You see her hand first. Her extended tanned arm holding an Amex in her palm like she's offering communion. Soon you hear her voice, "Scusa! That won't be necessary," her accent is thick and beautiful, and when she speaks it's like a song. Her name is Amalita Amalfi.
We meet Amalita in the first season of Sex & the City, before the show became synonymous with Manolos and Magnolia's Bakery, when it still featured Carrie breaking the fourth wall to give little asides to her audience. Carrie is at the D & G store trying on a pair of silver slingback sandals with fluffy pink feathers at the toes, she decides she is going to take them. But then, a setback. The sales associate, on the phone with her credit card company cuts her card in half with scissors, then he passes the phone to her "they want to talk to you," he says.
And then, "ScuUusaAa! That won't be ne-ce-ssah-ry..."
Amalita pays for Carrie's shoes—she insists, pointing out how she's never given her a present for her birthday or for Christmas. "Besides it's on Carlo," she adds, pointing at a handsome man in a gray suit holding multiple shopping bags, and we quickly understand the dynamics at play. As they hug goodbye, Carrie looks at the camera and says "The truth is we've only met a few times. Most people would classify Amalita as Eurotrash. I thought she was fun."
Flawless Amalita Amalfi.
And she is fun! As soon as Amalita, portrayed by the actress Carole Davis, appears on screen, you cannot take your eyes off her. She has long, dark, rich woman hair: parted at the middle, blowdryed to perfection which means it's straight but not too straight. She dresses exclusively in cocktail attire: when we first meet her, she is wearing a tight, long, flower print fuchsia dress with a matching cardigan draped over her shoulders. When later that evening she calls Carrie to come meet her at Balzac, the restaurant du jour, she is wearing a strapless, green silk jacquard tight-fitting dress with a matching jacket. She is always dripping in jewels, including a diamond encrusted bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels. "Twelve thousand dollars," she informs Carrie, holding her wrist out, wringing each syllable out like every word she says it's worth that much as well, and dropping her jaw in mock-shock as she laughs. And it's possible her laugh is worth that much money, it is loud and brash and takes over her whole body, shows all of her perfectly white teeth. She is smiling the entire time she is on screen, and why wouldn't she? She is having the absolute time of her life. She smokes with a cigarette holder for god's sake!
"Twelve thousand dollars!"
I must've been 14 or 15 when I first saw this episode, and I've thought about Amalita often throughout the years. I intrinsically understood the power her sexuality wielded, that she performed an incredible version of femininity that was incongruous with my way of being but that I deeply admired. Just imagine going through life with Amalita-levels of self esteem, knowing that anything you want, you can make possible just by using your dazzling sexual energy!
"You'd be crazy not to come!"
I've rewatched Sex & the City many many times throughout the years, and while my opinion of Carrie has drastically shifted as I got older, my love for Amalita has only grown stronger. I often return to this episode specifically, when I am sad or melancholy or nostalgic. Watching Amalita still makes me feel the same way I did when I was a teenager, wondering about what being an adult would be like, wondering about whether or not I would ever get to live in New York. Last night when I watched it again, it made me miss the city of course, (and also living a FULL LIFE!) but it also brought up a new grievance: when we last see our icon, again at Balzac, in her strapless black dress with gold embroidery, smoking her cigarette with her cigarette holder, this time accompanied by a certain Peter ("I'm staying at the Carlyle with Peter"), she tells Carrie that her and her table mates are all going to Venice the following week for the festival. Mario, who owns a grand palazzo on the canal, and who has in quick succession put his hand on Carrie's butt says "You should join us," to which Amalita replies, "Absolutely! You must bring your little laptop and write all about it. You'd be mad not to go." Carrie says no, of course because she is "mad," because she is a writer! She should've absolutely gone! Follow the content! Don't you think she regrets not going sometimes? I'll tell you someone who lives with absolutely no regrets, Amalita Amalfi. Darling, she's a citizen of the world!
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