'Bridgerton' Actress Nicola Coughlan Wants The Public To Stop Commenting About Her Body

Ever since it premiered on Netflix in Dec. 2020, "Bridgerton" has taken the world by storm. Created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes — who's responsible for shows such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and more — "Bridgerton" is based on a series of novels written by Julia Quinn.
Set in London's high society during the Regency era, the period drama has been a hit all around the world after it became the most-watched series on the streaming platform and currently sits in second place after "Squid Game." Thankfully it's been renewed by Netflix, so fans can expect to see more of the show soon when its second season premieres in March.

Not only has the show had great success but the actors who star in it have also been thrust into the spotlight ever since "Bridgerton" landed on our screens. One of those is Irish actress Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington. Coughlan first became well known in the British teen sitcom "Derry Girls" and ever since she's made a strong impression on audiences.

But recently the actress spoke out on her Instagram about being inundated with comments about her weight from people around the world. She asked that fans refrain from telling her their opinions on the matter, be they good or bad.

In the past, she's written about the topic and admitted that she's not a body positivity activist, but rather her body is her "tool" to tell stories, and that might involve losing and gaining weight for roles. Let's take a look.
Posted to her personal Instagram account that boasts 1.4 million followers, Coughlan shared a mirror selfie of herself dressed in a colorful floral dress with an oversized white collar. She began the caption:

“Hello! So just a thing — if you have an opinion about my body please, please don’t share it with me."

She continued as she explained why:

"Most people are being nice and not trying to be offensive but I am just one real life human being and it’s really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day."

The 35-year-old actress even added that she's aware that being in the public eye opens her up to criticism, which she's ok with, but that she doesn't need to hear everybody's personal thoughts on the matter. She wrote:

"If you have an opinion about me that’s ok, I understand I’m on TV and that people will have things to think and say but I beg you not to send it to me directly."

Coughlan ended her PSA with an unrelated comment about the photo:

"Anyways here’s a pic of me in my hotel in NY about to go to SNL, it’s unrelated to this post but delighted with my hair in it."

In line with her message, she disabled comments on the post. Despite Coughlan being a public figure, it's rather unsettling that people feel it's their right to reach out and comment about her body, whether it's meant in a positive or negative light.
But this is nothing new for the actress — ever since her role in "Derry Girls," which premiered in 2018, she's dealt with the brunt of comments about her weight. She opened up in an interview with The Irish Times about being called "the big one" while on Derry Girls. She also commended "Bridgerton" for the way the show handled body image. She said:​​

"It's referenced, but it's not the defining characteristic of Penelope. I think that's what bothers me: we try and reduce women to the size of their body, and there's so much more than that."

In 2018, she even penned an opinion piece for The Guardian that hit back at critics who were more focused on how she looked than on her acting. She shared the op-ed on her Twitter again last year with the message:

"TLDR: Can we judge actors for their work and not their bodies"

The post led to a thread about the topic, where she also asked that reporters "stop asking women about their weight in interviews, especially when (it's) completely irrelevant." She also declared:

"I'm not a body positivity activist, I'm an actor I would lose or gain weight if (it was) an important role requirement. My body is the tool I use to tell stories, not what I define myself by."

Coughlan isn't the only celebrity to bring up this issue. Both Jonah Hill and "Yellowjackets" actress Melanie Lynskey have recently asked fans to not comment on their weight. Lynskey wrote on Twitter days ago:

"The story of my life since Yellowjackets premiered. Most egregious are the 'I care about her health!!' people... Bitch, you don't see me on my Peloton! You don't see me running through the park with my child. Skinny does not always equal healthy."

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