Filthy Rich is set in New Orleans where the powerful and influential Monreauxes are at the head of a hugely successful Christian television network. Outwardly they form a perfect family… until secrets are revealed that will transform the life of matriarch Margaret, played by Kim Cattrall, for ever.
This woman is a mystery to me. The first thing I thought after reading the script was how would a sixty-year-old widow work her way out of such a mess. And the fact I didn’t have the answer made the part all the more appealing. It also interested me as someone who wasn’t brought up on religion. I did go to Sunday school but more for the choir than for Bible study. Now I’m at an age where I see the future differently and wonder what God has planned for me [laughs]. I’m not saying this role has made me more religious, but getting under Margaret’s skin did mean opening up to the idea of prayer.
As an actor, it’s a compliment that you should ask. It proves I’ve managed to portray her many sides. If I had to describe Margaret, I’d say she’s an influential woman who gets what she wants by seducing and manipulating those around her. She’s an iron fist in a velvet glove. My character in Sex and the City, Samantha Jones, was ultimately predictable in her behaviour whereas Margaret Monreaux is far more complex. She’s a woman full of contradictions and a character I hadn’t had the opportunity to play until now.
That’s an easy accusation to throw around. Especially as the luxury industry is still making comfortable margins despite the current crisis. And why is that? Because women love things that make them feel good, that make them happy. Say what you like, buying a couture gown is the same as falling in love with a diamond ring or a luxury watch. You know you’re making a wise investment. Look how much vintage watches are selling for. Prices are going through the roof. Women are conditioned by fashion, regardless of how much we earn, our social background or our cultural baggage, regardless of where we live. The desire to please and to feel beautiful will always be a priority. At the end of the day, fashion is universal. It goes beyond boundaries. I remember giving an interview on the set of the Sex and the City movie. The journalist, a man, asked me what impact fashion had on western women. I answered that Muslim women also wore designer dresses under their burqas and had the very latest watch on their wrist. In Abu Dhabi, for example, there are women at the top of the social scale wearing watches that would turn the most fashion-conscious American woman green with envy.
The one I’ll never have because it would have to be the size of a football pitch! [laughs]. Thankfully I’ve learned to be more selective over the years. When I was in my 20s I never threw any of my clothes away, just stored them all in boxes. I couldn’t move for shoes, not to mention all the dresses and coats. It was the 80s, all those shoulder pads! I promise, I got rid of them. Now, my ideal wardrobe revolves around the basics. Some little black dresses for evenings, a couple of brighter dresses to stand out on the red carpet. And a lot of shoes. Believe me, the first thing anyone notices about a woman is what she has on her feet, around her neck and on her wrists. I like my watch to be discreet. Nothing too colourful or over the top, if only because it’s impossible to match with anything. I prefer a classic, understated watch with a square case. The kind that will never go out of style. Having said that, I do still own some 1970s watches that have the most outrageous forms. There was a time when I didn’t think twice about wearing a watch double the size of my wrist, with a dial so huge you could tell the time from a hundred feet away! I remember getting excited about a watch with a liquid crystal display. All you had to do was press a button and the digits lit up, as if by magic. We felt like something out of Star Wars! But I soon came back to a more classic style.
If they have the bank account that goes with it, why not! A watch symbolises so much within a couple. It’s a reminder of the time they’ve spent together as well as an invitation to spend more time together. It’s the promise of what you hope will be an everlasting love.
Yes, to my father, after he broke his, and to a man I loved but whose dress style I really didn’t like. He would never have allowed me to give him a complete makeover so I bought him a watch. I always notice when a man is wearing a good watch. Usually it means he’s an aesthete, a purist. A man who knows how to choose his watch also knows how to choose his shoes, his suit… Some guys I know spend hours online or hanging around salerooms hoping to uncover the watch of their dreams. By which I don’t mean any old watch. These are truly beautiful watches with a history and a story to tell. I’ve actually noticed that more and more women are buying vintage watches that used to belong to a man. Whether for a man or a woman, a watch is more than just an object. It can be a companion for life, so best choose it carefully. Take your time. Be wary of impulse buys. Don’t let your heart rule your head, especially if you’re investing a large chunk of your savings. Go for quality every time.