Nicola Coughlan is Talk of the ’Ton

Session stylist Halley Brisker lifts the lid on working with the Bridgerton star as its third series hits Netflix.


Custom lace front wig for the Met Gala 2022, with colour by Jason Hogan

Dearest readers… Whether you are a Bridgerton fanatic, a member of the Polin fandom or have never watched an episode at all, you’ve most probably come across Nicola Coughlan at some point in the past few years. From Derry Girls to Big Mood, she has a knack of creating ‘wow’ moments that love to go viral. That’s in part due to her role as Penelope Featheringtonin the Netflix hit Bridgerton, and also because she enjoys an exploratory sense of style that captures attention online and on social media.

One of the more misunderstood parts of my job is the ‘style journey’ as I like to call it, which myself and other glam team members craft through the unique partnership we create with our clients. Almost everybody has a personal sense of style but when one also has a public-facing life, there often isn’t time to take care of hair, make-up and wardrobe choices when carrying out duties that come with the role. That’s where professionals come in…

Going red for the Barbie premiere in London

Met Gala 2022

However, where it gets particularly exciting is when my clients want to go a step beyond the expected and craft a style iconography. I’ve worked with a breadth of talent over the years; many like to execute minimal changes to their personal style and have us perform only that, as best we know how for them. Then others want to push the boundaries of style, which for any creative is a form of pure joy. Nicola has always been someone with a love of style and the courage to be dynamic. We met – along with make-up artist Neil Young, stylist Aimee Croysdill and nail technician Michelle Class – on a photoshoot for Refinery29 in 2020. Nicola was already established thanks to her role in the hit show Derry Girls, and was due to appear in the debut season of Bridgerton. We had no idea how big that show would become nor the importance of the role of Penelope Featherington within the Bridgerton universe!






“Nicola has always been someone with a love of style and the courage to be dynamic”

Halley Brisker

Halley Brisker

It often takes time to discover what our clients’ goals are when working with glam teams. In the nearly four years we’ve worked together as a team of creatives alongside Nicola, we’ve created looks that have incorporated extensive product knowledge – from the oily, sleek locks for the SAG Awards to textured, A-line bobs at The Baftas. Hair piece sourcing for faux bangs at front row shows for Miu Miu in Paris and braided hair bows for the Stylist magazine awards in London. We’ve experimented with colour too; Nicola went red for the Barbie premiere in London and with the custom-coloured lace front wig I created for Nicola at the 2022 Met Gala, Jason Hogan at Josh Wood Atelier painstakingly coloured it to complement a bespoke Richard Quinn dress.


Halley and the glam team at work behind the scenes

Stylist Magazine Awards, 2022

Throughout this incredible style journey we’ve gone on together, the thread that has been a relative constant has been Bridgerton, which has just launched its third season. That instalment sees Nicola’s character take centre stage in the plot, to become…  nope, I’m not giving anything away!

It’s no coincidence that as looks go, the hair finish in New York was one of our most straightforward; sometimes we ‘grow as we go’. Of course, I have no idea what the future looks like for Bridgerton or Penelope, but to see hundreds of fans turn out for Nicola was a special moment and a perfect opportunity to create simple, elegant looks for this milestone moment.