Big breaks for plus-sized actresses Xixi Lim, Jessica Gunning and Nicola Coughlan

(Clockwise from left) Local comedienne-host-actress Xixi Lim, English comedienne-actress Jessica Gunning and Irish actress Nicola Coughlan. PHOTOS: ST SHINTARO TAY, NETFLIX

SINGAPORE – When local comedienne-host-actress Xixi Lim won her first Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste prize at the Star Awards in April, it came as a surprise. After all, she is not a Mediacorp artiste and had never led a series produced by the broadcaster.

But that will soon change with the upcoming drama The Blockbusters, where Lim will take on her first lead role – becoming one of the rare plus-sized actresses to be front and centre in a Singapore production.

The Straits Times looks at the body-diverse leading ladies who are scoring their big breaks on the small screen here and abroad.


Host-actress Xixi Lim scores first lead role in new series The Blockbusters

Singaporean comedienne, host and actress Xixi Lim on the set of The Blockbusters. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

These days, Xixi Lim’s days are packed to the brim. The 36-year-old Singaporean comedienne, host and actress is often on set for close to 12 hours, before having a quick dinner and then heading off to dance practice. 

She is filming the Mediacorp series The Blockbusters, about the rise of a plus-sized girl group and the ups and downs the four members of the dance act face.

In the show, slated to premiere in November, Lim plays Bree, alongside local actresses Kayly Loh and Tay Ying, as well as Malaysian Meeki Ng. 

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Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning predicted to be Emmy front runner

In Baby Reindeer, English actress Jessica Gunning plays a mentally troubled woman. PHOTO: NETFLIX

Ask someone what was the last thing he or she watched on Netflix, and there is a good chance it will be Baby Reindeer.

The streamer’s sleeper hit is quickly becoming one of its biggest, with close to 60 million views in its first month on the platform. 

The seven-part drama miniseries, which premiered on April 11, is based on true events experienced by its male lead, creator and writer Richard Gadd. The Scottish comedian-actor plays wannabe stand-up comic Donny, a fictionalised version of himself, who gets stalked aggressively and harassed relentlessly by a mentally troubled woman after an innocuous encounter in a pub.

And while Gadd is no doubt the star of Baby Reindeer, Jessica Gunning anchors it with her unsettling yet humane portrayal of Martha, who is based on Gadd’s real-life stalker.

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Actress Nicola Coughlan steps into spotlight as Bridgerton’s new romantic lead

Irish actress Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in the third season of the lavish period romance Bridgerton. PHOTO: NETFLIX

When the period romance series Bridgerton debuted on Netflix in 2020, fans were instantly captivated by its luscious costumes and grand, often risque, love stories.

Based on American author Julia Quinn’s series of Bridgerton novels following the romantic lives of the eight siblings from the noble Bridgerton family, each season traces the story of one couple.

In its third season, which will be released on Netflix in two parts on May 16 and June 13, it is finally Irish actress Nicola Coughlan’s time to shine.

The 37-year-old star, who broke out in the Irish teen comedy series Derry Girls (2018 to 2022) as the panicky lesbian schoolgirl Clare, stole scenes as a supporting player in the first two seasons of Bridgerton as insecure wallflower Penelope Featherington, who hides her identity as Lady Whistledown – the anonymous gossip scribe of the Regency-era London society scene. 

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