Bridgerton actress Nicola Coughlan has seen the bubbling-up of past interviews in which young actresses are grilled on their social lives, addictions, mental health, and more as part of a bigger farce, and she wants us to know that it’s still happening. In a Twitter thread posted March 1st, Coughlan asks entertainment journalists to focus the conversation on the work, not futile things like outward appearance.
“Can we judge actors for their work and not their bodies,” Coughlan wrote in the first tweet of several. She attached an article she wrote for The Guardian in 2018 after a theater critic wrote she was “the kind of overweight little girl who will always become the butt of her fellows’ immature humour” in a review for her play The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
Of the critic, she said that he “is a professional; he was meant to review my work. Instead he reviewed my body. That is not acceptable.”
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“I know I’m not alone; women in my industry are put under constant scrutiny for their looks,” Coughlan wrote. “It affects male actors as well…but the vast majority of feedback was from women. Something in our society tells us that women’s bodies are fair game for scrutiny in a way that men’s simply are not.”
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“Can we please stop asking women about their weight in interviews, especially when [it’s] completely irrelevant,” Coughlan continued in her Twitter thread.
Unfortunately, she pointed out, those “inappropriate questions” from the days of yore are still happening in one way or another. “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 in a followup post.
She added that she would “really love to never be asked about it in an interview again, also I have so many other things I love to talk about, I’m Irish so I can talk till the cows come home.”
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Pointing out the size of someone’s body doesn’t add anything to a review, interview, or critique. It sadly detracts from the hard work an actor has done to build a character. As Coughlan said, it’s 2021—it’s time to move on from this lazy kind of commentary.
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