Why Jennifer Coolidge Nearly Turned Down Her White Lotus Role

Jennifer Coolidge revealed she almost didn't take the role of grieving socialite Tanya McQuoid in HBO's The White Lotus for one particular reason.

By Charlotte Walsh Sep 01, 2022 10:39 PMTags
Watch: Aubrey Plaza Says White Lotus Season 2 Will Be "Very Different"

Jennifer Coolidge nearly didn't make her flight to Hawaii.

The actress recently revealed that she nearly didn't take her now-iconic role as the grieving socialite Tanya McQuoid in HBO's The White Lotus. Coolidge, who nabbed an Emmy nomination for the role, said she almost missed out because she was insecure about her pandemic weight gain.

"It was COVID, [I was] locked up with this very nice girl that I knew in New Orleans," Coolidge told People in an interview published Sept. 1. "It was just very lonely times...and so she and I got obsessed with these vegan pizzas and we were eating a lot of them each day."

"The number kept increasing," she continued. "You can sort of numb out any worry you have in the world if you just eat another pizza."

Coolidge is nothing if not relatable.

So, when White Lotus creator Mike White reached out to her, Coolidge initially turned down the role because she wasn't, as she put it, in "fighting shape"—even asking White if they could move shooting (they didn't).

The White Lotus: Season 2 Details

But she said her perspective changed when a friend gave her some tough love. (And thank goodness for it.)

"'You are out of your mind,'" Coolidge recalled her friend saying. "'I don't even think you know what this is. This is self-sabotage. I've been your friend all these years, this is incredible opportunity for you. Are you really going to f--k this up? Are you really going to f--k this up, Jennifer? This is the worst thing you could do to yourself. Just go, just f--king go do it. Are you ever going to be in shape?'"

Mario Perez/HBO

Coolidge, who is the only season one series regular returning for The White Lotus' next chapter, also gave fans a sneak preview of season two, which stars an ensemble cast of Aubrey PlazaTheo JamesMeghann Fahy and more. 

"Round two, it's mesmerizing," she said. "I love the White Lotus group from the first season and they will be friends—hopefully they'll be my friends for the rest of life. And White Lotus two has a very cool group too, and I witnessed some incredible acting performances. So it's going to be just as riveting, and really interesting because the backdrop is Sicily. I think people are going to really like it."

Season two of The White Lotus comes to HBO and HBO Max in October.

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