing that next goal, really think about all the components of the life that you want when you’re 60, 70, or 80."

On Ageism and the Upcoming SATC Sequel

"I'm 55 and once you're over maybe 40, it’s viewed as this monolith. So even for myself, when I was leaving 40 and venturing into this monolithic territory, I really didn't know what to expect. Women over 40 are having more of a voice and I’m hoping that that's delineated more. I do think once you get to the age that I am, it’s a time in women's lives when they can start focusing more on themselves, what they want, and what they think — and discovering it in a way that maybe they haven't had an opportunity to since they were young women or maybe ever.

"So And Just Like That [the Sex and the City sequel] will be dealing with that. A lot of the original characters are coming back, but it was an incredibly white show…white women who were very accomplished in their own ways, but also in a fairly segregated world. It's a very different world now, and I think that that's one of the main reasons we're doing the show, to actually confront that head-on."

On the Biggest Challenge When Campaigning

"I felt like an imposter a lot of the time and I learned most first-time candidates — especially women — feel that way. Getting over that and believing that I had a right to be there [was challenging]. Campaigning is like being a parent, there’s no way you can ever do all the things you’re supposed to do. You have to pick a few things and lean into them and try to do them well."

On Getting Involved in Public Service

Though Nixon says definitively that she doesn’t plan to run for office again, the lessons she learned along the way still ring true: "The thing I often said is we're waiting for the cavalry to come and save us, but actually we’re the cavalry." For those who are considering public office, she said, "Do it at a level that you think seems appropriate and right for you. The more of us that are not billionaires that are running for office, the more we can actually get real people's concerns out there."

"It's really important to make the biggest impact that you can make, but I think more important than making a big impact is making a commitment that you can actually live up to and achieve."