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The Daily Targum sits down with 'Sex in the City' actress Kristin Davis

Many people may recognize Kristin Davis from her character Charlotte York Goldenblatt on “Sex and the City.” But before becoming a famous actress, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater at the Mason Gross School of the Arts in 1987.

Davis sat down with The Daily Targum to talk about her experiences as an undergraduate student at Rutgers as well as her life as an actress and avid philanthropist.

“One of my greatest memories of Mason Gross School of the Arts is the first time I visited the campus,” she said.

Prior to enrolling at the University, Davis said she auditioned for the theater program in early January and was able to appreciate the fresh snow covering the Ravine Bridge on Douglass campus. When visiting the University, she also met students who were part of the BFA program and was inspired by their personalities, she said.

“The students were so interesting and creative. I really felt that I had found the right place to go to school,” Davis said.

Looking back on her time at Mason Gross, she learned that it takes a lot of discipline to be a successful actor, she said. As a first-year student, her day started at 8 a.m. and would often end late at night because she was busy building sets for the theater.

“We had a teacher who made us do Tai Chi barefoot in the snow,” Davis said. “All very helpful in terms of understanding that a career as an actor is not all fun and games,” she said.

Davis awarded her success as an actress to Bill Esper, founder of the BFA Professional Actor Training Program at Mason Gross. 

“Esper was a huge influence on my career and me,” she said. “He is very serious and somewhat intimidating, but he told me to always be charming,” Davis said.

Davis was honored to able to come back to Rutgers University in 2009 and deliver the commencement address to the Mason Gross School of the Arts graduates, she said.

She is currently working on distributing a documentary that she financed and produced about the elephant-poaching crisis, she said. The film, called Gardeners of Eden, was released in 2014 and is available for purchase on iTunes.

“I have had the incredible good fortune to be able to travel and see people all over the world in different circumstances,” Davis said.

Davis worked with Oxfam, an organization that helps people in poverty since 2007, and with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which raises orphaned baby elephants and protects elephants from poachers since 2009, she said. Davis strongly encouraged people to visit www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org and get involved in protecting the lives of elephants.

She is now active with The UN Refugee Agency, abbreviated to UNHCR, and helps protect the lives of refugees because she feels there is an increasingly large amount of refugees who need help, she said.

“I love being involved and trying to help,” she said.

Davis has taken a break this past year to be with her daughter and work on her documentary.

“It has been great, but I am missing my normal day job now, so we will see what I find to act in that is interesting,” she said.

The last job she did was Fatal Attraction on the West End in a theater that is more than 400 years old, she said.

“It was wonderful to be able to use the skills I learned at Mason Gross and hold my own with a British cast in live theater,” Davis said.

Barbara Marchant, associate chair of the Theater Department, said she remembered Davis being a student in her sophomore undergraduate acting class.

“Kristin was disciplined, imaginative and charming,” she said. “She worked with a generosity of spirit and a commitment to the craft and art of acting way beyond her years,” Marchant said.

Merchant said she was able to see Davis again when she was inducted into the Rutgers Alumni Hall of Fame. 

“I was a big fan of 'Sex and the City' and Kristin makes all of us at Rutgers proud with her accomplishments,” she said.

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