Jennifer Coolidge on feeling "very insecure" on set and how White Lotus has changed that

In a new interview, the hilarious Jennifer Coolidge also reveals the surprise benefit of playing Stifler's mom on American Pie

Jennifer Coolidge
(Image credit: RB/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor)

Even celebrities get insecure under the spotlight, just ask iconic actor Jennifer Coolidge about that.

In a new all-encompassing interview with Variety (opens in new tab) pegged to the October 15 release of The White Lotus season 2, the 60-year-old star got candid about her career, specifically dissecting the way past roles on movies like Legally Blonde and American Pie has led to feelings of insecurities that she was only able to overcome on the set of The White Lotus on HBO Max.

"The problem I have sometimes is that I don't get directed," she said to the outlet. "You'll do a whole show and the director doesn't give you notes. I feel like it's a guessing game. I get very insecure as I go."

That, however, has not been the case when analyzing her experience with The White Lotus creator Mike White, who, according to Variety, gives Jennifer "gentle but clear notes about where to place emphasis [and] new things to try."

Jennifer has come a long way: despite a vast number of acting roles under her belt, the star revealed that, until she was offered a part on The White Lotus that was written specifically for her, Hollywood never seemed to respect her very clear wide-ranging talents.

The White Lotus

(Image credit: Sky Atlantic)

To illustrate her point, Jennifer recounted a situation from back in 2011, when her agent called her to tell her that a London theater was working on a musical production of Legally Blonde, based on the eponymous 2001 movie that Jennifer iconically starred in as manicurist Paulette. 

Her representative asked Jennifer if she’d be willing to audition for the theater part. "I said to my agent, 'What do you mean, audition? It’s not a straight offer?," she recounted to Variety. "My agent said, 'I think they just want to see if you can sing and dance.' Look, if I got up onstage and farted, and that’s all I did, it would still be the lady from the movie!"

Spoiler alert: that is no longer Jennifer's agent.

Things have clearly changed as, among other accolades, Jennifer has just received her very first Emmy nomination in the best supporting actress in a limited or anthology series category.

Alas, although plagued by ups and downs, Jennifer’s career is an illustrious one peppered by a number of roles, like that of Paulette in Legally Blonde, that her fans still talk about. Perhaps the most recognizable of them all belongs to the beloved American Pie franchise, in which Jennifer starred as Stiffler’s mom.

See more

Although perhaps not as high-brow a part as her current work on The White Lotus, Jennifer was honest about one advantage that playing Stiffler’s mom afforded her: suddenly becoming the object of fantasy of men all around the world.

"I got a lot of play at being a MILF and I got a lot of sexual action from 'American Pie,'" Jennifer said in a video accompanying her Variety interview. "There were so many benefits to doing that movie. I mean, there would be like 200 people that I would never have slept with."

As usual given her obvious comedic flair both on and off the screen, Jennifer surprises and delights us in equal measure. Never change! 

Anna Rahmanan
Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.