PASADENA, Calif. — AnnaSophia Robb was born in 1993, so she has no fond memories of leg warmers, Rubik’s Cubes, or Kajagoogoo. Instead, the actress is making new ones as she navigates the fashions, fads, and sounds of the ’80s as a young Carrie Bradshaw on the CW’s new series “The Carrie Diaries.”
Robb (“Soul Surfer”) is playing the high school version of the character played by Sarah Jessica Parker on HBO’s “Sex and the City” for six seasons and two feature films. Alongside her castmates and the show’s producers, Robb recently fielded questions at the Television Critics Association press tour about everything from big hair to the big shoes she’s filling.
Q. What intrigues you about the ’80s as an era? And do you like the curly hair?
A. I do like the hair. Actually, all senior year, I was thinking about getting a perm because I really wanted curly hair, and then I got this part. But I love the ’80s. I think it’s such a romantic time. There was such an explosion of culture and wild fashion that sometimes we never want to look back upon, but it’s fun to bring back out, and the colors and the art. I just think it’s a really vibrant time. I think our show is really fun to watch just because it’s so visually alluring and we have fun with the big boomboxes and the music. I mean, we have some Wham! in there and the Bangles and Madonna.
Q. Have you been in touch with Sarah Jessica Parker?
A. When I landed the role, she sent me a very lovely note just kind of giving me her blessing and encouraging me and telling me how excited she was and how dear the part was to her, and so that was huge for me because I was obviously nervous. It just meant a lot to be able to have her blessing. So I sent a thank-you note back.
Q. Part of the series is about how Carrie falls in love with Manhattan coming from a Connecticut suburb. Being from Colorado, what was your reaction the first time you saw Manhattan?
A. The first time I went to Manhattan, I was, I think, 10. I was doing press for “Because of Winn-Dixie,” and it was fantastic. I stayed at the W Hotel, and I was just so enamored with the chandeliers, and I remember just sitting, not being able to sleep, partly because of the time difference, but sitting at my window and trying to count how many cabs went by. And I couldn’t believe that there were so many more cabs than regular cars because I had never seen that before.
Q. What things strike you now about Manhattan?
A. Living there now, I just really appreciate being able to walk everywhere. It’s so convenient, and there’s so much culture. You know, there’s always something going on. I’m living alone for the first time, which is a little bit lonely, but if ever I’m feeling down, you can just walk out on the street, and it sort of envelops you. You can hear music being played and people’s conversations and just sitting at a cafe. It’s a whole world in itself.
Q. You’re taking on the role of a very iconic character. How did you put yourself into it and what fears did you face in taking on Carrie?
A. When I landed the role, I remember having a conversation with [executive producer] Amy [B. Harris], and she said, “We don’t want you to emulate Sarah Jessica’s performance.” I loved the show “Sex and the City.” I still watch it. I try to watch an episode every night even though that doesn’t really happen because we work long hours, but I’d like to. So really my character is a combination of the books, the script, what I’m bringing to the role, Amy’s vision for the character, and myself. And I realized, as we go on, I feel like I’m becoming more like Carrie, or Carrie is becoming more like me.
Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe
.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.