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Denise O'Dell

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Candace Bushnell, the former New York Observer columnist-turned-best selling- novelist, with the blonde highlights and piercing blue eyes made a living writing about women like herself - i.e. Manhattan-dwelling, thirty-something glamazons who loved their cosmopolitans and Jimmy Choo shoes as much as they loved their single status. But while New Yorkers had long admired the svelte blonde's work, it was not until 1998, when HBO turned Bushnell's best selling book Sex and the City -- which was based on her column of the same name - into an iconic TV series, that Bushnell became known to the rest of America. As the inspiration behind the perpetually single fashonista, Carrie Bradshaw, Bushnell became a star in her own right and on a scale she had previously only dreamed of.Born Dec. 1, 1958 in Glastonbury, CT, Bushnell dropped out of Rice University in the late 1970s at the age of 19. Like any self-respecting novice writer, she moved to New York City, where she embarked on the life of a Manhattan socialite and aspiring novelist, but not before first trying her luck as an actress. She took acting classes for three months before realizing that she lacked the skills and the temperament to weather the abuse...

Candace Bushnell, the former New York Observer columnist-turned-best selling- novelist, with the blonde highlights and piercing blue eyes made a living writing about women like herself - i.e. Manhattan-dwelling, thirty-something glamazons who loved their cosmopolitans and Jimmy Choo shoes as much as they loved their single status. But while New Yorkers had long admired the svelte blonde's work, it was not until 1998, when HBO turned Bushnell's best selling book Sex and the City -- which was based on her column of the same name - into an iconic TV series, that Bushnell became known to the rest of America. As the inspiration behind the perpetually single fashonista, Carrie Bradshaw, Bushnell became a star in her own right and on a scale she had previously only dreamed of.

Born Dec. 1, 1958 in Glastonbury, CT, Bushnell dropped out of Rice University in the late 1970s at the age of 19. Like any self-respecting novice writer, she moved to New York City, where she embarked on the life of a Manhattan socialite and aspiring novelist, but not before first trying her luck as an actress. She took acting classes for three months before realizing that she lacked the skills and the temperament to weather the abuse heaped on aspiring actors. Around this revelatory time, she landed an assignment writing a children's book, which, although it was never published, resulted in a $1,000 pay day for Bushnell. Continuing to focus on learning her craft, she landed a staff position at Self magazine. Although it was not her dream job, it was a good start nonetheless. At nights, Bushnell's avid socializing and ability to charm people benefited her career. She regularly frequented the notorious Studio 54, often writing about her exploits amongst the rich and famous for work.

Despite her best efforts, after more than a decade in New York, the 33-year-old Bushnell had failed to hit the big time. Sleeping on a foam mat, borrowing money from friends to make the rent, Bushnell became so depressed she contemplated giving up on her dream and moving back to Connecticut. Fortunately for single ladies everywhere, she decided to instead re-focus her energies and look forward with a master plan. She would have to wait two more years for her persistence to pay-off, but when it did, it paid off in spades. Finally, in 1994, the editor-in-chief of The New York Observer asked Bushnell to write her own column, based on Bushnell and her friends' experiences living and dating in the big city. Inspired by her real-life romance with ex-boyfriend and GQ magazine publisher, Ron Galotti - which she would later use as the basis of Carrie and Mr. Big's dysfunctional relationship - the dishy column was a hit. In 1997, the popular "Sex and the City" column turned into Sex and the City, the best selling novel. Bushnell had finally achieved her longstanding dream of becoming a celebrated novelist.

A year later, Darren Star, creator of the primetime soap "Melrose Place" (Fox 1992-99) optioned her book, turning it into one of HBO's biggest hits, "Sex in the City" (1998-2004). For six seasons America faithfully followed the lives of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kirsten Davis) and Samantha (Kim Catrall) as they navigated their way through a series of bad dates. The series made such an impact, that suddenly being a single, 30-something woman was something to value, rather than be embarrassed by. In addition, the pop cultural phenomenon that was "Sex" brought a new level of fame to shoe designers Manolo Blahnick and Jimmy Choo, as women in Middle America were ordering cosmos and trying to emulate the style of the shows characters.

The success of the show also exponentially raised Bushnell's profile far beyond the Big Apple. Suddenly magazines began doing point-by-point comparisons on how similar or dissimilar the author was to her supposed alter ego, Carrie. She rode the wave of recognition with ease, following the success of her first novel with three more: Four Blondes (2001), Trading Up (2003) and Lipstick Jungle (2005). All three books retained Bushnell's signature voice of single Manhattan female, as one would expect.

In 2004, CBS came courting, offering Bushnell a starring role as a judge on the reality series "Wickedly Perfect" (2004-05). The series was short lived, but radio pioneers, Sirius soon beckoned, bringing her sassy, outspoken sensibility to the airwaves with her own call-in talk show, "Candace Bushnell's Sex, Success and Sensibility."

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