Claudia Jessie on Lady Whistledown reveal: ‘That’s such a shock to a friendship’

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Spoilers for the ending of Bridgerton season one
Over the weekend we discovered that Bridgerton’s Rege-Jean “The Duke” Page can actually sing and has great comedic timing. Nicola Coughlan revealed to fans on Twitter that there was an easter egg about the identity of Penelope Featherington in episode one. Now we have a new interview with Claudia Jessie, who played Eloise Bridgerton. Eloise is best friends with Penelope Featherington, who is revealed in the final episode to be Lady Whistledown. Eloise wanted more options in life besides marriage and family, which was quite feminist for her time. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Claudia discusses what drew her to the role of Eloise, what to expect from her character in season two and how Eloise would react to finding out that Lady Whistledown was her bestie the entire time. Below are a few excerpts:

On what drew her to the character and why Eloise stands out
I think what drew me to her is the thing that makes her stand out so much, actually. And the fact that she is sort of as close to the audience as you’re going to get really character-wise. She feels the most contemporary, and I’m aware that I play her as well with a sort of contemporary edge.

I think what makes us stand up against the other characters is how she doesn’t internalize anything. You can see [how other characters] struggle internally in their thinking, almost like they’re sinking inside of themselves, and how they struggle to communicate with each other properly, and they get tongue-tied and nervous and cut over themselves. Eloise did not have that problem. She’s so outwards, and everything that comes out of her mouth is the exact stream of consciousness… And she’s hilarious—she’s simply hilarious. She’s a rebel, and she’s a lovable rogue, and she’s ridiculous and quick—and I think that’s why people love her.

On what she wants for Eloise
I think about Eloise all the time. I think about how much fun she would have being exposed to sort of owning her life. Firstly, I’d like to see her debut [ball], because she’s going to do it and she’s going to shake things up and basically take the piss out of it. I’m excited for that. But I would really love to see Eloise just really own every space she’s in. She had this vision that her sister was the perfect debutante, and then Eloise comes sort of like crashing through with her own personality. She is given a little bit more freedom to be herself, with Phoebe being in a high-status relationship, and it gives Eloise a bit more room to have her own space.

“What drama can you not wait to revisit for Season 2?”
Eloise not knowing who Lady Whistledown is! She is going to be pissed! I just can’t imagine what that is going to be like. That’s such a shock to a friendship. You have this woman, this character, this mysterious scribbler that Eloise is basically a bit in love with, and kinda wants to be her best mate—has been lying to her, writing about her family, and causing scandals. To me, that’s the most compelling thing in the world.

Also, anything that Lady Danbury and the queen do—anything that they do, I’m going to be watching. I don’t care. I’ll watch them eat toast. I’ll watch them stare at a cup of tea. I will watch them blow their noses, and I’ll have been moved.

[From Harper's Bazaar]

I personally liked Eloise. She was hella quirky and a bit self-absorbed but she made the show fun. Eloise showed the limited options that women of the regency era had and it was absolutely depressing. I felt bad for Eloise because you could tell that she was becoming bitter at being forced into a life she didn’t want. I also loved how Eloise tried to save Lady Whistledown. My favorite exchange was when Eloise and Penelope were discussing how a woman gets pregnant and they thought pregnancy was contagious.

I am sure Claudia is right that when Eloise finds out that Lady Whistledown is her best friend she may go off the deep end. How do you keep a secret like that from your bestie? Then again I am not so sure if Eloise would be able to keep the secret. Claudia is another Bridgerton star that I hope to see more of. I am definitely looking forward season two. I am excited to see how all of the characters grow and mature. I also hope that Eloise gets at least a chance to live out her life as a writer. I am definitely #TeamFreeEloise. Can’t help but love a budding feminist.

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photos credit: Netflix, Getty and via Instagram

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14 Responses to “Claudia Jessie on Lady Whistledown reveal: ‘That’s such a shock to a friendship’”

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  1. lemonylips says:

    Eloise was my favorite. I wonder where the show will take her, cause I didn’t read the books.

  2. Becks1 says:

    It will definitely be interesting to see how they handle the reveal of Lady Whistledown – like will other characters learn of it during the second season, or will it kind of be a drip drip drip over the next few seasons?

    In the books, its not revealed until Book 4, which is Penelope and Colin’s book, and Eloise’s learning of it is really not a big deal, its almost disappointing, but we dont see Eloise’s perspective either. (I havent read book 5 yet which is Eloise’s book.)

    Anyway, I think Lady Whistledown’s identity has to be a drip drip drip or else you cant have Lady Whistledown (because once everyone knows who she is, will her column mean anything?) and she was one of the best parts of the series!

  3. Genevieve says:

    Speaking of Easter eggs, there’s quite an example in that Instagram post.

  4. Noodle says:

    “How does one come to be with child?” That, and her brothers’ reactions. Best scene in the show for me.

  5. Shelby says:

    Eloise’s book is my favourite in the Bridgerton series and I am wondering how the producers of the series will tell her story (provided they reach her book which is the 5th) since they already introduce her love interest and changed his circumstances. Anyway, it was a delight to see Claudia Jessie portray Eloise on screen. She brought so much energy and quirkiness to her making Eloise stood out among all her siblings. As Book Anthony told Book Eloise in her book: “Life does not happen to you. You happen to life” or something to that effect.

  6. lucy says:

    I have read all the books-Eloise being my absolute favorite (and have re-read that one many times). Claudia Jessie is playing her exactly how I had her pictured. I cannot wait until her book is done and I cannot wait to see how they handle the reveal of Lady Whistledown…as mentioned above, it was not that big in the book.

  7. Fleur says:

    I read the Bridgerton books years ago but remember almost nothing about them, and wish they’d adapted Lisa Kleypas’s books instead. I feel like Penelope’s story line was my favorite of the novels, but that’s not saying a lot.

  8. Jill says:

    I like Eloise as a character, but I absolutely hated her book, due to how the author demonizes a character with mental illness. I hope they do some substantial changes for the show, as it’s completely awful in the book.

    • Sandii says:

      I remember it more in the way that they did not really understand it but were aware (after some time) that it is an illness.

  9. TheOriginalMia says:

    I liked Eloise when she finally stopped judging her sister’s choices for her life. I hope they change her story as well because I didn’t like how they treated Marina. As a black woman, I thought they demonized her and her situation was more complicated than the lives of the other girls. I actually hope they change Eloise’s story since they introduced Phillip and had him marry Marina. If they do what they did to Marina in the book series, I’ll probably be done with Bridgerton. Just sends an awful message.

    As far as Penelope being Lady Whistledown, I hope there are some consequences. Some of her actions were just cruel, not salacious.

  10. molly says:

    Claudia Jessie is great, and the character is even better, but sometimes it’s obvious that the actress is 31 instead of 17. It helps that Penelope is played by a 34 year old, so at least they’re contemporaries. They do a good job writing around it most of the time, but sometimes she has to be a naïve teenager little sister, and I don’t buy it.

  11. teehee says:

    I have a hard time swallowing that Penelope is Whistledown. Penelope is far too young to be giving a sage opinion to things like Whistledown’s writings would indicate….. I am still skeptical. That could’ve been just a bait and switch (i’m hoping)

    • molly says:

      I work in media, and all I could see was the amount of content Lady Whistledown was creating! The book says it comes out 3x a week, and that’s thousands and thousands of single spaced words. Does she have long term stories or is everything just a recap of the scandal from the night before? How does no one see her if she’s taking the time to write all this by hand in her fancy script? And what’s the turnaround time from pen to press layout to distribution? Anyone who’s ever written a blog knows the amount of effort required to consistently generate high volumes of content, and I want to know her process!