The Spectator published a despicable article bodyshaming Nicola Coughlan

In Bridgerton’s Season 3, Nicola Coughlan’s Penelope Featherington has the main “love story,” with Luke Newton’s Colin Bridgerton. Netflix has already released the first four episodes and they’re great. So far, these season is doing better with balancing all of the B-plots, because I’m still mad about how Eloise Bridgerton’s stupidity sucked up too much time and space in Season 2. I’m fine with the “Polin” love story because I love A) friends-to-lovers stories and B) stories about the quiet wallflower getting the guy. If anything, I think Nicola is killing it this season, while Luke Newton could… try harder at this acting thing. But I digress. Notice how none of my Bridgerton conversation is focused on Nicola’s size. That’s because I don’t give a sh-t – Nicola is gorgeous, she has a round face which makes her ageless, and she’s curvy-thicc with a nice rack. I find it entirely plausible that a guy would kiss her once and lose his mind and want to marry her immediately. Well, The Spectator’s Zoe Strimpel disagrees. Strimpel devoted an essay to bodyshaming Nicola and claiming that Nicola is “not hot.” Here’s the relevant portion:

…Not all vectors of marginalisation are created equal – at least where sexy scripts and trash romance television are concerned. The fact is, if you’re a casting director, you can fill your stage or screen with people of any sexuality, gender identity, age (within reason), ethnic background, religion, health status, psychological disorder (‘neurodiversity’) or even disability such as partial sight or hearing – and they can still look like perfect tens and thus plausible romantic leads.

And so the unspoken final frontier of oppression is also the most debilitating: not being hot. As the sociologist Catherine Hakim has written, ‘erotic capital’ is a key part of an individual’s ability to progress, impress and make money. It is certainly important if you want to have a lead romantic role in big American productions like Bridgerton. Attractive people, noted Hakim, have easier, more prosperous lives. Love and sex as well as money often come to them more easily than to the plain, old or chubby.

The only physical attribute that works against universal erotic capital in almost any context is fat. I should know, it takes one to know one. I blame my baby. But into that thorny bramble marches this season of Bridgerton, with podgy Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) as the star, finally attracting the tender gaze of perfect ten Colin Bridgerton, whom she has long loved and supported from a friendly yearning distance. Penelope’s frame is not generally named in Bridgerton’s world, but her bookish sexual marginality and apparent destiny to be unloved by Colin forever is clearly its result. Her life on a plump periphery of the svelte and beautiful is also the fuel behind her (spoiler alert) secret identity as the all-powerful gossip scribe Lady Whistledown.

Nicola Coughlan, one of the raunchy comic stars of Channel 4’s smash hit Derry Girls, is a lovely person to watch. She has an expressive face, and I always enjoy her trundling about shrubberies and across richly furnished rooms towards the nearest quill, or looking morosely on from the sidelines at grand balls.

But reader, she is not hot, and there is no escaping it, as I was reminded recently when she graced Harper’s Bazaar’s cover in a fabulous outfit that still did not change her not-hotness. Coughlan is an actress of great value, and might be adored, but she is simply not plausible as the friend who would catch the handsome rich aristocrat Colin Bridgerton’s eye in that way. She’s not shapely – which can work as sexy even in Hollywood; she’s fat. There’s nothing wrong with fat – it’s hardly a moral shortcoming – but a zest for equality and diversity (and in this case good acting) just isn’t enough to make a fat girl who wins the prince remotely plausible. In the cruel visual semantics of the screen, poor plump Penelope may be set up to win her man, but will she win her audience? The jury, dear reader, is out.

[From The Spectator]

This is disgusting. I can’t imagine being so hateful and vile as to write any of this down and wanting it be published. Of course it’s a woman writing this sh-t as well – she’s probably terribly offended that anyone would “believe” that a thicc girl gets action, or that BBW is desirable and even DESIRED in any context, even in a fictional world. This a–hole would be shocked by how many men love curvier women, or love a short woman with a pretty face and a great rack. Getting back to my criticism of Bridgerton… Nicola is the one bringing all the heat this season. Luke has always played Colin as priggish and oblivious. When I see them together, I’m always like… no, Penelope could do so much better!

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127 Responses to “The Spectator published a despicable article bodyshaming Nicola Coughlan”

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  1. Lady Baden-Baden says:

    Deliberately vile, I’m guessing: I think they published it for clicks/publicity. Mission accomplished, I guess – seen this story all over.

    Doesn’t make it any more palatable, of course

    • kirk says:

      “Deliberately vile…published for clicks/publicity.” Yes. What evidence is there that Zoe Strumpet has sufficient attraction to women that she could act as an arbiter of desire for other people. Even if she does dally with women, everybody has their own taste.

      As far as something hateful, disgusting and vile being written in the ‘Spectator’ (a Brit rag of questionable taste and reliably conservative bent), o holy surprise, not. Wasn’t this the rag that had Boris Johnson atop the masthead a while back? Wikipedia says the current editor, Fraser Nelson, has steered Spectator to its circulation highpoint of 102,212 as of 2021, and that Fraser Nelson was previously a political commentator for the now defunct ‘News of the World.’ Gag.

    • TRex says:

      That article moved me towards violence, and I’m SO not violent. WTAF did just read?

    • AlpineWitch says:

      For me Nicola isn’t exactly fat and that’s where the writer is wrong ….
      (And look at her gorgeous face too!).

      Having said that (I’ll get tomatoes for this but I don’t care), having been both fat and skinny (I was anorexic for 10 years starting at 14), when I started gaining weight I was considered utterly unattractive. I had plenty of male friends discouraging me from pursuing handsome men because “they just wouldn’t care, you’re overweight”.
      So yes, the writer is vile but society is, and always was, as well.

      My mum was literally bullied and mocked by my paternal grandmother for 30 years because she was fat, even to the point of telling her that her son was right to cheat on her.

      Vile but tale as old as time.

      • Magdalena says:

        May I suggest that you take a trip to the Caribbean, or even some cities in Italy or Greece or Turkey, where men who are considered to be tall and handsome (of all colours and races) would fall at your feet and LAVISH you with compliments and tell you every day what a goddess you are. The Nicolas of this world are snatched up in a heartbeat. If you are a woman who carries a bit or even excess weight AND you have been taught how to dress for your size and shape and you are considered fashionable, smart and funny and confident, you will have your pick of intelligent, discerning men who don’t give two sh*ts about your size. And not fetishists either. They would be interested in YOU. Children raised in those societies grow up with such a sense of self and confidence that they don’t take crap from anyone and this makes them even more attractive when they grow up, no matter what size they end up being.

      • nb says:

        @magdalena I agree. I’m short and have always been on the thick side (size 10-12 for most of my adult life), with an outgoing personality. I have never had trouble getting a date. In fact, when I moved to a city where women are generally more fit and thin than where I grew up, I had men stop me to say “you’re thick, and I like that!”. These men weren’t old and creepy, they were young and handsome just paying a compliment, and it happened multiple times. It was a huge confidence boost. I’m married going on 10 years now and obviously my husband doesn’t mind my extra curves either.

        I just finished Bridgerton and it’s been really refreshing to see someone who looks like Nicola be the wanted love interest for once, and for her size to NOT be a plot line in the story. She’s beautiful and a talented actress.

    • Annalise says:

      They TOTALLY wrote it to rage-bait us. I admit I used to fall for rage-baiting articles ALL the time, where I would furiously write seething comments, getting into comment wars, totally oblivious to the fact that my reaction was EXACTLY what they wanted. I’m just glad that I’m now able to restrain myself.

  2. CJW says:

    This article is disgusting, Nicola Coughlan is a BEAUTIFUL woman and this writer can eat glass!

    • Emme says:

      Also, I’d like to point out that the average height and weight of UK females in the early 1800s is virtually identical to Nicola’s height and weight if this (journalist) cares to check!

  3. Barbara says:

    What a horrible bitch. Nicola is probably at most an American size 14 (and more likely a 10), meaning she’s 100% a normal size. She’s not in any way, shape or form, FAT or “chubby.”

    Penelope could definitely do better than Colin.

    • StellainNH says:

      Nicola is also not very tall. She is probably a very average weight woman, unlike the 00 size, painfully thin models and actors. I love Nicola and her character.

    • Snuffles says:

      She’s more mid-size than plus size. She short and curvy with a round face. And, yes, she’s beautiful and her press tour fashion has been on point.

    • KN says:

      I agree that the article is despicably fat-shaming (and Colin Bridgerton is actually NOT hot).

      However, she absolutely is chubby. Not “fat” but yes absolutely chubby. The normalization of fatness and obesity in American may be what causes you to declare that she is not chubby.

      • LP says:

        Well you see KP, some of us Americans are trying to be empathetic towards others and tear down previously upheld toxic, misogynistic standards, but I can see you don’t k ow anything about that! Whatever country you’re from may think themselves elevated for shaming women with an impossible standard that doesn’t see them as people (only women, men are allowed to be any size). Hopefully you people can learn from our example- but you’re probably too busy smoking cigarettes, so I won’t get my hopes up!

      • Jaded says:

        “Chubby shaming” is exactly the same as “fat shaming”. Shame on YOU for trying to slip in not only an insult to her but to Americans and their “normalizing of fatness and obesity”. You are normalizing your obvious disdain for women who aren’t a perfect size 2.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        You must to be from a country with no fat people. In the UK Nicola’s size isn’t even fat/chubby, perhaps plump…

    • QuiteContrary says:

      The “normalization of fatness and obesity in America,” KN??? Really???

      Why shouldn’t fatness and obesity be normalized? Would you prefer that fat people be ostracized? The judgment is radiating from your gross post.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        In the UK there’s a trend in the medical profession to declare you overweight once you pass 25 BMI and obese 31 BMI.
        I’m categorised ‘obese’ by UK’s health system as I’m just over the limit due to excessive weight gain (perimenopause).

        Any time I visit my mum in Italy it’s traumatic to buy clothes because at my size there’s not much to buy (I’m an XL by Italian standards) and I need to go in special shops for plus size people. I’m a 14/16 UK size.

    • GrnieWnie says:

      It’s almost as though it’s never EVER dawned on them that attractiveness is…subjective, too? I personally do not find the human-skeleton-with-two-watermelons-strapped-to-the-chest look attractive at all, which every other Housewife of X County star sports. In my life, I’ve never had a male partner who preferred the super skinny look. I suspect this look has just been sold to us by Hollywood as an ideal and here we are, there’s a writer who has internalized the misogyny and it’s outraged that a show dared to push back against the fake ideal and show something rather more real.

      Something about this reminds me of when you read this super scathing criticism of a woman’s appearance and then you look at the man making it and you’re like…what on earth do you think entitles YOU to be so critical of someone else when we could all be massively critical of YOU?

      • Mtl.ex.pat says:

        @grniewnie – exactly. A good friend of mine had gained weight after her divorce. She was nervous about dating again but once she got back out there found out how many men loved her shape. She dated randomly for a few years and now has met a super nice guy and they’ve been together for close to a year. So it’s in the eye of the beholder for sure.

      • Joany says:

        @GrnieWnie, exactly as you say, not only beauty is objective, but particularly in that era being skinny wasn’t considered very attractive because it was associated with poverty, poor health, and possibly not being able to have kids. Ideals of beauty change, and sadly our current climate has moved to only value super skinny women.

        This article was one of the vilest articles I’ve read. Sometimes when I read such disgusting things, I feel like these are the ghosts of British Colonialism that still haunt us: the gawl of an English woman to write with such hate towards an Irish woman, now in 2024!!! Can you imagine what these people would be writing 60, 80 years ago?

      • Fabiola says:

        Attractiveness is subjective depending on where you live and how you were raised. I live in OC and most guys here I have talked to prefer thin or toned. They even thought the kardashians except for Kourtney were big. If you go to the southern states they would probably find Nicola very much their ideal woman.

  4. JanetDR says:

    This is so awful that I can’t even come up with anything to say 😡
    Nicola is agelessly adorable. And the woman who wrote this hates herself.

    • BeyondTheFringe says:

      Yeah, she obliquely references her own heavier weight once in the piece so I wonder if her vitriol is some kind of internalized fat phobia.

    • The Hench says:

      My mother always used to tell me that what a person says about another person tells you more about them than anything else.

      My reading of this is that this journalist has been rejected many times and she has blamed/hidden behind her weight as the reason – ergo her belief that you have to be thin to be attractive. If she faces the truth that Nicola/Penelope is found by most of the world to be smoking hot then she has to face the truth that her rejections are down to ‘her’ not her weight.

    • LittlePenguin says:

      I too am speechless. This trash of an article should never have been written. It sounds like the author should really work with a therapist and possibly a nutritionist to deal with the issues she has around weight.

    • Get Real says:

      Came here to say this. More self hatred than anything else. I feel sorry for her kid, growing up with a mother like that.
      And as indicated by the top ratings, lots of people are absolutely loving this season and Nicola. Anyone that can’t see she’s gorgeous inside and out is blind.

  5. Surly Gale says:

    i don’t know who the writer is. Googled and discovered she’s a “British journalist” so right there she’s ….. unbelievable.
    I saw a number of pictures of her of which I could certainly and easily call out her physical appearance. But I won’t, cause I’m a classy dame. She, obviously, is not.
    She has made my blood boil and it’s not even 5:00 a.m.
    I am reminding myself she’s listed herself as a British journalist and am comforted, cause there’s really no such thing anymore.

    • Joanne says:

      I’m not classy, just whisper what you would say and I’ll shout it out for you. That was one of the nastiest articles about a perfectly beautiful woman that I’ve ever read.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yeah, not a journalist and The Spectator is crap for publishing this.

    • Jaded says:

      Well the photo of her on her website with her gob wide open and looking angry reminds me of Scamantha Markle so that says it all. Detestable woman…

    • SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

      Her usual gig is batshit right wing propaganda for the Daily Telegraph, and more recently being all gung-ho for genocide in Gaza. Just a complete waste of time.

  6. D says:

    My mouth is hanging open in astonishment. This was approved to be published in a long-standing news magazine? This isn’t some personal blog? Of course Nicola is Irish, so they are more likely to see her as less-than on top of her not being stick thin. I just can’t believe this.

  7. OliviaOne says:

    Another nobody (this journalist/hater) trying to make a name for herself on someone else’s hard work (in this case Nicola Coughlan’s).
    She writes for the Telegraph. That should tell you all you need to know.

  8. Dee(2) says:

    This is pretty nasty but I knew it was coming. People like the person who wrote this article can’t get around their own socialization, to realize that you not finding someone personally attractive does not make them unattractive. I don’t watch Bridgeton, but I also don’t find it hard to believe that someone would find this actress attractive. It’s not like she’s been living in a tower in reality. Also, the underlying thing not being said in a lot of articles like this is that the other person is too attractive in their opinion to be with the subject of the article. I’m sure this writer has told herself that she totally supports Nicola, and is so progressive, but in her mind Nicola can only be happy and it’s only realistic if she’s with someone on her “level”. You unfortunately see this often with actors, athlete’s, musicians. Literal stories saying ” you won’t believe how xyz’s spouse looks!”. I guarantee you if the actor playing the Bridgeton male role was heavier himself, there would be absolutely no discussion about believability.

  9. Bad Janet says:

    Have they SEEN Nicola at the BAFTAs in that hot pink dress? Hello! She could get it!

    Oh wait, some randos at the Mail (of course) said she was badly dressed then, too. I hate people. But her response then was epic.

  10. sevenblue says:

    I believe this season broke the last season’s ratings. So, obviously she is just talking sh*t. It might be she is a misogynistic ass, but I think that was a personal attack. Nicola has been wearing “ceasefire pin” while promoting the show. If you look at Zoe’s tweets, she has been vocally against that. That’s why I think, she wanted to hit her as below the belt as possible. Just a hunch.

    • Surly Gale says:

      I didn’t know ceasefire pins were a thing. So, after looking it up, I have a question. What is the watermelon reference regarding ceasefire, can some one help me? When I looked up, all I saw in relation to watermelon was references to Black people, so that was awful. Please can someone help? What does watermelon have to do w/the war on Gaza?
      I dug into my pin collection and shall wear my “Arms are for Hugging” pin till the ceasefire.

      • gah says:

        the watermelon has become a symbol of Palestine bc their flag (white green red black) was illegal to display for many years. also there’s a lot of censorship across social media wrt anything related to the genocide generally (even my posts about my friend’s podcast about her family from Iran get taken down on fb) so symboilsm is where it’s at.

      • DARK says:

        When the palestinian flag has been censored or surpressed in algorithms a watermelon has been used as a symbol because of the colors sort of being the same as the flag with red green black and white.

      • MD says:

        Gale, the watermelon has been a long symbol for Palestinian resistance against Israel’s policies. It has the Palestinian flag’s colors, and was used at a time when the Palestinian flag was banned from being publicly displayed.

      • Sparkles says:

        I believe the watermelon contains the same colors as the Palestinian flag. So the green of the skin, the white of the rind, the pink of the flesh and the black of the seeds. Those colors match with the colors in the flag.
        I so admire Nicola for speaking up about the genocide.

      • Surly Gale says:

        Thank you, fellow Celebitches. Y’all are THE BEST! I understand the symbolism now and am grateful for you input. I’ll purchase a watermelon pin, and a Palestinian flag pin to wear with my ‘Arms are for Hugging’ pin. That’ll make the message on my breast clear for all to understand. XOXO

    • OriginalMich says:

      Ah. That certainly explains some of the venom. She has also written multiple articles on the subject.

    • DARK says:

      This seems very much like client journalism to me. The uk tabloids are rife with hit pieces like this. I can’t guess who ordered it but I don’t think that it’s gonna have the effect they want.

    • Charlotte says:

      Nicola’s also spoken about her father’s service with the UN Peacekeeping forces in Jeruselem, and living there as a kid. She’s an outspoken supporter of Palestine, as are most of the Irish (Ireland, along with Norway and Spain just moved to recognize them as a nation). The “journalist” is an ardent Zionist.

    • Oh come on. says:

      I find the Colin-Pen romance way more compelling than the romance in Bridgerton Season 2. (I couldn’t get that invested in either of the romantic leads in Season 2–I found him to be a cad and her to be a cipher.)

      I didn’t know Nicola Coughlan was also outspoken about justice and safety for the Palestinians. So congrats Zoe, thanks to your screed I went from admiring Coughlan as an actor to admiring her as a person. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      Also, what a mean way to challenge someone when her real beef is politics.

      • sevenblue says:

        @Oh come on., if she criticized her politics, she wouldn’t hurt her. So, she made it as personal as possible. Classic high school meanness. You don’t like someone, so you insult them about something they are sensitive about. Nicola already talked about online trolls obsessed with her weight.

      • Oh come on. says:

        @ Sevenblue I feel bad that Nicola Coughlan has to know that thousands of randos say she’s not pretty enough. This is a mean and bullying article. Coughlan seems pretty confident, so although I’m sure it hurts, she’ll be fine, I think. But I also feel for every fat woman who has to read this nonsense, being told they’re not pretty enough to find true love, even though real life proves otherwise. Zoe seems thoroughly d*ckish.

      • sevenblue says:

        @Oh come on, I agree definitely. There are millions of women with the same body type as Nicola. Some people have already negative inner thoughts that they don’t deserve good things, so the articles like that are really demoralizing. Nicola is a gorgeous woman even with Hollywood standards. I hope she doesn’t read sh*tty articles like that. Fortunately, the media and society came so far since early 2000’s constant body shaming environment, an article like that is now shocking to us.

  11. Elle says:

    Sounds like the writer of this article is heavy (the whole takes one to know one comment) and has likely been treated unfairly or ignored etc because of her weight. And that sucks! But this is such an unnecessarily cruel article and reeks of jealousy of a fictional character played by a very successful individual, who happens to have a different body type than most actresses playing the love interest in a story line that takes place at a time when wealthy women were notably heavier than less wealthy individuals. It was a sign of prosperity and wealth. This article, however, is a sign of deep insecurity and bitterness.

    • Jenn says:

      Yeah, the author is saying she’s been shunned and marginalized, so the fictional character (and presumably the actor playing her) should be, too. It’s a performance of loathing for Coughlan mired in the author’s own self-pity (“I’m unlovable, therefore the actress is unlovable”). Really embarrassing.

  12. equality says:

    “Love and sex as well as money often come to them more easily than to the plain, old or chubby.” Does this sociologist confine her work to certain careers and areas? Plain, old, chubby, and other people fall in love, have sex, and are successful in life all over the place. The “expert” cited and the writer sound stupid. And I’d rather be plain, old or chubby than stupid and rude about someone else’s appearance.

    • Jaded says:

      IKR? She’s demeaned 3 demographic groups with one stroke of her hateful pen. Well Nicola, I’m an old and have had some great love and sex in my “ancient” years. Miserable cow…

  13. Abby says:

    I cannot believe this was published in TWENTYTWENTYFOUR. What in the early-aughts body shaming am I reading?? Unbelievable.

    Nicola is beautiful. I think she’s the better looking of the couple honestly. This is an awful article and I’m mad that a woman chose to write it, and mad that a media company chose to publish it. I hope Nicola does not see it.

    • BeyondTheFringe says:

      I agree about their hotness levels.

      My dude is definitely the one marrying up, looks-wise, in that relationship. He looks like every other marginally attractive, mediocre white man compared to the unique smokeshow Penelope/Nicola is.

    • Oh come on. says:

      Sadly I have to believe any fat woman in public life has to know people are saying this sort of thing about them. I hope Coughlan can compartmentalize or process it in a way that’s not too hurtful, and that she’s seeing all the comments about how gorgeous and talented she is. She seems pretty self-confident, so I’m hopeful that Zoe can stew in her own juices while Nicola advocates for justice and dances all the way to the bank.

  14. Frances Houseman says:

    Catherine Hakim (the academic quoted in the article) is pretty bad. I saw an interview with her ages ago and she was suggesting that sexual harassment was a part of the job. Ugh. Just ugh.

  15. ML says:

    Isn’t the readership of The Spectator conservative, Brexit-loving, Europe-bashing, elderly fox hunters? Is it surprising that someone writing for this publication might not understand that the basic premise of sexy is self confidence and personality? Did this woman A. Get chosen to write this isht because the editors felt that a woman criticizing a woman was safer than a man spewing hatred? And B. Her idea of sexy seems kind of like a trophy wife meets lady who lunches.
    Did no one pay attention to Nicola’s character eating a cupcake in front of Luke or watch her in the carriage with him?
    Zoe and her publication are seriously using a nasty stereotype to attack Nicola, and not only is their behavior wrong, so is their conclusion.

    • Creek says:

      Exactly, and Nicola has the gall to be Irish. She’s also outspoken about current affairs which would go against British conservative/brexiteers stance.

      • ML says:

        True, Creek. 👍The Irish and the Palestinians have their treatment by the Black and Tans as a historical bonding experience. I neglected the history, Irish-British relationship and the differing viewpoints of NC and The Spectator.

    • Yep! Nothing but expected trash from those types.

  16. Lulu says:

    From my point of view, I cannot take my eyes off of Nicola when she is on screen, Bridgerton or Derry Girls. I think that is what every casting person looks for, no? Someone has body shamed this writer, I suspect, and she cannot see that Nicola is truly beautiful. I’m confident more people agree with us who see her beauty and wonderful acting than agree with this writer or Nicola wouldn’t have her wonderful career.

  17. Jais says:

    Yeah, no, Nicola is gorgeous. There is something wrong with this writer as if she’s personally offended by Nicola or something. The writer should work on herself.

    • Hypocrisy says:

      Sadly the mean girls from middle school grow up and never seem to change. Penelope has been the most interesting character in the series (imo), I love her, and this storyline. Even if she chooses Colin. I dislike all the Bridgerton men in the Netflix series which surprised me because I don’t remember disliking them so much when I read the books. Nicola is the sole reason I’m watching Bridgerton

      • Oh come on. says:

        Right? All three adult Bridgerton men are played as cads to varying degrees of dislikability. I want Pen to find her happily ever after, but I can’t say any of these guys seems like that much of a catch.

  18. North of Boston says:


    This was retched bigotry. The way that writer deemed themselves the arbiter of universal attractiveness standards was SO narrow minded.

    Newsflash A-hole: people come in many varities, all shapes, sizes, colors, gender expressions and styles AND people are turned on by a variety of those things and sometimes many of them.

    Not only does this person have a view of reality and attractiveness more narrow and dried up than a Slim Jim, she’s just as salty. Nastiness and body snobbery is NOT acceptable or attractive; this writer’s disgust and dismissiveness and disdain, blasted proudly, towards any one outside her narrow views of acceptable is horrendous.

  19. Chantale says:

    Anything to get clicks. It does not matter if it is good or bad. They know this will provoke reactions and that was the intention. I wish these people h*ll on earth.

  20. Maida says:

    The arch tone of this piece is insufferable, and this kind of ragebait is so exhausting and lazy.

  21. Katie says:

    The British author has a huge problem with any Irish person or politician who has sympathy for the innocent Palestinian’s who are being bombarded by the Israeli government (Not People)
    Nicola has been wearing a ceasefire pin and talking about it in interviews when asked.
    I doubt that “woman” gives a fiddlers about Nicola’s Fabulous body and excellent acting.
    I suspect it’s more her kind heart that bothers that nasty piece of work!!!

    • Shawna says:

      Thank you for writing this! I was about to chime in. This is a politically based attempt at career homicide that shamefully uses fatphobia as a tool. Sorry, “journalist,” Nicola will be just fine.

      And she could GET IT with nearly anyone, including my straight, married-woman self.

    • BeyondTheFringe says:

      I know nothing of the author’s personal biases but it doesn’t surprise me at all if she has issues with Coughlan’s Irishness or political stances because I also thought it might be something like that due to the blatantly outrageous nature of her piece.

      I knew she was pretty outspoken in her support of Palestinians so it did cross my mind that it was more than just her appearance driving this.

      • Shawna says:

        She is, with 100% certainty, attacking Nicola for supporting Palestine. The author’s nasty attack against people who aren’t sample sizes is just the disgusting tool she’s used. The fact that the journalist assumes that using her body type will WORK as an attack is also nasty in itself.

    • North of Boston says:

      Years ago, I worked on a project that involved traveling from Boston to England, to meet up with a guy from Cork Ireland and do training sessions together. He always had his guard up when we were together off duty, like he was preparing for a slight, a diss, some mistreatment. It baffled me … until I saw how some English people treated him, weird petty things and sometimes blatant aggressions. Bigotry runs deep sometimes and some people embrace the “other”ing of other humans too easily.

      • Creek says:

        I spent 10+ yrs in England in the 89s/90s as an Irish kid and teen. The bigotry, “jokes” and digs were never ending. The number of times some mouth-breather came up to me to tell me a “Thick-Paddy-Irish-joke”. Hurrr-hurrrr. It was relentless, and it always has a mean, imperialistic edge to it.

    • Kitten says:

      Damn. Thanks for that insight. How transparently vindictive.

  22. Eurydice says:

    There’s some kind of mean girl personal jealousy thing happening here, because a discussion of “hotness” does not have to lead to an outright attack on a particular person. And I don’t know what kind of romances this woman has been reading, but the genre is chock full of stories about how the unconventional girl gets the guy. Nicola is a beautiful, talented woman – I don’t know how she became the target of Strimpel’s poison.

  23. Mrs. Smith says:

    I’ve avoided the body shaming articles about Nicola until now and I am shocked by this! THIS is what people are saying about her?? I love Bridgerton and Nicola/Penelope. I’ve really enjoyed this season since she is finally the focus! I truly hope she can ignore garbage like this and continue with her head held high. I can’t believe someone would say or print this.

  24. Digital Unicorn says:

    This is a vile article and the writer deserves all the backlash she will get. Nicola is beautiful and healthy. She seems happy in her own skin and thats all that matters.

    Body shaming is wrong – why can’t people understand that.

  25. Amy Bee says:

    It’s the Spectator so I’m not surprised that they’re bodyshaming Nicola. She’s a beautiful woman.

  26. Liverbird says:

    Well, Catherine, the audience have voted and this season has the highest ratings of all 3. Maybe you need to have a look at yourself and do some work on the self hatred you are obviously displaying. Whilst the glorious, beautiful and downright hot as f*uck Ms Coughlan scoops up all the acting awards.

    • Oh come on. says:

      Yes, and I think it has the highest ratings because Coughlan is the most compelling of the three romantic lead actresses–by far.

  27. Barrett says:

    What planet does this lady live on? She’s gorgeous. I have a chronic illness and fight for weight. I’d love her body! She looks full of vitality and yes many people find her sexy and attractive. I actually hate that word —HOT in some respects. I once had a man I dated tell me in my 20’s I was not hot or sexy. I just didn’t have it. He harped on it. He said you are just pretty. I tried to hard to become sexy by seeking out different clothes, but in the end what is really sexy/hot is being yourself and having confidence in your authenticity. I’m hopeful some men are at least less likely now to openly make comments like that. He buy the way had weight issues himself (up and down like a yo-yo) and had a strange receding hairline. I never thought to tell him his flaws b/c I’m kind. I learned a lot by letting him w in the patriarchy tell me I’m not ok within ridiculous standards for ladies. Never put up w it again.

  28. Malorie says:

    I agree with you in everything. Penelope ROCKS, and she is sooooo much better than Colin!

  29. Slippers4life says:

    Outside of body politics and fat phobia this author clearly has internalized, she is just categorically wrong.

    First, not that this really matters because being “hot” I truly think is so individual for everyone, I personally, as a bi woman, find Nicola Coughlin hot AF.

    Second, if you want to get technical, back in the 1800s, Nicola Coughlin’s body type would not only not be body shamed, but it was absolutely sought after and considered hot as hell.

    Overall, this article is disgusting and only progressing the stupidity that is diet culture, fat phobia and basing “hotness” of a woman on whatever the cis men of the day have been conditioned to believe they should or should not “gaze” upon.

    But just to “argue the opposite ” for the sake of holding what she is trying to say, she is actually just completely incorrect. Nicola Coughlin is hot AF now and Penelope would have been considered hot AF in the 1800s British aristocracy.

    Not only is this article offensive, it’s stupid and should just be shredded.

  30. aries48 says:

    Nicola in the white gown is smoking hot. In a phrase “she is brining sexy back!”

    On the other hand, why is he wearing his mother’s Chanel by TJ Max jacket???? Such a mismatch.

  31. Kitten says:

    Yeah the article is very obviously trashy and offensive but it’s also like, very very wrong??? We know that there are men who love a little cushion, gorgeous face or not. And it’s weird to pretend that personality is not a factor at all.
    Honestly, the article reads like this woman has a really low opinion of men. Maybe her husband is a superficial dbag who shames her for her baby weight. Or maybe she really is just a terrible person IDK…
    I love how even her “compliments” come across as so condescending and backwards. Yuck.

  32. Laalaa says:

    It’s especially ironic because in Bridgerton time (I don’t watch the show, but judging by the costumes) Nicola’s body was the NORM for sexy and desired.
    It’s a disgusting article, but they succeded – everybody’s clicking, that’s what matters to them.
    And I don’t think it feels nice for Nicola to see how everybody is saying “you would be shocked how many men love a thicck woman”, she doesn’t need defending at all. She is beautiful, the writer is mean. The end.

  33. RMS says:

    I do not wish to thread jack and make this about how society in general (men and women) seeks to demean, diminish and hold ALL women back by making our ‘value’ solely contingent upon our looks and upon maintaining a visual set by others (that has nothing to do with actual HEALTH). This weekend, my old college roommate, who is very skinny currently, but deeply miserable in her personal life, was making every effort to make me feel badly that I wasn’t as slim as I could be – and was suggesting all kinds of dubious remedies (bulimia in your 50s anyone?). As an orphan who is fighting cancer, and doing so with as much grace and kindness and humor and thoughtfulness as possible, I look at her with as much sadness and compassion as I can muster. How have we so lost the plot of what is truly important in life? Also, Nicola is a clever alluring SNACK of a woman and anyone that can’t see that is probably dead somewhere inside. Excuse me while I go rewatch that carriage scene ANOTHER time!

  34. Royal Donwnfall Watcher says:

    As my husband says when I gain weight “I love where you put it!” When we first met I was thin as a rail BUT I had a nice round butt (*thank you genetics!*) and my husband said it was my butt that attracted him to me the most! Not my thin-ness….not my ability to have a thigh-gap, my big butt. And I love him for it! As someone who grew up during the “Heroin Chic” era and thought that thin was everything, I am proudly curvy today and have found that lots of men like a little cushion! Body style along with aesthetics comes in and out of fashion so much I think we can all just finally put the bag of bricks down and say we are fine with who we are!

    • Oh come on. says:

      Hehe my 13yo son says these days it is not desirable for girls to be very thin, and that boys like a woman with GYATTTT. Idk whether that’s just him, but he thinks his friends share his tatstes. Like, Meghan Markle is beautiful, but not as shapely as Hannah Waddington or Jamila Jamil or Janelle James or Ice Spice.

      I mean, there should be no one body type that women are supposed to have! Different body types are beautiful in various ways. But most women have some meat on their bones, and most straight men like that, even if the culture said for decades that women should be rail-thin.

  35. OriginalLeigh says:

    1) Nicola is very pretty; 2) Men don’t always prefer stereotypical beauties (see Charles/Diana/Camilla)

  36. Square2 says:

    When this Zoe Nobody used “trash” to define Romance TV shows, I know all her opinions are invalid. This article is TRASH:

    –> Romance leads can’t be old people — What? A lot of those silver foxes are hot & sexy.

    –> Romance leads can be disabled but not visible physically deformed — What? What?

    –> Zoe Nobody blamed her baby for her current(?) body figure — You’re a sh!tty mother.

    –> The sociologist she Zoe quoted was a quack. Her ideas seemed to be described a particular “working girls” profession instead of the general human society.

    –> Spectator lives up its reputation as a trash Brit publication, like most main UK media.

    Nocola was beautiful this season. The new hairstyle & makeup made her shine. Luke N’s Colin was not a 10. I feel like he was just 6 or 7. In season one the main couple has first comfortable friends then lovers energy; season 2 Jonathan & Simone just has that hot sexy chemistry together. However for Polin, I still only feel “good friends” between them. Was it because of Luke’s acting? Or will the “lover feeling” bloom in the last 4 episodes? (Nicola has more chemistry with Claudia [Eloise] than with Luke N.)

    I’m not on X/Twitter, but I can’t help wondering do those Romance writers blast & condemn this article? Or their displeasure are only for a specific black man who set up a good social media platform?

    • Oh come on. says:

      Good point, about Nicola’s chemistry with Eloise! I haven’t read the books and can’t imagine they’ll end up together, but now that you mention it …

    • Cali says:

      This is a quote from a couple of years ago “Zayn previously said he has an interest in curvy women, telling Billboard: “I like girls that are a bit chunky in certain areas — the nice areas. I like a fuller woman.””
      So Zayn is well known for dating beautiful skinny women, he is objectively gorgeous and yet he actually likes “fuller women.” So some cute guys do prefer women like Nicola.
      And Nicola is Uber feminine and Zoe isn’t.

  37. Lau says:

    Honestly even in the books Colin is a pretty boring character so it would have taken a fantastic actor to make him compelling.
    Now about the writer of this sickening article, Zoe Strimpel. She defines herself as “historian of gender, relationships and feminism” on her instagram bio so I guess that in her eyes feminism is for everybody except for people she doesn’t consider attractive.
    Also she shouldn’t love using the word “fat” so much for somebody who is not in fact fat. And way to go blaming your own child because you consider yourself fat.

  38. Gia says:

    I agree with this comment, but not because NC isn’t beautiful (she is). There’s something off with the pairing with the actor who plays Colin. He’s a boy; she should have been paired with a man.

  39. tealily says:

    Gross! How was this published??

  40. Oh come on. says:

    Why does this author think it’s not plausible that a handsome, eligible man would fancy a goodlooking woman with plenty of meat on her bones?

    Bffr. We all know conventionally handsome men who love and marry thicc women.

    This author needs to work on her own body issues instead of body-shaming Nicola Coughlan (and every fat woman who reads her screed).

  41. Pia says:

    A million years I’ve been on this page and first time ever I’ve left a comment… reading what this cow wrote just makes me grind my freaking gears. I’m so irritated I can’t even form a thought -other than she should just stfu.

  42. Flamingo says:

    It’s always interesting to me when someone like Zoe Strimpel shows their hang ups about body predilections. It didn’t even occur to her that not all people agree with her that being thin is the only standard of beauty the world see as acceptable.

    Dear Zoe, STFU!!

  43. BeanieBean says:

    Gah! I only got through that guy’s first paragraph & had to comment! Telling a casting director their job? Any age, within reason? What, 18-24 if female, 18-84 if male? Neurodiversity in quotation marks? Perfect tens = plausible love interest??? (And when will we stop ranking people based on looks?).

    OK, read a bit more, saw this was written by a woman. Geez Louise.

  44. QuiteContrary says:

    Nicola Coughlan is objectively gorgeous. Her creamy skin is perfection. And she’s insanely talented.

    Do yourself a favor and watch this video in which she briefly does Bridgerton dialogue with a Derry Girls accent. I wanted more of it!

  45. Steph says:

    She’s a genuinely nasty person but I think this piece is more bc Nic’s continuous support of Palestine. Strimpnel is a Zionist.

  46. blue says:

    Colin is not “hot.” No flash, no dash. I’d give him a 5 or 6 at best & have trouble seeing him as catnip to so many of the female characters. I don’t consider Penelope “beautiful” but the problem with this pairing is the lack of chemistry between Colin & Pen. She’s all heaving-bosomed wishful thinking & he;’s a boring drip.

  47. K says:

    Sad, petty Bitch. This trash garbage is why thousands and thousands of girls and women are bent over toilets or eating 2 saltines a day. Nicola is out here KILLINGGG this season. She is so skilled, such a generous actress. And this is what gets published?? Opinions from a 90s casting couch?? Well dear author…enjoy your karma reward.

  48. Cee says:

    Nicola is gorgeous AND TALENTED whatever her weight and size and that’s what bothers this asshole so much – she’s an ugly C U Next Tuesday and no amount of dieting will ever change that.

  49. 809Matriarch says:

    All I have to say is Maj Axelsson. She’s the widow of Larry Hagman.

  50. Eden75 says:

    This woman claims to be a feminist…Wow.

    And for your information bi*ch, the chubby chick sure as sh*t can get the hot guy. Maybe I’ll send ya pic’s of my hot guy with his wee, big boobed, curvy chick. F you and the horse you rode in on you cow.

  51. Tashiro says:

    First of all beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Second of all f**k you bitch and your opinion. Just because you have a personal opinion doesn’t mean you have the right to express it publicly especially since it’s obvious your doing this to attack someone for no reason. Third f**k you again.

  52. Lynne H says:

    Bridgerton Season 3 has had 2.3 BILLION views – this is because Nicola Coughlin is amazing and relatable. So proud that she is getting all the kudos she deserves, including gorgeous magazine covers. To see body’s like mine on screen is so empowering, which apparently is threatening to some.

  53. Nibbi says:

    This makes me want to bloody watch this season of Bridgerton, tho I’ve never been much interested before, just to add to the numbers showing how wrong that writer is. Surely was rage-clickbait & totally works. I’m just so sick of rampant disgusting misogyny, body shaming, internalized self-loathing, all the crap.

  54. Ladiabla says:

    As someone who is currently struggling with weight, who never did prior to 40, it just seems like we’re inundated with this woman’s kind of thinking. But you normally hear it so much from men…for ex, l don’t know how this man got in my feed, but all I heard is him telling his callers that if you’re not a size 4 or 6, you’re obese and no one is going to want you. And it’s not like that’s my goal, but it’s hard to hear you don’t even get a chance. It’s like geez, they didn’t want me when I was a size 4, I may as well not exist as a size 16. Nicola is beautiful, talented, and seems like a lovely person. Loved her in Derry Girls. Why would this woman freakin bother with this shite article. I’m mean I’m tired.

  55. Ela says:

    This article is vile. We live in the real world and there’s someone for everyone out there. So this series is showing real people with all their beauty and flaws getting together.

    Can I just add that I love the actress in question and I was so happy to learn her real age for some reason. She is very talented and she deserves her success so the haters can pound sand.

    Also I remember and article about the stretch marks another actress had on her boobs and she was not heavy. Someone wanted to start a hate campaign but it didn’t stick. It seems some people love to hate for no reason.

  56. L4Frimaire says:

    This really is disgusting and just hating to be a hater. Coughlin /Penelope is beautiful, and very attractive. And yes she has curves in all the right places. Also historically in an age of malnourishment, TB, and cholera, a healthy plump woman was a desirable beauty. Also agree Penelope is far too good and sexy for Colin and he needs to up his game.

  57. there's dat says:

    This whole conversation is so bizarre to me because Nicola is, like, obviously beautiful? She has lovely features, clear and smooth skin, and nice curves. If anything, and forgive me for being a wee problematic, she’s got saddled with the least attractive male lead so far. It’s not fair. A beautiful woman like her deserved a better-looking lad. He’s the reason why I’m so meh on this season.

  58. The other M, Mr Bond says:

    That whole piece is the author and her toxic personality searching for a reason other than said personality for why men find her appalling and a self-actualizing cockblock.

    Also: that woman will instigate an ED in her child, mark my words.

  59. vpd4 says:

    I think Penelope’s and Colin’s story line is very sexy. So, this lady has no freakin’ idea of what she’s talking about. And people are right; Penelope is better looking than Colin.

  60. Belindaya says:

    Riiiiight lady !! (rolling my eyes so hard, it hurts). And yet, the internet is filled with speculations about Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton dating in real life …
    So I guess, “nobody” can imagine the two of them being attracted to one another, because they have no “chemistry” at all. (Rolling my eyes once again)
    Pfff , this woman is vile .
    Who made her a “hotness “specialist? Does she belong in the same club as the producer who criticized Sydney Sweeney ?