Nicola Coughlan Felt So Empowered When She Got Naked for Bridgerton

Nicola Coughlan will be showing a lot more skin on the upcoming third season of Bridgerton, and that’s by design. As her character Penelope Featherington steps “out of the shadows” in her search for a husband, she will also finally make a move on longtime crush Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), leading to the character’s first sex scene.

Coughlan explained that in working with the show’s intimacy coordinator, she advocated for her own ideas about Penelope’s sex life. “I specifically asked for certain lines and moments to be included,” she told Stylist, per BuzzFeed. “I felt beautiful in the moment, and I thought: ‘When I’m 80, I want to look back on this and remember how f-cking hot I looked!’”

“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-ck you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering,” she said. Nicola Coughlan has repeatedly stated that she does not want her body to be a topic of discussion at all, whether in a positive or negative light. She wants to be judged for her acting, which is completely fair.

From left: Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 302 of Bridgerton. (Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

Liam Daniel/Netflix

The actor, who nabbed the critical role of Penelope/Lady Whistledown after a single audition, admitted that at first she was nervous to undress in front of her coworkers, recalling the first time she tried on the skimpy thong she’d wear for the simulated intercourse. “I went to the bathroom and looked in the full-length mirror. I was like, ‘Absolutely not.’ I hid it down the bottom of the laundry basket,” she told the LA Times, adding that when the day came, margaritas helped her get over her nerves. It was actually a fun day on set. “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,’” she added, referring to herself and Newton, her close friend off-screen.

Costume designer John Glaser told Glamour that for Penelope’s season-three makeover, “We tried, because of what her character is doing, to show as much skin as possible. That’s why a lot of her sleeves and gloves are transparent. Even her small gloves are just hints—hints of jewelry, hints of gloves, so we see her skin and body shape.” Hot.

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