In Elite Daily’s series Rent-Free, celebrities unpack the one thought, memory, or unforgettable pop culture moment that’ll always live in their head. In this piece, And Just Like That star Cathy Ang talks about her love of outer space.
“This is such a weird interview. I’m so sorry,” Cathy Ang tells me. She’s not wrong; we’ve spent the last 10 minutes talking about outer space. To be fair, I did ask the And Just Like That star to tell me what she’s currently obsessed with, and a lot of her brain space is taken up by *outer* space. “Every time that I learn anything about NASA, my mind is always blown and I’m always excited about it,” she says.
There is no topic as big as outer space — literally — but Ang has her focus narrowed down to one specific aspect of it: the opportunities space offers for scientific discovery. “NASA, already in its history, innovated so much technology that has affected our life on Earth,” she says. “There are many medical innovations that happen because of microgravity, also just generally because of studying human DNA in space.”
As she expands on all the possibilities in outer space, Ang grows more and more animated. It’s easy to see why she spends so much time contemplating this topic.
“It’s really exciting, the idea of what’s unknown out there,” Ang says. “What does it mean to, like, actually have life on our planet? How could we impact the rest of our solar system, and how can we communicate with life outside of Earth? It’s huge philosophical things that I think inform who we are as humans.”
Although Ang can clearly go on about space for eons, before long, our conversation switches from the stars in the sky to the stars Ang shares the screen with in HBO Max’s And Just Like That. In playing Charlotte’s daughter, Lily York-Goldenblatt, Ang worked closely with the most iconic SATC cast members, and she admits she was a bit “starstruck” when she first met them. But she says she learned a great deal from Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis during their time together on set.
“I think what’s special about working with women who have been in the industry for several decades [is] it’s wonderful to watch all the different hats that they have on as producers, sometimes as directors, and also actresses,” Ang says. “They’re leaders on set and they really know how to bring the community together.”
Ang notes that one of her highlights from filming the series was Lily’s piano recital in the first episode of AJLT, which reunited the majority of the cast in one location. “That recital was really exciting because that was the first time that generally the whole cast was together,” she shares. “Willie [Garson] was also there at that point, which was nice. We all got to kind of hang out and celebrate for the first time. It was pretty fun being able to pretend that I’m a cool pianist in front of all these stars that I have, like, no business being next to.”
Longtime fans of the SATC franchise know Lily has played a pivotal role in two major moments in Carrie Bradshaw’s love life. First, a toddler-aged Lily caused a miscommunication that ruined Carrie and Big’s wedding in the first SATC movie. Then in AJLT’s premiere, Carrie was at Lily’s piano recital when Big suffered a fatal heart attack. A lot of fans like to blame Lily for Carrie’s misfortunes, and Ang doesn’t totally disagree with them. “I think that it signifies that Lily subconsciously is just like, ‘I think that my Aunt Carrie has more in store for her in her life, or could be with someone else,’” Ang admits. “Lily believes that Aunt Carrie can do better, maybe.”
However Lily may feel about Carrie’s love life, Ang is excited about bringing “new stories about women in a different generation” through AJLT. Soon, fans will see her in a horror movie adaptation of the novel My Best Friend's Exorcism. As for what’s next beyond that? It seems like the sky — rather, outer space — is the limit.