She’d rather focus on her body of work. Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan doesn’t need to hear comments on her body, and 35-year-old wasn’t afraid to let fans know that.
“Hello! So just a thing — if you have an opinion about my body please, please don’t share it with me,” the Ireland native shared via Twitter on Sunday, January 30.
She continued, “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 actress added that she understands that there are plenty of eyes on her. Bridgerton — the historical drama where she plays Penelope Featherington — is one of Netflix’s most-watched series, and Derry Girls — the 1990s-set comedy about teen girls in Northern Ireland — is also a hit on the streaming platform.
“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,” the “Whistle Through the Shamrocks” podcast creator concluded with a red heart emoji.
Coughlan has previously advocated for people to focus on her acting rather than her weight. After a theater critic repeatedly focused on her looks, Coughlan tweeted about it. The reviews were subsequently edited and the writer issued an apology, but the Harlots star realized the focus suddenly wasn’t on her work at all.
“It created a social media storm, the kind I’m not used to being in the middle of,” she wrote in a Guardian article in June 2018. “I had support from people I know, and so many I didn’t; and while I appreciated that, it was overwhelming. I’d inadvertently opened myself up to the kind of scrutiny I’d been trying to say was irrelevant to my work. The focus was on me, not my acting.”
Still, the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK guest judge has remained under scrutiny, and she’s fought back against it whenever possible. In March 2021, Coughlan requested interviewers stop asking about her weight. “Also can we please stop asking women about their weight in interviews, especially when it completely irrelevant?” she tweeted at the time.
She added, via Twitter, “Every time I’m asked about my body in an interview it makes me deeply uncomfortable and so sad I’m not just allowed to just talk about the job I do that I so love. It’s so reductive to women when we’re making great strides for diversity in the arts, but questions like that just pull us backwards.”
Coughlan went on to explain that she’s an activist simply because she exists as an actress without the stereotypical height or weight.
“Also, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, I’m not a body positivity activist,” she wrote. “I’m an actor I would lose or gain weight if an important role requirement. My body is the tool I use to tell stories, not what I define myself by.”