Woman’s Day (Australia)


From Hollywood’s underdog to much-loved It girl


After years of playing the kooky “best friend” roles, Jennifer Coolidge has finally become the leading woman she was always destined to be. Now, the Golden Globe winner tells Woman’s Day what it’s been like to “break out” at the ripe old age of 61, why she refuses to conform to Hollywood norms and why you should never give up on your dreams.

You’ve won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and now a Critics Choice Award for your amazing portrayal of Tanya in The White Lotus. How different do you feel because of all the success and recognitio­n you’re enjoying right now?

I feel the same. I mean, it didn’t make me lose any weight or anything [laughs]. I’m still the same me and I wake up with the same problems every day. I really can’t complain. It’s been a lucky couple of years. Am I surprised that all this has come now? Yes I am, but I couldn’t be more grateful to (The White Lotus creator) Mike White, HBO and everyone who has helped make it happen.

People are calling you the Queen of Awards Season. How do you react to that?

I don’t know about that. I’m just shocked to even be at any awards ceremony. Usually I’m at home watching this stuff on TV so to be here and to be recognised at this stage of my career in such an incredible way is just amazing.

What did you love most about The White Lotus’ Tanya as a character?

I just relate to her in so many ways. Right from the start, I could relate to how she hadn’t really resolved the death of her mother. I was 31 years old or something when my mother died and it was a devastatin­g thing. I didn’t really get to have my moments with her to really say everything

I wanted to because it happened so fast. She had this terrible cancer and she was given a month to live. I think if you haven’t had something like that resolved, you still think about it every day. That part of Tanya is easy to relate to because I think I’m still incredibly grief-stricken. That helps with the acting, as does Mike. He was my boyfriend in a movie a long time ago, and he knows me pretty well. He knows what makes me sad. He knows all the things that bother me. I think he just put them all in the script!

Did you have any concerns about taking on the role at first?

Sure I did. What happened was that Mike phoned me and was like, “You remember that show I told you about the rich people on vacation? Well, HBO is giving it the green light. We’re going to have to fly you out here in two weeks.” I had a complete anxiety attack because I didn’t feel like I was ready. Also, I had been pounding these vegan pizzas and ice-cream sandwiches for months. Luckily a friend of mine really talked to me and I did it.

Why do you think The White Lotus has become so popular?

I have never been involved with anything like it before but I know it’s really unusual. I remember when season one was on, I was down in New Orleans where they had these White Lotus nights where everyone would dress up in costumes and sometimes I got invited. I cannot tell you how cool that was. I’ve never been on a show where people are in the costumes as the show is airing.

Which one of the many characters you have played over the years would you like to see check into The White Lotus?

I think Stifler’s mum from American Pie would probably have the most fun. She was very confident sexually, and I think she’d really like all the Italians [laughs].

We’re also about to see you playing Jennifer Lopez’s future mother-in-law. What can you tell us about that?

Yeah, Shotgun Wedding. It’s such a fun movie and I’m really excited for everyone to see it. We shot it in the Dominican Republic, which is just so beautiful. And then of course it has Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel, who plays my son. We also had Lenny Kravitz and so many others as part of such an amazing cast. It was a dream come true and we had a lot of fun making it.

How was working with J.LO?

She’s just so incredibly talented and, yes, she actually does look that good in real life! She never has an off day.

So does this mean this is definitely the end for you as Tanya?

I guess so but you never know. If anyone can find a way to bring Tanya back, it’s Mike! SHOTGUN WEDDING

Out Friday on Amazon Prime

‘It’s amazing to be recognised at this stage of my career’

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 ?? ?? Jennifer will next appear in rom-com Shotgun Wedding.
Jennifer will next appear in rom-com Shotgun Wedding.
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