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Nicola Coughlan Explains Wanting to Be Naked in ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3

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Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan isn’t shying away from embracing nudity. 

The actress, who plays Penelope Featherington on the hit Netflix series, recently revealed her empowering decision to bare it all during intimate scenes with co-star Luke Newton, who plays Colin Bridgerton on the show.

Coughlan disclosed her deliberate choice to incorporate nudity into her performance, asserting her agency in shaping the character’s narrative. “I specifically asked for certain lines and moments to be included,” Coughlan told Stylist in a recent interview, per People. “There’s one scene where I’m very naked on camera, and that was my idea, my choice.”

Nicola Coughlan in BridgertonLiam Daniel/Netflix

For Coughlan, this decision was not just about the portrayal of her character but also a personal assertion of confidence and defiance against societal norms. “It just felt like the biggest ‘f**k you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body,” she candidly expressed. “It was amazingly empowering. I felt beautiful in the moment, and I thought: ‘When I’m 80, I want to look back on this and remember how f**king hot I looked!'”

Far from being a passive participant, Coughlan took charge of her portrayal, emphasizing her consent and active role in driving the inclusion of nudity. “Not only did I consent to it, but I drove it,” she affirmed, emphasizing her satisfaction with the outcome.

Nicola CoughlanANDREA RENAULT/AFP via Getty Images

ET spoke with Coughlan last June at Netflix’s TUDUM! Global Fan Event in Brazil, where she opened up about the upcoming season and her kiss with Newton.

“Terrifying,” Coughlan admitted when asked what it was like to shoot the show’s steamy scenes. “Luke and I read the books at the beginning of season 1, and it was funny to us. We were like, ‘Imagine if we have to kiss and do this.’ And then season 3 came along and we were like, ‘Oh god,’ and then it’s like, ‘It’s my friend. I have to kiss my friend.'”

She continued, “And you can’t pretend to kiss someone, you have to really kiss them. It’s a spicy one. It’s a lot of the stuff from the books that the fans expect has made it into the show.”

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan hold hands during Bridgerton event in Australia.James Gourley/Getty Images for Netflix

And the pair couldn’t help but laugh through those awkward moments, no matter how passionate they were meant to be.

“Oh my god, there was one day where we had to sort of do like a very romantic, beautifully written romantic scene. And we were just like peeing ourselves with laughter, ’cause you just have to, like, look into each other’s eyes and we were like, ‘Oh god,'” Coughlan shared.

As for how she’d describe the season, the Derry Girls actress said “romantic.”

“Romantic? Because I keep saying — season 1 was about passion. Season 2 was about longing. Season 3 is romance. It’s so romantic,” she gushed.

Coughlan’s Penelope is at the center of the action this season, as the story shifts to focus on her character and her friendship turned love affair with Colin. 

“It’s really exciting. It’s scary. I wish Luke was here. He’s in London,” she noted before sharing that Newton has a bit of FOMO over missing the event. “He’s doing amazing. He’s doing a show, but he’s sad. His FOMO is, like, next level. He was like, ‘What are you eating? What’s happening? Who’s there?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m sorry. Chris Hemsworth is in the gym this morning.'”

The first half of the season is set to premiere on Netflix on May 16, followed by the release of the remaining episodes on June 13.

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