Nicola Coughlan of Bridgerton Responded to Comments About Her Body

Coughlan revealed that she receives direct messages about her appearance "every day."

Photo: Getty Images

Thanks to buzzy roles on hit TV shows Derry Girls and Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan has developed a global fanbase that continues to grow. But worldwide fame has subjected the Irish actress to unsolicited commentary about her appearance, so she took to Instagram to remind fans that if they have opinions about her body, they should keep it to themselves.

Yesterday Coughlan posted a mirror selfie taken before a recent appearance on Saturday Night Live. In her caption she candidly shares what it feels like "to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day."

"Hello! So just a thing," she begins. "If you have an opinion about my body please, please don't share it with me. 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. 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 ❤️." (

Coughlan also disabled comments from her post on Instagram and on Twitter to prevent further chatter from hitting her notifications. It's a move plenty of celebs have taken recently, including Britney Spears, who has been limiting Instagram comments and calling out paparazzi for body shaming her, and Jonah Hill, who asked his fans last year to not comment on his body, "good or bad" because it's "not helpful and doesn't feel good" to the actor. (

As for Coughlan, this isn't the first time the actress has addressed criticism of her body. Back in 2018, she took to Twitter to call out a theater critic who used his platform twice to comment on her body when reviewing two of her roles on stage. In one instance, critic Philip Fisher referred to her character as an "overweight little girl," and in another, he called her a "fat girl" — neither of which had anything to do with her performances at hand. "My weight has no relevance to either the performance I gave in [Jess and Joe Forever] or in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," she tweeted.

"Philip Fisher, I know you are a theatre reviewer and your body had no relevance to your job but maybe you'd like me to cruelly review it for you and post it online?" she added in the thread, also telling Fisher's employer, the British Theatre Guide, that "he is not welcome to review any show I am in from now till forever. And I plan to be in a lot of damn shows." (

In response, the organization removed the specific references and offered Coughlan what she called "a bit of a tepid apology," adding, "I will accept if going forward you realize why it was so offensive and never review another woman's body's again."

Coughlan then discussed the experience in 2019, sharing that Fisher had made a false assumption about her character. "My character is bullied because she's strange, she's odd, and she's an outcast. She's not bullied because she's a fat girl," she told Metro UK. She continued, "I take my job so seriously; I worked so hard. And if you didn't like my acting — if you think my acting was crap — you can say that. If you think my accent was rubbish, say that. But to say 'she's bullied because she's overweight,' no. You just fundamentally got that wrong."

She later addressed online commentary about her role in Bridgerton. "It was wild, because I was size 10 filming series one and I got called 'the big one'! I was, like, 'Are you serious?' she told The Irish Times in 2020. "I'm not this gigantic sumo wrestler, and even if I were, would it matter? Would it be relevant?"

While it's always great to see a celeb shut down body shaming in such a succinct way, it's worth remembering that they should never even have to in the first place. Body chatter of all kinds — whether it be cruel commentary as Coughlan has experienced or praise that serves as subtle forms of shaming, e.g., "it's so brave to see you wearing that crop top" — can come across as hurtful, no matter how well-meaning it might seem. In 2022, it's long past time to leave all of that behind, so if you've got a comment on someone's appearance, it never hurts to keep it squarely to yourself.

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