New season of 'Bridgerton' applauded for body positivity: 'For the curvy girls'

Nicola Coughlan plays the leading female role in the third season.

New season of 'Bridgerton' applauded for body positivity: 'For the curvy girls'
Liam Daniel/Netflix
May 16, 2024, 9:56 PM

Reactions from fans and viewers began pouring in online after the new season of "Bridgerton" dropped this week, with some celebrating the new leading lady, Nicola Coughlan, who plays the role of Penelope Featherington in the hit Netflix series.

The third season of "Bridgerton," which focused heavily on the relationship between Coughlan's character and Colin Bridgerton, portrayed by Luke Newton, has drawn praises from audiences who applauded the series for showing body positivity in the leading female role as well as seeing it being romanticized and desired.

PHOTO: Nicola Coughlan plays the leading female role as Penelope Featherington in the third season of "Bridgerton."
Nicola Coughlan plays the leading female role as Penelope Featherington in the third season of "Bridgerton."
Netflix

Before the premiere of the new season, Coughlan revealed during an interview with Stylist that she was certain to be "very naked" in a scene, adding that it was her idea and choice.

"I specifically asked for certain lines and moments to be included," she recalled. "It just felt like the biggest 'f–k you' to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering."

Coughlan said she worked with intimacy coordinator for "Bridgerton," Lizzy Talbot to make it happen.

"And 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?'" she said.

Coughlan is glad of her decision to do the intimate scene.

"I feel great about it, because not only did I consent to it but I drove it," she explained. "There's a reason this show became a phenomenon: It's about women feeling desire, owning their sexuality and driving the charge in those situations rather than just being an object of a man's affections."

PHOTO: Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan appear in a scene from season three of "Bridgerton."
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan appear in a scene from season three of "Bridgerton."
Liam Daniel/Netflix

In fact, while speaking to the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview, she said she found the process of shooting scenes with her co-star Newton, creatively satisfying and liberating.

"By the end of the day, we were both lying under a blanket, not clothed, just chillin'," she told the outlet. "We were like, 'This is why nudists do it.'"

In response to the new episodes airing on the streaming service, one TikTok user expressed their admiration for the new storyline.

"Can we just talk about how refreshing it is to see a plus size person being romanticised and seen as desirable and being featured in raunchy scenes without it being some awful joke," the user wrote. "Everything about this season is amazing so far."

Meanwhile, a user on X highlighted the positive representation that the new season brought to the women with ample figures.

"This season of 'Bridgerton' is for the curvy girls who have always been shown in media as the punchline & never the romantic lead," the user wrote. "This is for the plus size girls who deserve to see themselves portrayed as sexy, desirable & lovable. This season means so much."

PHOTO: Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan appear in a scene from season three of "Bridgerton."
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan appear in a scene from season three of "Bridgerton."
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Another user on X added, "Going to sleep knowing I wake up to new Bridgerton episodes (with a plus size female main character)."

In the past, Coughlan had called out those who trolled her online about her appearance, saying in an Instagram caption, per Huffington post, "If you have an opinion about my body please, please don't share it with me."

"It's really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day," she added.

Opening up in an interview with Irish Times shortly after, she said, "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."

Season 3 of "Bridgerton" is available to stream on Netflix.

Related Topics