This article has been updated with new information.
Nicola Coughlan has asked fans to stop commenting on her body — either positively or negatively.
Back in January, Bridgerton and Derry Girls star shared a mirror selfie on Instagram with the plea, writing, "If you have an opinion about my body please, please don’t share it with me."
Coughlan then went on to say that she totally understands that as an actress, people will have things to say about her and her body, but she’d rather not hear about it if she can help it. She then turned the comments off on the post to hopefully move past this.
Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington in the popular Netflix show Bridgerton, had already made a name for herself in her native Ireland, but it was the streaming show that really brought her into the mainstream.
Since the huge success of the first season, which debuted on Christmas in 2020, Coughlan has found herself on magazine covers, in huge interviews and all over social media, including on Elle UK's January cover, which may be what prompted her recent Instagram request to stop with the feedback.
In her piece, she spoke of how public her life has become as a famous person, saying, “I went to the pub with my friend a while back and it was like being an animal at the zoo."
“People just watching and looking," Coughlan shared. "And I remember one time I was taking my Invisalign [brace] out, and this person was staring me right in the eyes, which was quite weird.”
She added, though, that in general, people are lovely. But even the good comments can weigh on you when you’re hearing them constantly, because how your body looks is not your entire worth.
Hello! So I wrote this two years ago for the Guardian but I just thought I\u2019d share it again\n\nTLDR: Can we judge actors for their work and not their bodies\n\nhttps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/29/critics-actors-talent-not-bodies-prime-miss-jean-brodie\u00a0\u2026— Nicola Coughlan (@Nicola Coughlan) 1614634914
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Coughlan has had to respond to people talking about her weight and her body. In March last year, she tweeted a thread about not discussing women’s bodies in favor of discussing their talent and their work.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
In fact, Coughlan later reiterated this in an interview with the Tatler in March, where she talked about wanting to "be known as an actor," rather than "a body positivity influencer."
"I know the world is very body-image-obsessed," she told the publication back in March, "But I always hope that people will focus more on my acting than that."
Coughlan added, "I also think your relationship to your body is so personal. If I decide to suddenly become a bodybuilder and [apply] fake tan and be covered in muscle, I can do that – because it's my body and it's for nobody else to own or decide what to do with."
Photo via Getty
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