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Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan posing on red carpet and a woman in a black dress speaking into a microphone.

Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan Gives Perfect Clapback to Fan

Photo by Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/WireImage via Getty Images and X/ @_gracieling
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Nicola Coughlan Has Brilliant Response To Fan Calling Her Bridgerton Scenes "Very Brave"

She is the Queen of comebacks.

Bridgerton is arguably the HOTTEST show on Netflix (and not just because it's one of the streamer's most popular series ever).

Every season focuses on a different Bridgerton sibling and their respective love story. And while seasons one and two did not disappoint, season three is the one fans have been waiting for. Finally, #Polin takes center stage.

While Penelope and Colin are the talk of the "ton," it's the actress who plays Penelope, Nicola Coughlan, who's really got people talking after shooting down a body-shamer in the most epic way possible.

Nicola Coughlan's Empowering Response to Body-Shaming

For the past few weeks Nicola, alongside her co-star Luke Newton, has been on a whirlwind promotional tour for Bridgerton's third season.

They've been delighting fans all over the world, but it was during their stop in Dublin, Ireland, when Nicola proved she's got a lot in common with Penelope's sharp-witted alter ego Lady Whistledown.

During a Q&A session, an audience member thought it would be a good idea to make a back-handed comment about her body, calling her "very brave" for taking on the role of Penelope Featherington.

And while he didn't body shame her outright, the implication was clear; as a woman who doesn't conform to Hollywood's ridiculous and unrealistic body ideals, it must take an awful lot of courage to show it, right? Wrong.

Without missing a beat, Nicola quipped:

"You know, it is hard because I think women with my body type — women with perfect breasts — we don't get to see ourselves onscreen enough."

As the crowd erupted in laughter and applauded her for her witty (and hilarious!) reaction, she continued, "And I'm very proud as a member of the perfect breasts community. I hope you enjoy seeing them."

Nicola has made no secret about how she feels about baring it all this season. In an interview with Stylist last month she shared that she "specifically asked for certain lines and moments to be included."

“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**k you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering,” she added.

"What a Queen" 

This isn't the first time Nicola has had to respond to comments about her body. In a now-deleted mirror selfie posted on Instagram in 2022, she wrote in the caption:

“Hello! So just a thing- 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.”

And clearly, people still aren't getting the message. In addition to the comment made in Dublin, she is also now clapping back at trolls who say her waist was photoshopped in Bridgerton.

“I saw some trolls. They were like, ‘They photoshopped your waist,’ and I was like, ‘No, they did not,’” she told PEOPLE.

Honestly, when will this negative narrative around women's bodies end?

The Importance of Changing Perceptions and Language Around Body Image

People come in all shapes and sizes and there is no ideal body type (despite what Barbie and Hollywood have ingrained in our psyches for decades).

While societal norms are shifting and becoming more inclusive and positive about ALL bodies it seems we still have a long way to go.

The fact that Nicola repeatedly has to field questions surrounding her body highlights a significant issue with how society still views bodies that deviate from the "ideal" portrayed in media.

By calling her "brave," the audience member implied that there is something inherently daring about existing and being seen in a body like hers. This narrative is damaging, reinforcing the idea that bodies that aren't a size 0 are somehow less acceptable and that confidence in them is extraordinary rather than normal.

The language we use matters.

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