Jennifer Coolidge: I made the mistake of not riding the wave that I had early on

Jennifer Coolidge has said she feels she made a mistake not “riding the wave” of success which her early projects brought her.

The award-winning actress, 61, first made a name for herself after starring in hit films including American Pie and Legally Blonde in the 1990s and early 2000s.

She continued to feature in projects over the years and she received critical acclaim recently for her performance in HBO black comedy series The White Lotus, which won her an Emmy and a Golden Globe award.

In an interview with fellow actor Jeremy Allen White, 32, for Variety’s Actors On Actors series, Coolidge said: “Now that I’m old enough to really look back at my life and certainly my mistakes, I see a lot of those.

“But I never had any strategy. I just went job to job. I have to say I made the terrible mistake of not riding the wave that I had early on.

“It was sort of in the ’90s when I had Legally Blonde, Best In Show and American Pie. And then a few years later, there was Cinderella Story and stuff like that. But there was a moment.”

Asked what diverted her, she said: “I started pursuing guys. I wasn’t paying attention.

“I just thought I had my whole life. I never said, ‘I want to do’. I did get some jobs, but I didn’t have a plan. And I think that was a fatal flaw of mine, because it took so long to get anything going later.

Jennifer Coolidge
The award-winning actress first made a name for herself in hit films including American Pie and Legally Blonde (Francis Specker/PA)

“I look back and I go, ‘What was I thinking?’ And then I bought a house in New Orleans, and I was consumed with fixing that up.”

White, who stars in Hulu comedy series The Bear, also revealed his own personal frustrations at working in the entertainment industry.

“It is upsetting, how much I feel sometimes in the moment I need validation from a director,” he said.

“The Bear has been successful and finally I’m feeling like, ‘Oh, OK. Maybe I belong a little bit’.

“But it’s a shame that it took 15 years of acting.”

The full interview is available in Variety.