It was clear that And Just Like That would have a Herculean task from the moment Max revealed that Kim Cattrall's Samantha Jones wouldn't be joining the main cast. Sex and the City without Samantha seemed difficult to attempt, at least on paper. (A one-scene cameo in a future episode won't do either.) Fortunately, And Just Like That has discovered a new character with the same desire for life as Seema Patel as the second season started to find its footing.
We are privileged to cross paths with Seema Patel brought to life by the remarkable Sarita Choudhury, now a seasoned 54-year-old sporting a flawless barrel-brush blowout and juggling three iPhones. Her trajectory remains a mystery, her past and future shrouded in uncertainty— yet the stories etched around her eyes speak volumes, and her choice of full terracotta ensembles radiates warmth as rich as the smoky timbre of her Sobranie-touched voice.
Seema serves as a gay man's fantasy of excess femininity and ferocious independence, much like Samantha does. The smoking while gesticulating, the gold bracelets, the terse one-liners, and the leopard-print headbands. However, Choudhury gave this caricature so much wit and interiority that Seema is the most believable character in the series. Even her corniest comments are delivered with sincere cunning. "I pay you to blow me, not shrink me," she reminds a tactless hairdresser before wedging a plump Fendi clutch beneath her arm and leaving his salon in a cloud of giraffe print.
Although we compare Seema with Samantha, Michael Patrick King once stated: "Seema was brought into the show to be another version of somebody we haven't seen in the show, a South Asian woman from Queens, first-generation daughter of immigrants. She comes in as a real estate mogul. She owns her own business. She even has a license plate that says Seema NYC. You don't need more than that to say baller.
According to And Just Like That's hairstylist Nakoya Yancey, "Choudhury's posh Seema Patel sports a do that's high maintenance. She is a million-dollar realtor; she does not have time to do her own hair, and she goes to Drybar every day to get her hair done. She is flawless- her hair, clothes, bags, shoes, nails." Undoubtedly, Seema stands out as a true embodiment of sophistication and style, a sentiment we wholeheartedly share - she is nothing short of a captivating presence.
According to Shafeeq Shajahan, a non-binary playwright of South Asian origin, Seema is an aspiration emblem for the queer community and their female allies. Shajahan reflects on the resonating qualities that make Seema a powerful symbol: "She evokes memories of my rebellious aunties who defied the confines of the overly traditional path often prescribed for Asian women. These women, like Seema, don't always conform to the 'finding the one' narrative, which is precisely why her heartfelt exchange with Carrie moved me. Most importantly, she doesn't feel like a forced diversity inclusion in the show; her authenticity shines through. And let's not forget, South Asian women are renowned for having the most stunning hair worldwide – that's genuine representation right there."
Put simply, Seema's remarkable sense of style is driven by the individual she is beyond her clothing. Compared to Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte, Seema has entered her fifties with a resolute self-assuredness. She rejects attempts to infantilize her due to her single status and staunchly avoids wasting time in unenjoyable situations. She remains steadfast in her refusal to adopt trends like woven berets simply because of her relationship with a retired furniture designer or to ink a cartoon tattoo merely because she's dating a stand-up comedian. Her profound self-awareness guides her decisions.
This is an elite saleswoman (the best in the business, we are told), schooled in the art of dressing for success. Gucci stilettos, sculpted Lanvin handbags, regal Balmain ensembles, and majestic Fendi capes compose the well-earned spoils of her work excellence, mirroring the caliber of the properties she adeptly markets. In a conversation with Carrie following the loss of her Birkin, Seema discloses, "I indulged in that bag to celebrate my inaugural major sale. It was an early acquisition that waitlists weren't even a concept back then!" As the original trio gradually fades into pale imitations of their past selves, the persistent and ambitious singleton, Seema, embodies aspiration.
It helps that her clothing is so obviously the result of a woman who has learned to live well— rich and luxurious, like the inside of a darkly lit hotel bar. Seema does not experience the same self-dramatized central character syndrome as Carrie, whose psychic break continues manifesting through pigeon bags, Bono glasses, and wide-brimmed fedoras. We don't know everything about her, but her self-assurance is evident in the clothes she chooses to wear. She adds mystery to this heinous (and ideal) program in large swags of belted satin and always in earthy neutrals.
And Just Like That is given the Sex and the City treatment by Seema Patel. With her presence, she artfully intertwines the narratives, propelling the show beyond its captivating yet somewhat tumultuous context. As the series evolves, the unmistakable truth emerges: Seema is more than a mere character; she embodies authenticity, aspiration, and the grace of embracing transformation.Seema Patel embodies the authentic essence of Sex and the City within the world of And Just Like That...