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Kim Cattrall gives a defiant speech about choosing her own destiny

"Saying no to the past is saying yes to the future, because you are the screenwriter in the movie of your own life," she said.

Kim Cattrall has a favorite word: “No.”

Cattrall’s favorite instance of saying “no,” as she explained in her speech at Variety‘s Power of Women dinner presented by Lifetime, is one of her most famous quotes, when she told The Guardian in 2019, “I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m not enjoying myself for even an hour.”

There are other times she has said “no,” most notably when asked to reprise her iconic role as Samantha Jones in various reboots of the “Sex and the City” franchise. She recently elaborated on her decision to retire the role in a cover interview with Variety executive editor Ramin Setoodeh, in which she said that, after filming the second “SATC” movie, “Everything in me went, ‘I’m done.’”

She mentioned other examples of taking satisfaction in saying no, including, “No, that salary is unacceptable” and “No, we are not having a meeting in your hotel room.”

Variety's 2022 Power Of Women: New York Event Presented By Lifetime - Inside
Kim Catrall on stage at Variety's 2022 Power Of Women: New York Event Presented By Lifetime at The Glasshouse on May 5, 2022.Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Variety

On Thursday evening, Cattrall encouraged other women to own their power in the same way, reminding the room of entertainment executives and fellow Power of Women honorees, “Saying no to the past is saying yes to the future, because you are the screenwriter in the movie of your own life.”

“The word ‘no’ has difficulties sometimes traveling from the brain to the tongue,” Cattrall said. “There can be situations (shockingly) even today where a woman’s rights or opinion is not readily listened to, which makes this basic word all the more important.”

“I’m 60-friggin’-5 years old. When I started my career, phones had dials, TVs needed antennas, and most men in Hollywood thought that ‘harass’ (her ass) was two words.”

Cattrall also spoke about her experience losing her health insurance at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic during a time she wasn’t working. She was lucky enough to be able to afford her own medical bills, she said, but she knows others are not as fortunate. Therefore, Cattrall was at the event to support The Actors Fund, a nonprofit that offers financial assistance and money for medical procedures to members of the entertainment industry, as her charity of choice.

“Even for working performers, it’s often a thin line between walking the red carpet and sleeping in your car,” said the British-Canadian Cattrall, who became a U.S. citizen in 2020. “If COVID has taught us anything, no matter how hard you work or how good you are, situations can come out of the blue and knock you on your butt. When that happens, it’s not time to judge or retreat but to lend a hand. For 140 years, the American Actors Fund has been doing just that every day.”

Cattrall was one of six honorees, along with Drew Barrymore, Venus Williams, Camila Cabello, Amanda Seyfried and Queen Latifah, at the event, which honors women for outstanding accomplishments across the entertainment industry. Cattrall was introduced by Darren Starr, the creator of “Sex and the City,” who theorized what Cattrall’s character Samantha would say to her if they were ever able to meet.

“Like me, you’re a strong, self-made woman who would rather take the road less traveled,” Starr said in the voice of Cattrall’s character, Samantha. “Most of all, Kim, I admire your wicked sense of humor, your incredible talent and generous heart.”

Cattrall’s cover interview attracted attention for her comments about “And Just Like That,” the ongoing revival series of “Sex and the City.” Cattrall sat out of the revival, after having famously turned down starring in a third film in 2017 following a disagreement about the direction of Samantha’s character. Cattrall told Setoodeh that she hasn’t watched the series at all, and gave a definite “no” on reprising her character in the future.

“This feels like an echo of the past,” Cattrall said about the character of Samantha. “Other than the really wonderful feeling of — it’s rare in my business — people wanting more, especially at 65. That feels powerful, that I’ve left something behind that I’m so proud of. I loved her. I loved her so, so, so much. It’s tough competition. The original show is in all of our imaginations. But for me, it feels clean.”

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