'And Just Like That': Karen Pittman On Nya's Storyline And Diversity In Season 2
Photo Credit: Max
Interviews , Television

'And Just Like That': Karen Pittman On Nya's Storyline And Diversity In Season 2

Season 2 of the hit Max sequel series to Sex and the City, And Just Like That…, picks up more than one year after Big’s (Chris Noth) unexpected death and sees Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) moving forward. Elsewhere, Miranda’s (Cynthia Nixon) relationship deepens with Sara Ramírez’s Che, and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) gives all the comic relief as she balances motherhood with her career — and of course, libations! The series continues to explore more sex, dating, career ambitions and overall sisterhood women 40+ are dealing with in the melting pot of the Big Apple.

In Season 1, fans met Nya Wallace, played by Karen Pittman, who viewers learned teaches Miranda’s law class. They transition from student-teacher to friends, despite an awkward initial meeting where Miranda didn’t realize Nya was the professor of the class because she looked different than her photo on the faculty website….

Either way, Nya is here to stay, and her storyline has expanded this season as a series regular. Shadow and Act spoke with Pittman about the importance of Nya’s character and what her presence means to a show in the Sex and the City franchise.

Congrats on Season 2. Obviously, the reception was good after the inaugural season. But initially, a lot of people were hesitant because the original show was obviously so beloved. Going to the second season, how excited were you to expand upon the story in season one?

I was super excited to show another side of Nya Wallace, and I think we achieved that here with her as the intellectual, cerebral, professorial [of the women]. But she does go through a transition in season 2. I mean, we talk about season two being about new beginnings, and that’s definitely true. 

Now, one of the things that a lot of fans love is the added diversity in this series versus the original. How were how important do you feel it is to show characters, especially on a show like this, from all different walks of life, especially with someone like your character being so accomplished?

KP: I think it’s really important because it helps to normalize the conversation around all of us finding common ground. We live in a society where people are very separate. And so the idea that we could all come together and tell a more inclusive story that’s funny, that’s heartfelt, that’s about love and friendship and sisterhood, I think is much needed. 

I think as far as representing women of color on the show, I take a great deal of pride in knowing that Nya Wallace’s aesthetic sort of opens the aperture for what the beauty standard looks like. She’s brown skin, she’s got braids. She’s wearing natural hair. Her clothing is culturally specific. She represents and looks, to me, the very authentic Brooklyn woman that you would see right now hopping on the subway. And so it’s a great honor and a great privilege to share this woman on this incredible platform like this iconic show. 

The show has also been praised for showing a more realistic tone to it, especially with the new characters that have been added. But what else do you think contributes to it being considered to be a more realistic approach to telling the story or continuing the story?

KP: I think that Sex and the City was a show that was always pushing the envelope. And I think at its best, that’s what we are still doing. Even in the introduction of a non-binary character, which as you probably one of the more controversial aspects of the storytelling in season one, I don’t know why people are so surprised. This is what the show does best. It’s pushing the envelope all the time. It’s exploring different ways of entertaining and finding comedy, but also exploring what it means to be a woman now in society. I’m not quite sure why the audience might be surprised at how the storytellers open up the dialogue for pushing the envelope on the show, for talking about not just things that are about women, but also non-binary characters on the show. I’m excited about season two because I’m hoping that our audience is going to be more open to how the story opens up because Che Diaz is one of my favorite characters. But in general, I think that the show has historically done that as talked about things that people consider to be controversial but are actually just authentic ideas that women can explore. 

Expanding upon what you just said, you said that the show always pushes the envelope, and dating is always a part, an integral part of the storyline of the show. What can viewers expect – without giving too much of the women of the characters’ love lives this season?

KP: I won’t spoil anybody else’s arc, but I can tell you for Nya Wallace, you’ll see her transition in her personal life in an interesting way and what it looks like for a woman who has been in a long-term relationship to suddenly have to examine herself sexually. What it means for her to be vulnerable and how we explore fragility for Nya Wallace in season 2. I think it’s going to be really interesting for people to go from saying this strong African-American woman to seeing a woman who actually is quite soft and vulnerable. 

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2023 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.