Nicola Coughlan requested ‘very naked’ Bridgerton season 3 scene to shut down body shamers

Nicola Coughlan asked to be “very naked” in one Bridgerton season three scene as a “f*** you” to trolls who commented on her body.

The Irish actor, 37, leads the latest instalment of the Netflix regency drama as Penelope Featherington opposite Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton.

Last month, Coughlan revealed her “disbelief” at being “the leading lady in a romance show”.

“And it’s not because I find myself hideous, as some people have assumed when I say that,” the Derry Girls alum said. “Pen was a supporting character, the oddball in the corner, but this time she’s very much centre stage.”

In a new interview with Stylist, Coughlan spoke about her work with Bridgerton’s intimacy coordinator Lizzy Talbot on this season’s sex scenes.

“You go, ‘Ok, what do I want to show? What don’t I want to show? What’s scripted, and what do I want to add?’”

“I specifically asked for certain lines and moments to be included,” Coughlan continued. “There’s one scene where I’m very naked on camera, and that was my idea, my choice. It just felt like the biggest ‘fuck you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering. I felt beautiful in the moment, and I thought: ‘When I’m 80, I want to look back on this and remember how fucking hot I looked!’”

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in ‘Bridgerton’ season three (LAURENCE CENDROWICZ/NETFLIX)
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in ‘Bridgerton’ season three (LAURENCE CENDROWICZ/NETFLIX)

In 2022, Coughlan posted a message on Instagram asking her fans to stop sharing their opinions about her body. “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,” 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.”

She later told the Irish Times: “All I care about is the work. Bodies change, if I lose weight or gain weight or I do anything it’s no one’s business, all I care about is doing good acting and being judged on that.”

In the latest season of Bridgerton, Penelope has “finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton after hearing his disparaging words about her last season”, reads an official logline.

“She has, however, decided it’s time to take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters. But lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly.”

Speaking about her “rare” relationship with co-star Newton, Coughlan said their special bond stems from their “shared” exposure to Bridgerton stardom.

“It’s a very rare experience,” she said. “I think we’re aware of how unique this is.”

Based on Julia Quinn’s best-selling book series, Bridgerton is produced by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes’s company Shondaland. After its 2020 premiere, the series proved to be one of the streaming giant’s most popular originals.

Bridgerton season three will be released in two parts. The first four episodes will drop on Netflix on 16 May at 3am EDT, followed by the final four episodes on 13 June at 3am EDT.