'White Lotus' star Jennifer Coolidge reveals ‘fatal flaw’ from her past

'The White Lotus' star Jennifer Coolidge became a 'sex icon' after playing Stifler's mom in 'American Pie'

Jennifer Coolidge is opening up about her past mistakes.

During a conversation with Jeremy Allen White, as part of Variety's Actors on Actors series, Coolidge discussed how she regrets not capitalizing on a moment she had early in her career.

"Now that I’m old enough to really look back at my life and certainly my mistakes, I see a lot of those. But I never had any strategy. I just went job to job. I have to say I made the terrible mistake of not riding the wave that I had early on," she explained. "It was sort of in the ’90s when I had ‘Legally Blonde,’ ‘Best in Show’ and ‘American Pie.’ And then a few years later, there was ‘Cinderella Story’ and stuff like that. But there was a moment… looking back there was this wave that I really could've ridden, but I don't know, I got really distracted."

The "White Lotus" actress further explained she didn't have anyone in her life giving her advice on how to navigate her career and show her how to take charge. 

"I didn't realize I was behind the wheel and I could have manipulated it better to have a better outcome," she shared.

Jennifer Coolidge and Eddie Kaye Thomas in a scene from "American Pie."

Coolidge regrets not taking advantage of the momentum she had in the 90s and 2000s, starring in movies like "American Pie" and "Legally Blonde." (Photo By Getty Images)


Looking back, Coolidge remembers thinking, "I had my whole life" to pursue an acting career, admitting she "wasn't paying attention" to the roles she could have been taking. She now says, "That was a fatal flaw of mine, because it took so long to get anything going later," and when she looks at her younger self, she finds herself asking, "What was I thinking?" 

"My theater friends that started doing shows early on maybe had a better idea of how the process worked and how you could go from show to show, and your parts could improve," she explained. "I have regrets about not doing that.

Coolidge has previously spoken out about how she felt her career was getting stagnant and there were a lack of roles coming in for her, and she credits Ariana Grande for jump-starting her career by casting her in the music video for the 2018 hit "Thank U, Next."

She told Grande during Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year issue, "I was kind of flatlining, and you got things going for me." She then thanked Grande for the role she played in helping her in her career. 

Jennifer Coolidge at the "Think Like a Boss" premiere in 2020

Coolidge credits Ariana Grande for reviving her career, saying appearing in the music video for "Thank U, Next," made her trendy again. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)

"Yes, I got to do ‘White Lotus,’ but I think it really started with you asking me to be in the 'Thank U, Next' video," she told Grande. "I mean, from there I got ‘Promising Young Woman,’ and this whole thing. You were sort of the instigator. I really believe that. I think if you hadn't put me in 'Thank U, Next,' and done that imitation, I don't think I would be here where I am."


Most recently, the actress captured everyone's hearts when she played Tanya McQuoid-Hunt in the first two seasons of "The White Lotus." The character was killed off at the end of the second season after she found herself isolated on a boat with a bunch of men who were trying to kill her.

Jennifer Coolidge at the 29th Annual SAG Awards

Coolidge won a SAG Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award for her performance as Tanya in the second season of "The White Lotus." (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Coolidge won a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Tanya in the first and second season. She was the only cast member from the first season to return to the show full time for its second season.

Many fans were upset to learn that the death, which was teased in the first episode of the second season, turned out to be Tanya; however, Coolidge seems to have found peace in the storyline.

Jennifer Coolidge at the season 2 premiere of "The White Lotus"

Fans were upset to learn Tanya was the character who would die at the end of the season, however Coolidge seems to have come to terms with it. (Photo by JC Olivera/FilmMagic)

"[Creator] Mike [White] was looking for a big Italian opera ending, and it was big and dramatic, so he wanted me to die for many reasons," Coolidge said. "But I also think Tanya’s a lot. Maybe people would get sick of her on another season. Maybe people would be like, ‘Oh, my God. Get rid of Tanya!’"

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