Recently, the founders of an Instagram account called “Every Outfit on Sex and the City” threw a fund-raising bash for Cynthia Nixon’s campaign for New York governor. They kicked it off with some softballs for the crowd: Team Aidan? Or Team Big? Then, they ushered in Ms. Nixon.
At first, the candidate was sharper on politics than she was on Miranda — to be fair, it’s been eight years since “Sex and the City 2” — and she seemed concerned that the hosts were mocking the character.
But Ms. Nixon soon found the pulse of the event and began to dish, telling stories of outfit choices she had made — a neck scarf that Miranda wears during a speed date was her idea — and scenes that never made it to air. She described with gusto the episode in which Miranda eats cake out of the garbage, explaining that she and the director, Allen Coulter, had shot an alternate take as a homage to “Psycho,” with Miranda eating in the cake in a frenzy, smearing it all over her face and, finally, collapsing and dragging her hand down the refrigerator, leaving chocolate streak in its wake. (The scene, sadly, is not yet available on YouTube.)
She was also fully prepared for a question about the more problematic aspects of the show.
“‘Sex and the City’ started 20 years ago, and I’m very keenly aware of this,” she said, adding that one of the chief failings of the show was its focus on “a very, very thin slice of an extremely white and extremely affluent part of New York.” And while she called it a feminist show, she said that “the flaws of the feminist movement are reflected in ‘Sex and the City,’ too.”
If a candidate for governor coming to terms with a character she played on a show that was both beloved and (sometimes) cringeworthy with the help of an Instagram account that started as a fashion project and quickly evolved into a combination of fan-fiction and meme-play sounds like something that could only have happened after 2016, well, yes. Everything that can be political is pulled more strongly in that direction these days, and that gravity has helped shape the account as much as its creators have — and has made them natural surrogates for Ms. Nixon, even though they will not be able to vote for her.
Chelsea Fairless and Lauren Garroni, the account’s thirtysomething Californian creators, were dressed boldly for a rare public appearance. (They are all but anonymous to many of their fans.) Their co-host, the “Orange Is the New Black” actress Lea DeLaria, looked more relaxed in a navy suit and indoor sunglasses. Various Nixon aides hustled this way and that, frenzied given the approach of a midnight fund-raising deadline.
Ms. DeLaria, who has known Ms. Nixon since the early aughts and who used to date Ms. Fairless, said the former “Sex and the City” star should embrace the role that made her famous. After all, Miranda was a law firm partner, owned an apartment, raised a baby on her own, was always sex positive …
“She should ride Miranda all the way to the freaking White House as far as I’m concerned,” Ms. DeLaria said.
That Miranda — a character whose story arc in one particular episode concerned her unlikely attraction to an anthropomorphic sandwich — could be imagined into the country’s highest office speaks to a cultural shift in the years since “Sex and the City” ended. People have come to embrace women like Miranda, women who, as Ms. Fairless put it, are pragmatic, educated risk-takers who “like slightly awkward pantsuits.”
@everyoutfitonsatc started in June 2016 and was meant to establish an encyclopedia of the show’s outfits — nothing political. Still, within three months, Donald J. Trump had occasioned a mention, through a picture of Mr. Big, whom Samantha describes in the first season as “the next Donald Trump,” but “younger and much better looking.” (The president himself appeared in an episode in the second season and presented Ms. Nixon with an Emmy in 2004 for her work as Miranda.)
Every Outfit highlights the show’s successes but also rewrites its missteps. Take its introduction of “Woke Charlotte,” a sticky meme in which Charlotte’s dialogue is rewritten to respond to the show’s more politically anachronistic moments.
SAMANTHA: “I am paying a fortune to live in a neighborhood that’s trendy by day and tranny by night.”
CHARLOTTE: “The correct term is ‘trans’ and trans sex workers deserve respect. After all, they’re not the ones who are gentrifying the neighborhood. Please check your cisgender privilege, Samantha.”
Many of the account’s followers are people who were too young to watch the show critically when it was live and later found it out of touch — which is to say, exactly the millennials Ms. Nixon hopes to reach with her campaign. When she announced her run for governor in March, Ms. Fairless and Ms. Garroni did not delay in showing their support, and the Nixon campaign reached out shortly thereafter.
That led to Ms. Fairless, a designer, dreaming up merchandise for Ms. Nixon, including T-shirts that declare “I’m a Miranda and I’m voting for Cynthia.” The creators have also donated more than $3,000 earned from “We Should All Be Mirandas” tees. They are shooting a campaign video with Ms. Nixon, which Ms. Garroni wrote and directed.
Thursday’s event raised more than $500 in the first several minutes alone, when Ms. DeLaria ripped off her Nixon T-shirt and auctioned it off, along with a kiss for the winner, who was immediately dragged to the back of the room to make good on her pledge. The campaign raised more than $15,000 during the event, Ms. Fairless and Ms. Garroni were told.
The audience of hundreds was packed with “Sex and the City” superfans, among them Rhianna Jones, a freelance writer who described her glaringly pink outfit as “Afro Carrie goes to a strawberry field then comes to a political fund-raiser,” and Dan Clay, better known as Carrie Dragshaw, who towered above everyone at 6-foot-5 in strappy sandals.
“I love that she uses her platform to speak out for things that she believes in,” Mr. Clay said of Ms. Nixon. “And of course there are a lot of policies I agree with, but nobody needs to know a ‘Sex and the City’ drag queen’s policy opinions.”
Ms. Fairless and Ms. Garroni have determined that their opinions — when voiced through Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha, and even sometimes Carrie — will only make their account more compelling.
“Living in the Trump era is stressful,” Ms. Fairless said. “Being able to do something to support a progressive candidate whose platform we support, that makes us feel better about what we do and how we spend our time.”