Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan says season 3 costumes felt like ‘they were finally going to let me shine’

Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan has recalled her first costume fitting for the third season of the hit Netflix romance series.

Coughlan, whose character Penelope Featherington is the lead of the new season, expressed her feelings of gratitude in a new interview.

“At the first fitting for season three, I got teary-eyed,” Coughlan told The New York Times. “It felt like a ‘Pretty Woman’ moment. They were finally going to let me shine.”

No longer will the Irish actor be donning frumpy, brightly coloured dresses for which her character was known in the first two seasons. Instead, she’ll be dressed in elegant, more tasteful gowns in season three, which will begin streaming on 16 May.

As she recently explained in a previous interview: “For the first two seasons, the objective, in the nicest way, was not meant to make me look nice. A lot of the Featherington aesthetic was a ‘more is more’ approach.”

Last month, Coughlan, 37, revealed her “disbelief” at being “the leading lady in a romance show”.

“And it’s not because I find myself hideous, as some people have assumed when I say that,” the Derry Girls alum said. “Pen was a supporting character, the oddball in the corner, but this time she’s very much centre stage.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in season 3 of ‘Bridgerton’ (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in season 3 of ‘Bridgerton’ (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

“The only issue with this is that ‘oddball in the corner’ is actually a niche I do very well. I’m comfortable there! Strange girl no one pays attention to? Where do I sign up?” she added.

Season three of Bridgerton will focus on Penelope Featherington (Coughlan), who’s “finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) after hearing his disparaging words about her last season”, reads an official logline.

“She has, however, decided it’s time to take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters. But lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly.”

Speaking about her “rare” relationship with co-star Newton, Coughlan said their special bond stems from their “shared” exposure to Bridgerton stardom.

“It’s a very rare experience,” she said. “I think we’re aware of how unique this is.”

Based on Julia Quinn’s best-selling book series, Bridgerton is produced by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes’s company Shondaland. After its 2020 premiere, the series proved to be one of the streaming giant’s most popular originals.

Bridgerton season three will be released in two parts. The first four episodes will drop on Netflix on 16 May at 3am EDT, followed by the final four episodes on 13 June at 3am EDT.