In each season of “Bridgerton,” a different character from the series takes the lead role. In season three (launching May 16), Nicola Coughlan will be at the center of the narrative as Penelope Featherington. Coughlan still can’t quite believe that she’s now the star of one of the most successful Netflix productions of all time, as she writes in her own words in an essay in Harper’s Bazaar.

“And that’s not because I think I’m ugly, as some people assume when I say that (let me tell you, in the right light I’m a solid seven), it’s because I never dreamed of it,” said the Irish actress. As a child, she always wanted to become a gay icon instead. “Bette Midler as CC Bloom? God, that’s me!” she thought as a young girl.

After the character of Penelope was just the “cow in the corner” in the first two “Bridgerton” seasons, all attention is now focused on her. “The only problem is that ‘the guy in the corner’ is actually a niche that I’m very good at. I feel comfortable there! Weird girl who no one pays attention to? Where should I register?” explains Coughlan in Harper’s Bazaar.

The fame that Coughlan has earned over the past few years was unforeseeable. In 2017, the actress worked at an optician and was still living with her parents when she was almost 30. “The funny thing is that I feel no different than the girl who used to call people and tell them her eye test was overdue,” she reveals.

With fame came the other side of the coin in Coughlan’s life: online hate. She used to be very active on Twitter (now X) and posted there regularly. At the time, she thought the many negative comments she had to read on the platform were normal. Until she decided to say goodbye to the short message service. “Leaving Twitter is the closest thing to feeling like escaping a cult,” she says. Today she is still active on Instagram, but the hate is no longer as present. “While I still experience trolls saying terrible things to me, I must remember that I used to be in a cult called Twitter. I’ve heard worse,” Coughlan said.

Coughlan knows it can be particularly difficult for women in the spotlight. She has three simple (and not entirely serious) rules for her colleagues: “Be permanently 22 years old. Be thin. And show personality – but not too much.” She continues: “Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to get older, and if you try to counteract the process with Botox or fillers, people will say that’s bad because you’re afraid of aging,” says Coughlan. “Instead, I suggest cryogenically freezing yourself and only thawing if the role is truly worth it.”

Coughlan believes that the female body is valued differently than the male body. She is constantly asked about her weight. A fact that frustrates her. “Being thin could help,” she says ironically. “If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to follow this rule, I suggest you come to terms with the fact that in every interview you have to talk about your character and not your work,” says Coughlan.

With a large dose of humor and a bit of cynicism, she also talks about the inequality between men and women in Hollywood. “Remember, in this industry, men may not be fired for abuse, but women are fired for saying something mildly annoying in an interview,” the “Bridgerton” star said.

The third season of “Bridgerton” will be available on Netflix from May 16th.

Quelle: “Harper’s Bazaar”

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