Nicola Coughlan Says ‘Bridgerton’ Nude Scene Was ‘F–k You’ to Haters

Jamie McCarthy

While filming Bridgerton’s third season, Nicola Coughlan had a special request: more nudity, please.

Coughlan, 37, who plays Penelope Featherton, a.k.a. secret gossip columnist “Lady Whistledown” in the steamy Netflix series, told Stylist magazine in an interview released on Wednesday, May 15, that she wanted to be nude during a love scene with costar Luke Newton (Colin Bridgerton).

“I specifically asked for certain lines and moments to be included,” she explained. “There’s one scene where I’m very naked on camera, and that was my idea, my choice.”

“It just felt like the biggest ‘f—k you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering,” she said, adding, “I felt beautiful in the moment, and I thought: ‘When I’m 80, I want to look back on this and remember how f—king hot I looked!’”

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Related: Everything to Know So Far About ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3

Following Anthony and Kate’s epic slow burn romance on season 2 of Bridgerton, Colin and Penelope are now next in line. According to the Julia Quinn books that inspired the hit Netflix series, the second eldest Bridgerton brother would be up next, but in May 2022, Nicola Coughlan confirmed that the romance in the fourth […]

Recently, Coughlan revealed to The Los Angeles Times that she had been nervous to film a sex scene — her first-ever — that required her to wear a strapless thong. When she tried it on, “I went to the bathroom and looked in the full-length mirror,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Absolutely not.’ I hid it down the bottom of the laundry basket. I was like, ‘How am I going to do this?’”

The experience proved easier than she thought it would be. “By the end of the day, we were both lying under a blanket, not clothed, just chillin.’ We were like, ‘This is why nudists do it.’”

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The romance between Penelope and Colin features prominently in Bridgerton season 3, which begins streaming Thursday, May 16. In previous seasons, Coughlan’s character had harbored an unrequited crush on the younger son of the Bridgerton family.

Bridgerton’s new showrunner, Jess Brownell, has explained the reason behind the decision to focus on the duo this time around.

“I really feel like it’s Colin and Penelope’s time. Because we’ve been watching both of these actors on our screens since Season 1, we’ve already invested in them a little bit. We know who they are as people,” she said in 2022. “I feel like, especially in the last season, there are these moments of tension between them where it’s like, Colin walks up to the line of almost realizing that Penelope has feelings for him but doesn’t quite get there. Instead of treading water on that dynamic, we wanted to push it into their season. It really felt like the perfect moment to tee it up.” 

Coughlan, who previously starred in the British sitcom Derry Girls, was up for the challenge of leading a romantic storyline.

“With Penelope this season, it felt like there were so many things that were reflected in real life,” she told the L.A. Times. “The whole theme of her stepping out of the shadows and into the light, and not feeling quite ready — I felt like I had to do that.”

She added, “It was really challenging. It was terrifying. It was cathartic. It was a million and one things. I loved it.”

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