In an exclusive interview with woman&home, Heather Kristin, who played Charlotte York’s stand-in on Sex and the City for four seasons, tells her story of working with Chris Noth on set—and why she believes the actor’s alleged inappropriate conduct went largely unchecked.
It was New York City, March 2000. Heather Kristin was 25 and working on the hit HBO show, Sex and the City, as a stand-in for Kristin Davis’ character, Charlotte York. The days were long, filled with endless waiting, and a lot of still poses. At the same time, it was a backstage pass onto the set of a hugely popular comedy-drama, an opportunity to observe some of television’s biggest stars in action, and privileged access to cable’s top-dog executives.
For the most part, it was an amazing experience.
Except, for when it wasn’t.
In February 2021, Heather exposed the toxic atmosphere on Sex and the City by penning a detailed essay for the Independent (opens in new tab). In the candid memoir, which quickly went viral, the professional writer recalled an incident of an ‘alpha male actor’ demanding that another stand-in be “tied up, gagged, and brought to my trailer”. These horrific words have now been confirmed by Heather (opens in new tab) to be those of Chris Noth, a.k.a. John James ‘Mr. Big’ Preston.
The 67-year-old TV and film actor, best known for playing Sex and the City protagonist Carrie Bradshaw’s primary love interest, is currently facing allegations of sexual assault—including rape—from four women. He has also been accused of sexual misconduct by Life in Pieces star Zoe Lister-Jones, who claims he was drunk on the set of Law and Order: Criminal Intent and “consistently sexually inappropriate” with a female friend of hers.
Chris has denied all allegations, slamming them as “categorically false” and insisting “the encounters were consensual.” He has since been dismissed from his talent agency and fired from his CBS crime drama series, The Equalizer. His advert with Peloton, which dropped three days after Mr. Big died on the iconic stationary bike in the premiere of And Just Like That…, has also been pulled.
As a stand-in, Heather says she witnessed first-hand Chris’ behavior during the filming of Sex and the City. The aspiring Shakespearean actress spent up to 60 hours a week on the Silvercup Studios set, standing on taped Xs and walking through rehearsal scenes. Her job was to help the director of photography ensure that everything, from the lighting to the angles, was in order before the cameras started rolling. It wasn’t always exciting nor stimulating, but it provided a golden ticket to network with VIP folks in the industry—and potentially, land that big break she’d long been dreaming of.
Unfortunately, she says it also introduced her to a darker side of TV—and the predatory acts of some of its real-life villains.
Speaking exclusively to woman&home, Heather has now shared more details on what it was like to work with Chris for four seasons on Sex and the City—and why she believes his inappropriate conduct was tolerated for so long.
“I think Chris Noth was just a bombastic man who showed up on set and was permitted to be who he was,” she explains. “It’s the ‘Boys will be Boys’ view—their bad behavior, that’s okay because they’re a big star.”
At the height of the show’s success, Chris was widely considered Sex and the City’s most famous male actor. The Wisconsin-born TV star shared the title of most frequently recurring character with David Eigenberg, who played Miranda’s husband Steve, appearing in 41 out of the series’ 94 episodes.
Heather says that his high-ranking status seemed to exempt him from standard workplace etiquette, apparently granting him free rein to treat others however he pleased once the director yelled ‘cut’. Crude remarks were met by laughter, she remembers, while physical misconduct was fuelled by silence.
How Chris Noth behaved inappropriately on the Sex and the City set
Heather recalls the first time Chris “manhandled” her in rehearsals, sliding “his hand down my back and over my butt” and murmuring, “That’s your spot, sweetie.” She flinched, but remained silent. As a low-paid, female stand-in, she felt that to speak up was to risk losing her job. Professionalism, for some, was tolerating the lack of professionalism in others.
Heather recounts how Chris would continue to exploit his dominance over her on set, violating her space on numerous occasions while she was at work.
“I remember feeling very much in his way,” she says. “I’d be standing on my little piece of tape [which demarcates the correct position for the actor] and he’d just, bump into you. But you’re just standing there. That’s your job.”
Heather took to avoiding Chris, ensuring she kept her distance from him as much as possible.
“I just really steered clear of him. I was like, ‘I don’t want anything to do with this person,'" she recalls. “I’ve worked on a million other films and TV sets. Never had somebody like that.”
Heather added that the other prominent male cast members did not share Chris’ misogynistic attitude, hailing Kyle MacLachlan (Trey) and Evan Handler (Harry), in particular, as “true gentlemen”.
How Chris Noth's behavior affected the Sex and the City work culture
Chris’ behavior might not have influenced his co-stars—but, according to Heather, it had a significant impact on the backstage staff. As offhand comments and unwanted advances continued to go unflagged, the boundaries of acceptability on set began to stretch—until they became irreversibly loose. She claims it wasn’t long before his inappropriate conduct had crept into the workplace culture, prompting others to follow suit.
“Unfortunately, it trickled down to the [predominantly male] crew who looked at that behavior that he's presenting, and sort of also acted like that,” she explains.
On one occasion, Heather’s feet were duct-taped to stirrups after she fell asleep during the set-up of a gynecology scene. The crew laughed and took Polaroids, oblivious to the problematic nature of their “prank”.
“They thought it was really funny and it was a big joke,” she recalls. “It was pretty awful.”
Heather was desperate to leave, but her income and healthcare were dependent on the job. She knew if she was to stay, however, she had to speak up.
The next time Chris got too close to her, she says that she ‘balled her fists’ and ‘blurted out’, “This is my space. It’s my job to stand here. Back up.” He reacted with a dramatic throw of the hands and a patronizing, “Whoa, there, little lady!”, but appeared to compute the message. After this confrontation, Chris stopped bothering Heather and her fellow stand-in.
“I had had enough. There comes a point where you’re just like, I can’t take this anymore,” she says.
Heather's relationship with the Sex and the City female stars—and whether or not they knew about Chris Noth's behavior
Unlike Chris, who Heather says regularly mistreated stand-ins and extras, the show’s leading ladies—Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Cattrall—were “total sweethearts” behind-the-scenes. She speaks incredibly fondly of the iconic quartet, her voice swelling with nostalgic joy as she relives the memories of working alongside them.
“All of them are really kind, nice people,” she says. “I meshed really well with them.” She goes on to describe Sarah Jessica as a “sparkle of a woman”, recalling how the A-list actress would regularly eat lunch at the communal tables and ask about the crew’s families. “She really knew every single person on set.”
Heather built a particularly strong relationship with Kristin Davis, working closely with her as Charlotte’s silhouette for four seasons. The 56-year-old was consistently caring towards her stand-in, even gifting her a dress from the show on one occasion. Heather also recalls that Davis once offered her a chauffeured ride home at 5am and requested the casting director to rehire her after she went on study leave in the summer of 2001.
As for the female leads’ awareness of Chris’ reputation on set, Heather believes they were kept largely in the dark.
“The stars didn’t see all this behavior because they were in their dressing rooms, getting hair and makeup done, or in costume,” Heather explains. “I don’t think they saw it, honestly.”
On 20 December, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis released a joint post on Instagram in response to the allegations against Chris, expressing their solidarity with the women who have come forward.
Heather commends their statement, but insists that more needs to be done to protect female staff on TV productions. Having received multiple messages from people who are currently experiencing the exploitation she endured on Sex and the City over two decades ago, it’s clear that misogyny in showbiz is far from over.
“There needs to be a reckoning in an industry that doesn't fully support the people in the background and the one's standing in the stars’ shadows,” she says. “We're not cattle to be pushed and prodded, we're people.”
How Heather's experience on Sex and the City has inspired her to support other women
Heather’s time on Sex and the City—"a defining part of her twenties"—has undeniably had a profound effect on her. As well as submitting numerous essays and journal articles on the show’s toxicity to various publications, she has worked as a mentor for the non-profit, Girls Write Now (opens in new tab), for over ten years. She believes that it is this very role of empowering underprivileged girls and gender-expansive youth through writing that has given her the courage to share her own story with others.
“While I was teaching other young women to find their voice, they were teaching me how to find my voice,” she explains.
For Heather, the end of workplace misogyny can only be achieved when every girl and woman—regardless of their social status—is celebrated and uplifted. She says her experiences on Sex and the City have left her with a lifelong goal to help marginalized individuals, whether they’re a racial minority or a low-income teen, to assert their presence and speak up against oppression.
She hopes that, by using her voice to call out injustice, she can foster the confidence in all young women to do the same—“even those not wearing Manolo Blahniks.”
After years of standing in for someone else, Heather is finally ready to stand up for herself.
woman&home has reached out to Chris Noth's representatives for comment but has yet to receive a response.
Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for woman&home. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
All the early Boden Black Friday deals we've spotted so far for 2022 - including 60% off fashion and accessories
There will be more fantastic Boden Black Friday deals this year, but there are savings of 60% already on offer for those keen to bag an early discount...
By Rivkie Baum • Published
Queen Camilla's banquet jewelry is a touching tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and has a romantic history too
Queen Camilla's banquet jewelry is heavy with the Royal Family favorite sapphires and has an incredibly poignant and romantic history too
By Aoife Hanna • Published
The Queen's corgis would 'slump' on the floor when they saw her wear her tiara
While we loved seeing Her Majesty in her many magnificent tiaras, her beloved Corgis knew it meant they weren’t going with her for a walk
By Jack Slater • Published
Drew Barrymore on having tried everything in the bedroom: 'That’s why I’m so boring now'
Actor and talk show host Drew Barrymore speaks up about her relationship with sex
By Anna Rahmanan • Published
Kate Winslet to star alongside daughter in I Am Ruth, ‘a story for our times’ confronting the mental health crisis in young people
Kate Winslet will star with her real-life daughter, Mia Threapleton, in I Am Ruth
By Jack Slater • Published
Emma Thompson 'utterly blind' to first husband's affair with fellow A-list actor
Emma Thompson opens up about her first husband Kenneth Branagh's affair with a Harry Potter star that left her 'humiliated'
By Aoife Hanna • Published
Demi Moore is trying to stop women from feeling 'less desirable as we get older'
Actor Demi Moore collaborates on a swimwear line that is suitable for women of all ages
By Anna Rahmanan • Published
Rebel Wilson welcomes first child via surrogate and reveals unique name
Rebel Wilson's daughter's birth has just been announced by the star in an emotional social media post about her 'beautiful miracle'
By Laura Harman • Published