For six seasons, Kristin Davis told a story that's still very much a part of her —the story of Charlotte York and her search for love on Sex and the City. Now, 13 years since the HBO series wrapped, Davis is telling very different stories. In her latest role as Global Ambassador with the UNCHR, the UN Refugee Agency, an organization she's worked with since 2014, the actress is sharing new stories that are close to her heart. Even though, like Charlotte's romantic search, it took time for her to find the right fit to help UNHCR humanize the label "refugee."
"I was taking trips to see and investigate what I could do," she tells me on the phone on a recent April afternoon. "Seeing whose stories I’d be able to tell and connect to because you need to be able to feel like you can apply yourself in a way that’s going to be helpful." A large part of Davis' role is sharing the stories of people she's encountered on her trips — experiences that have changed how she sees the world.
"I went to the UNHCR camp in Kenya to see what was happening and it changed my life," she says, "I had not seen anything on that large level of intense human need and people helping other people when no one had anything."
In 2015, UNHCR reported that 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution, a fact that Davis says "really brought home to me the fact that our world is changing in this very fast nature."
Davis is currently working with UNHCR to share the stories of families that have successfully relocated to the United States. "It’s pretty impressive to see what they go through and how strong and resilient they are," she says.
The first story Davis has been able to share is that of a 27-year-old single mother from the Congo named Catherine. In December, Davis traveled with UNHCR to Rwanda to meet refugees from the Congo and Burundi, it was during this trip that she first spoke to Catherine.
"When we met her, you could see that she just see in her eyes and hear in her voice that she was not going to get to go and she didn’t know why," Davis says. At the time the actress met her, Catherine's entire family had already been relocated to the U.S. and, even though she's passed UNHCR's relocation criteria, she was no closer to joining them.
"She thought she’d have to be there without her family forever and we knew that she had been accepted," the actress says, "but we didn’t know when she’d be able to come." In January, Catherine was resettled in the U.S. in the same state as the rest of her family and, shortly after, Davis was able to visit her.
"I’m currently very inspired by Catherine and her whole larger family," Davis says, "She just wants to work so badly and it’s just fascinating and inspiring." And, beyond that, Davis is inspired by the resilience Catherine and other refugee families Davis has met have shown during the relocation process. "They’re inspiring me just from the sheer optimism they have. For them, America is so beautiful and everyone is so kind," she says, "You get to see it through fresh eyes."
Catherine's story is just the first in a series of stories Davis is excited to tell through her work with UNHCR. (She'll be sharing another family's story in the near future.) "We wanted to find a way for me to tell some stories that might be new and fresh — especially right now when it’s such a hot-button topic," Davis says. And she hopes that, through sharing the experiences of these inspiring families, it can help people differentiate between the political conversation about refugees and the basic, humanitarian efforts of the UNHCR.
The actress also hopes to emphasize the UN Refugee Agency's focus on equality above all. "That’s a very basic place that we’re coming from as a humanitarian organization — which is a very important point to stress," she says.
Davis' role with the UNHCR is an important one — one that inspires the 52-year-old star and keeps her busy. So busy that, understandably, she doesn't let life revolve around her SATC days so much anymore — even with all of those reunion movie rumors swirling around.
"I don’t think about it very much," she admits, "Sometimes people say to me, 'Oh, I really miss Charlotte,' and I think that’s so sweet, but I am Charlotte."
But, if Davis had to imagine Charlotte's life, she says, "I think Charlotte is just continuing along the path she made for herself of being a devoted mother and wife." And, much like Davis herself, the actress thinks Charlotte would be devoting time to charity work as well. And as for those third Sex and the City movie rumors?
"I wouldn’t think twice!" she says. "Of course, obviously I would return. I love our job, I love everybody. I would never say no, I love everyone." (Do you hear that, Michael Patrick King and Sarah Jessica Parker?)
For now, however, Davis is busy — the star is planning to return to central and eastern Africa soon and is working to raise money to help fund the UNHCR. And even if the beloved New York foursome don't get back together, Davis is perfectly happy to spend her days being inspired by other women all over the world.