"It's not how I think of myself and I think it's probably the healthier approach," the actress tells PEOPLE

By Kate Hogan
November 19, 2012 02:00 PM

Henry Lamb/Photowire/BEImages

Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw is considered a fashion icon to many women, but the woman who played her says she doesn’t identify.

“It’s not an identity that I … connect to. I’m grateful if anyone says anything kind, and if they say something less kind, I take that as a part of anyone talking about you at all,” Sarah Jessica Parker told PEOPLE on Wednesday night at the Barneys New York and Walt Disney Company ‘Electric Holiday’ launch. “It’s not how I think of myself and I think it’s probably the healthier approach.”

Don’t get her wrong — the actress still appreciates a good outfit. “I love beautiful things,” she said, “and I’m privileged to borrow a beautiful dress. I feel really lucky and I genuinely enjoy it. I feel like [fashion] has a proper place in my life.”

But let’s just say you won’t catch her in a tutu at the grocery store. “It’s just not a reality — not when you have three kids and you go to the market and there are hungry people at home. You have a limited time to do it. There’s just no time to let vanity enter into that,” she said.

While picking the right dress was a priority for Wednesday night’s event (Parker, who hosted, wore L’Wren Scott), the star said the main goal of the evening was helping superstorm Sandy victims. Select Barneys stores and Barneys.com are donating 25 percent of sales from the Electric Holiday product collection to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.

“Everybody’s in serious need and this is going to go on for a while,” Parker said. “I’ve been giving back in a way that I feel I can and should and it’s not going to end in the next week. There’s still going to be a lot of opportunity in the future to see how people are doing and what they need.”

–Carlos Greer