Bridget Moynahan on playing Natasha in ‘SATC’ and ‘Coyote Ugly’ reboot
Bridget Moynahan still remembers driving until the filming of her 2000 hit Ugly coyote, her hair flapping in the wind as she walked down Sunset Boulevard listening to Prince’s album 1999 in rehearsal. Her hands were tired from hours of learning how to swing liquor bottles behind her back to accurately play Rachel, a bartender who works at the Coyote Ugly bar. At the film’s premiere the following year, a billboard grabbed prime real estate on the same boulevard. “It was the first making of ‘it’s gonna be a great movie’,” Moynahan told Bustle.
Moynahan’s 28th year has seen many dreams come true. She had previously built a modeling career that appeared regularly on the covers of Charm and Cosmos. Although it was more difficult to break into the acting profession, his exhausting years of auditions finally paid off: in addition to filming Ugly coyote, Moynahan also made her television debut as the ultra-chic girlfriend of Mr. Big’s Ralph Lauren model Natasha in Sex and the city – such a stunning character that Carrie immediately throws up after meeting her. Although the role was relatively small, it was so memorable that Natasha became a recurring character.
“She has become a silent enemy to Carrie Bradshaw,” Moynahan recalls. “Years later, when people told me about Carrie, I would wait… Cheated on Natasha, remember that, you can’t stand up for Carrie!”
Now with two decades of experience and 12 seasons of her hit network show Blue blood under his belt, Moynahan, 50, returns to her first TV job to play Natasha on HBO Max Sex and the city to restart And just like that. It’s a full loop moment. “I could never have predicted the career I had,” she says. And no one could have ever predicted that Carrie and Natasha would cross paths again all these years later.
Below, Moynahan discusses the energy on the set of Sex and the city, her favorite leather pants and the advice she would give to herself at 28.
How was your life at 28, in 1999?
It was actually very exciting. I had just done Sex and the city. I lived in LA, I filmed Ugly coyote, and work with a trainer and learn how to do these dances and drive around Hollywood. It was a whole new life for me.
What were your most memorable moments on the shoot Ugly coyote?
It was all so exciting because it was such a complex process. The actors worked together, rehearsed together, learned dances together, learned to swing bottles behind the bar – it was special. Not all projects are like this, where you are immersed with your cast members from day one. It was my first big movie – I had done a few independent movies and then Sex and the city, which was really tall in its own way, but it wasn’t like that. It was such a great introduction to the world of cinema.
I lived in New York City, went to acting school at night, worked on stages on weekends with my stage partners, and always modeled during the day to pay my bills. It was a great reward to have a project like [Coyote Ugly] after crouching down, concentrating and spending my time going to drama school. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t really know who [Coyote Ugly producer] Jerry Bruckheimer was, I didn’t understand the magic and the power he had. He just creates such massive blockbusters – I didn’t understand I was lucky to get into that. It was the year it all fell into place. It was a big year. Not to mention that my favorite album has never been 1999, so I listened to Prince all the time.
At 28, you also made your television debut in Sex and the city like Natasha in the famous Hamptons episode, where Carrie finds out Big met you in Paris and breaks down. Do you remember what it was like to be on set for the first time?
I have very clear images of what it was like to walk on it Sex and the city. If you can imagine a full dutch doubles game going on – the jump rope game – and that beat and that beat, then you’ve got to jump in, that’s how it was. It’s such an energy. I could not believe it [that] after all these years go to the set of And just like that, He is always there. It’s big and energetic and so positive and it has an electric feeling whether you’re in the hair and makeup trailer or on set in the crowd. This time I was able to really figure it all out and say to myself, “Wow, this is so special.”
As a young actor who had never really done anything before – Sex and the city came before Ugly coyote – I didn’t even have any lines, let’s be blunt, other than “Hi, nice to meet you.” But I still had to make sure I got those lines, and I just didn’t want to mess up. You are immersed in it. It’s such a well-oiled machine, you have to jump into the action, and I was really nervous.
Very often people confuse a villain with the actor who plays them. Were you nervous about being on the show with so many people supporting Carrie and Big?
You know what, I really think I was naive. I was like, I got a job. Honestly, I was really excited to find a job. i didn’t know what Sex and the city has been. I knew it was a show, but I didn’t know what it was like to step into that role. Maybe it’s better, maybe ignorance was bliss. I haven’t thought about it too much; I didn’t put too much pressure on myself apart do not spoil. Like at the end of your day say your line and don’t mess it up too much and hope they will ask you again.
Have you ever had a Natasha in your life?
If there was a real Natasha now, it would be Amal Clooney, George Clooney’s wife. She is just the embodiment of perfection. Intelligent, accomplished, compassionate, magnificent. For me, she is everything. She is the true Natasha.
Did you feel fulfilled at 28? Did you feel like you knew where you were going in your life?
I have the impression that at the time, I had already had a great modeling career, and for Sex and the city and Ugly coyote being sort of my stepping stone in the industry was very exciting and very promising. I really feel like it’s good, definitely I’m on the right track. I make a living.
Did you have other hobbies or passions?
I was an amateur photographer. I had a few of those old school Polaroid cameras that I would go around and take pictures, black and white pictures. I had a musician boyfriend who lived in LA and he bought me a guitar so I was learning to play guitar. It was a very cool life, I have to say.
Has it been a tough adjustment period moving from your longtime New York home to Los Angeles?
Being in New York, you know it’s a grid – LA is not a grid. While navigating these highways, I would call my girlfriend to say, “I’m on La Cienega and I need to get to the 405… where do I go? Thank goodness for Waze and Google Maps. I cried several times in traffic.
What was your style at 28?
In fact, I wore a lot of leather pants, low waist and lacing up in the crotch. There was a designer called Henry Duarte, he drew for a lot of rock stars but I really loved these pants. I really like them, I have a whole crate full of them that I can no longer fit. I was inspired by Ugly coyote wardrobe.
Is there any advice you wish you could give your 28 year old self?
To go and buy a property. Forget the shoes, real estate would have been a good idea. And trust my instincts. I remember a project that a writer-director wanted me to audition for and I had an actor friend work with me on it and he kept giving me ratings and I was like really? I just couldn’t see the notes. I auditioned for it and didn’t get it. And I remember walking away and thinking, I didn’t do it my way. I didn’t use my gut or trust my gut. I took this moment as a learning experience to trust my instincts.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.