Simone Ashley Has a Message for Those Body-Shaming Nicola Coughlan

The newest Bridgerton season on Netflix stars Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, a young woman who is discovering love with Luke Newton’s Colin Bridgerton. Last season was dedicated to the characters played by their costars Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey. During a recent press conference, People reports that Ashley was asked about the response to Coughlan as a female lead and body-shaming comments she has received.

“Yeah, the haters are going to hate, and I think we can all relate to that, but I really don’t think that she’s allowing that to bother her,” Ashley answered. “She has a strong and fruitful career and entire life ahead of her. And I really believe in her, as the world does as well.”

She continued, “I think Nicola is just absolutely flying. She is a gorgeous, strong, confident, intelligent woman, seeing her do this press tour and spread so much joy and inspiration to everyone—especially women—all over the world. And I’m inspired by her as well. She’s also a really kind human being, and I think that’s such a universal language that people can relate to.”

Coughlan has responded to comments about her body as well. During a premiere event for the season, a clip showed someone making a remark that she was being “very brave for this role,” seemingly referencing a partial nude scene.

“You know, it is hard, because I think women with my body type—women with perfect breasts—we don’t get to see ourselves on screen enough,” Coughlan dryly replied. “I’m very proud as a member of the perfect breasts community. I hope you enjoy seeing them.”

The star told the LA Times that it was her own decision to appear topless.

“There’s one scene where I’m very naked on camera, and that was my idea, my choice,” she explained. “It just felt like the biggest ‘f-ck you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering.”

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