Kim Cattrall loves to eat—even when she's on a diet. This spring, Cattrall appears in a new TV ad campaign for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, dropping the double entendres and sexy wordplay she perfected as Samantha Jones on Sex and the City. (In one, she prepares "French" toast by spreading ICBINB on toast, then summoning a sexy Frenchman to feed her.) Cattrall talked to Shape.com about the ads, her new movie role, and why she walks slowly (when she's not doing cardio).
SHAPE: Your new spots for ICBINB show that women can "have it all," cutting down calories without compromising taste. What was the inspiration for the ads?
Kim Cattrall: I've been on a diet since 1976 because I love to eat. I come from British stock, with lots of meat and potatoes, and I have my dad's appetite. I'm a sensualist who loves taste and flavor. But as I get older, it gets harder. Products like ICBINB are my friends because they do let me have it all—great taste with zero grams of trans-fat. It suits my lifestyle: my need to watch calories and cholesterol, my love of food. I don't have to compromise.
SHAPE: Was your sultry character in the ads inspired by SATC?
Cattrall: It's a wink and a nod to a character I'm known for, an independent woman in control, a strong woman who has a healthy appetite in more ways than one, who's taking matters into her own hands, even as she's in the moment of luxuriating, enjoying herself.
SHAPE: You gained 20 pounds to play the aged porn star in Meet Monica Velour, which opened in selected theatres this spring. Was it a challenge to lose the weight?
Cattrall: Playing Monica Velour was a complete physical and emotional transformation, yes. In some ways I enjoyed letting myself go, but the weight went on fast and it took time to take it off. My profession depends on what you look like, how you photograph, and I had an arsenal of foods and snacks so I didn't feel like I was in purgatory. Berries, crackers—I keep snacks and spread handy, because I get hungry.
I like to prepare my own food when I'm dieting. Dieting is about controlling what you eat, but within that control you can luxuriate in the ingredients that do taste good and are well-made, whether it's chicken or vegetables or fruits. That ritual of preparing my own food is comforting when I have to cut down to a smaller dress size in a certain amount of time. I like the whole ceremony of making a meal that someone who's not on a diet can also enjoy.
SHAPE: How about your fitness routine? Does that help speed your weight loss?
Cattrall: I'm part of the Jane Fonda generation where you go for the burn. But as you get older, you have to work even harder, and it's sometimes a challenge just to get out of bed, even though the rewards are huge. My regime is heavy on cardio because I like to eat. Luckily, my trainer mixes it up, because I get bored easily. I like bands, kettlebells, new and different routines.
SHAPE: Your best-known role, Samantha Jones, has confidence and a healthy appetite for food and life. Has that carried over to your own approach to eating and living?
Cattrall: Yes, that attitude bleeds to every part of your life. I live a very full life, and I enjoy savoring it. I was walking with a friend the other day and he asked: 'Do you always walk so slowly?' I like to savor things. Walks, sunshine, meals—whether I'm on a diet or not. I take care of myself because I know if I don't, everything else is compromised. I think the idea that women who make time for themselves are 'selfish' is outdated, old-fashioned. You can delegate certain aspects of your life, but you should always find the time to take care of yourself. Eating well, exercising, and making smart choices will help you feel confident and in control.