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Jennifer Coolidge, who stars in the new HBO series, The White Lotus, believes that Ariana Grande is the reason for her latest acting role. The 59-year-old actor traditionally plays comedic roles such as Stifler’s mom in American Pie and Paulette in Legally Blonde. The Two Broke Girls alum credits the 28-year-old singer for helping her get “back in the game” with a unique role.

Jennifer Coolidge posing for photographers for The White Lotus
Jennifer Coolidge | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Ariana Grande asked Jennifer Coolidge to perform a cameo in ‘Thank U, Next

The game-changing phone call for Jennifer Coolidge was when Ariana Grande called her in 2018. The pop and R&B star wanted the former Legally Blonde actor to reprise her role as a manicurist and scene-stealer Paulette. Grande’s plans for the music video “Thank U, Next” were massive. She incorporated references to four of the most popular teen movies of the 2000s. Grande portrayed roles in each movie: Mean GirlsBring It OnLegally Blonde, and 13 Going on 30.

The lyrics of “Thank U, Next” acknowledge four of the singer’s past relationships — Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson, and Mac Miller. In Coolidge’s scene, she talks with Grande (who portrays Elle Woods from Legally Blonde) about a guy with a “really big front tooth.” Then the two actors practice the “bend and snap,” and Coolidge ends up dancing with the UPS delivery man.

Jennifer Coolidge credits Ariana Grande for putting her “back in the game”

Coolidge didn’t realize the phone call from Grande was a career-altering moment until much later. According to Billboard, when the “Thank U, Next” music video premiered on YouTube, it broke the record for the most-watched premiere. The outlet reported that 829,000 viewers watched the live stream of the video, which had no prior announcements or promotions. In an interview with Marie Claire about The White Lotus, Coolidge thanked Grande for including her in the music video.

“I do also have Ariana Grande to thank,” Coolidge explained to the outlet. “I got this phone call if I would do her video for “Thank U, Next”—that somehow put me back in the game. [At that time] it seemed like there were not a lot of interesting movie roles coming my way, and when that happened, and all of a sudden these cool things [came along].”

Tanya McQuoid in ‘The White Lotus’ is Jennifer Coolidge’s favorite role to date

Although Coolidge’s most iconic roles were in Legally Blonde and American Pie, they weren’t her favorite. In the same interview, the actor revealed why she loved playing Tanya in The White Lotus.


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The White Lotus ’cause it’s something so different,” Coolidge responded when asked about her favorite role. “[And] Promising Young Woman, it made this shift happen [in my career].”

That’s when Coolidge went on to thank Grande for helping her secure the role in The White Lotus