Nicola Coughlan was referred to as “the fat girl from Bridgerton” on a red carpet. Her response was telling.

Last year, Nicola Coughlan appeared on the virtual red carpet at the Golden Globes.

The Irish actor, who is starring in Netflix's Bridgerton, was named on British Vogue's annual best dressed list.

But while the 35-year-old was praised for her lemon-yellow Molly Goddard gown, there was one comment that Coughlan couldn't ignore.

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Video via Netflix.

On Twitter, Amanda Richards, host of The Big Calf Podcast, referred to Coughlan as "the fat girl from Bridgerton". 

"The fat girl from Bridgerton is wearing a black cardigan at the Golden Globes, because no matter how hot and stylish you are, if you're a fat girl there will always be a black cardigan you think about wearing, then decide against, but ultimately wear because you feel like you have to," she tweeted.

Hours later, Coughlan responded to the podcast host's tweet.

"I thought the cardigan looked ace, Molly Goddard used them on her runway with the dresses, that's where the idea came from," she responded.

"Also, I have a name." 


While Richards didn't respond to Coughlan's tweet, she replied to another commenter who defended the actor's style.

"Nicola has amazing style. She isn’t scared of showing her body. I think this was choice rather than a cover up," the user wrote.

"Agree, her style is killer. And it was a choice! She replied and said so, and correctly called me out for not using her name," Richards responded.

"I definitely projected my own feelings about the requisite fat girl cover up cardigan onto that look."

In response, Coughlan resurfaced an op-ed she wrote for The Guardian in 2018.

In the piece, Coughlan recalled a reviewer referring to her as an "overweight little girl who will always become the butt of her fellows" after she played Joyce Emily in a London production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

"Everything I’d done to create my character had been reduced to a hurtful word and casual comment on my appearance," she wrote.

"It’s worth noting that at no point in Spark’s novel, or David Harrower's adaptation is Joyce Emily’s weight referenced, not one place."


According to Coughlan, that same reviewer had previously described her as "a fat girl" following her performance in Jess and Joe Forever in Edinburgh.

"That was hurtful, and not only in the obvious way. Those were the only words he could think of to describe the work I’d done," she wrote.

"I know I’m not alone; women in my industry are put under constant scrutiny for their looks," she added.

"Something in our society tells us that women’s bodies are fair game for scrutiny in a way that men’s simply are not."

Sharing The Guardian article on Twitter, the 35-year-old added that journalists should stop asking women about their bodies in interviews.

"Every time I’m asked about my body in an interview it makes me deeply uncomfortable and so sad I’m not just allowed to just talk about the job I do that I so love," she wrote.

"It’s so reductive to women when we’re making great strides for diversity in the arts, but questions like that just pull us backwards," she continued.

"So yeah, it would be nice if we didn’t have to keep having this conversation. I would really love to never be asked about it in an interview again."


In an interview with Refinery29, Coughlan shared she doesn't consider herself a body positivity activist.

"I know people mean it in the nicest way possible, but I always say to them, 'I am not a body positivity activist,'" she told the publication. 

"'There are so many incredible people who are, and I admire them and think they're wonderful, but that's not my focus. I'm an actor. That's the bottom line for me."

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Frustratingly, the body shaming hasn't stopped for Coughlan. Just last month she resorted to Instagram, telling those making comments about her weight: "If you have an opinion about my body, please, please, don't share it with me. 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."

Coughlan has gained a legion of fans following her role as Penelope Featherington in Netflix's Bridgerton.

Before Bridgerton, the Irish actor was well known for her roles as the fast-talking Clare Devlin on Derry Girls and Hannah Dalton in Harlots.

Bridgerton season two is available to watch on Netflix now.

This post was originally published on March 5, 2021, and was updated on March 27, 2022.

Feature Image: Netflix/Getty/Mamamia.

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