You're a patron of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. How did you get involved?
"I was visiting Kenya with friends in 2009, and one day, while we were on a safari, we came across an orphaned, injured baby elephant. Rescuers from the trust were notified, and so I saw firsthand the devoted work that these people do -- to save and rehabilitate these beautiful creatures -- and it deeply affected me. Honestly, I have days where I dream about them and can't sleep thinking about it … but I am glad I know what's going on so that I can try to help."
What's the one thing you'd like people to know about the elephants or that might surprise people?
"That because of poachers killing them for their ivory tusks, these beloved creatures are at risk of becoming extinct. Yes, extinct. I'm not sure people realize that they are truly at risk, and of how bad the situation has become in many parts of Africa. Elephants have no natural predator, except for humans -- so if they do become extinct we will have no one to blame but ourselves. The black market ivory ring has gotten so bad. An elephant is butchered every 15 minutes, which leaves many baby elephants left alone to die."
You're also a global ambassador for Oxfam. Do you ever feel torn between an animal cause and also such an important human one?
"Actually, the work is all very related, I think. Combating extreme poverty is at the root of Oxfam, and if poverty didn't exist, much of the poaching could dwindle. After all, many of the poachers -- the ones who are out there hunting the elephants -- are poor people with limited choices but to engage in this practice. We need to protect everyone who is at risk, and who can't feed their families so that they are safer and happier."
Has your work abroad slowed down since adopting your daughter, Gemma, more than 2 years ago?
"Only somewhat; I still go back at least once a year -- I was in Kenya last May. I haven't brought her with me just yet. But soon, she'll be right alongside me."
Is it true that you actually co-owned an L.A. yoga studio in the late '80s?
"Yup, I did. Although honestly I'm pretty rusty with my yoga these days. Since Gemma, my time for exercise has become more limited. But I have always found it to be tremendously powerful for stress-reducing. It gives you a core strength -- and I mean that in a physical and mental sense."
What's your fitness routine like?
"Well, right now because I am back to work on a TV show, I am making a real effort to be in good shape. I do a few kinds of cardio -- mostly I hike in the hills in Los Angeles, and I do the elliptical. I also do some of the Tracy Anderson dance workouts on my own -- mostly her series of arm moves. That workout is intense but crazy effective."
Have your workouts changed over the years?
"I've changed how I am moving my body. For instance, I used to do double [indoor cycling] sessions and I had thighs like a body builder to show for it! And then when I started doing more dance-based stuff I really didn't recognize my body -- in a good way."
What's your best health habit?
"Going to acupuncture regularly. I've been seeing the same guy once every 2 weeks for almost 20 years. I consider him my most central care provider. I do believe in the circuits of energy that acupuncture is all about, and I can honestly say that every issue I've ever had, acupuncture has helped with. If nothing else, acupuncture forces you to simply take a few moments to lie down and relax, and there's a lot of good in that, too."
Do you have a health philosophy?
"It's not particularly sexy but I do think that everything in moderation is the way to go. I've never been into the intense diets or other extreme fads. My body is just too sensitive for that."
What is your worst health habit?
"Oh, I love chocolate. I love pizza. Cookies. Ice cream. I kind of hate salad. Left to my own devices, I would eat like a 10-year-old kid. At work when it's late and there's pizza, it's all over."
How are you handling the work-motherhood-life balance?
"It's such a challenge, but after putting in 100-hour weeks on Sex & The City, this is comparatively easy. But I am lucky that I work 4 days a week and we have 3 weeks on and 1 week off."
Do you get frustrated by how closely identified you still are with the character Charlotte from SATC?
"Oh no, never. I loved playing Charlotte! And I am used to it -- people see me and they just can't help it. Once, at the doctor's office, the nurse called my name -- holding my chart in her hand -- but said 'Charlotte.' I get it, I really do."
How is playing the role of the high-strung busybody Ginny on Bad Teacher?
"I have to be honest -- at first it's a pain to play such an uptight role. She is just so tightly wound! But it's getting more and more fun, I'm finding, and I love that people enjoy watching her!"
Do you find aging in Hollywood to be a challenge?
"I don't think it's all that different than aging anywhere else in America. You can feel scrutinized anywhere. I think it's way better than it used to be -- people used to just drop off the map after a certain age. Besides, I feel about 21 inside. And I am proud of my age. I never want to be someone who won't 'admit' my age. If you do that you miss out on the power of being the age you are. I'm happy to claim where I'm at. I am a grown woman and I am successful. If I don't claim my greatness, who will?"
What have you learned in the last decade?
"Well, I certainly look back at when I was 40 and see how great I looked -- but of course I don't think I totally thought that at the time. But I now really understand that there's nothing better than living well. I am super-healthy and I feel so much younger than I am. I've lived a great life and I'm happy."
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
"I wish I could fly, so I could just hover over certain areas in Africa and spot the poachers before they hurt another elephant."
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