Harriet Cains: Phillipa Featherington Is A Loveable Dumbass

By Olivia Emily

2 weeks ago

We sat down with the Bridgerton star to talk all things season three

Bridgerton season 3 is finally here, and it’s all about the Featherington family. Penelope sits at the fore of the trio of red-head sisters – but don’t lose track of Phillipa, who has more time in the spotlight this season. We sat down with Harriet Cains, who plays Phillipa Featherington, to talk all about bringing the ‘lovable dumbass’ to life.

Interview: Harriet Cains

Harriet Cains

© Emilia Staugaard

Hi Harriet, how’s life going at the moment?

No complaints from me!

You are about to return as Phillipa Featherington in Bridgerton season three – what can viewers expect from this season?

I think viewers can expect a really sexy season this time round. A lot of incredible costume and design in every department as well as a juicy story.

How would you describe Phillipa?

A lovable dumbass. She’s not book smart but I feel like she’s emotionally smart and that’s something she’s starting to embrace as the season progresses. She’s also funny! There’s a theory that she’s a bit of a Paris Hilton in that she has just been playing dumb all this time.

What is it like playing her?

So much fun. I absolutely adore her, she doesn’t take life too seriously and she always lightens the mood. It’s so interesting to play someone who doesn’t think before she speaks. Usually there’s a subtext to play with but not with Philly.

How do you get into character?

It’s a bit of a switch that can be flicked on at this point. The wig and the costume usually wakes her up. And a bit of Britney – she always helps.

What is the cast dynamic? Who is your favourite person to work with?

It’s a playground. I feel like I’m about to go into year 10 at school. Everyone’s very playful and the vibe is just so fun. Which is a blessing considering how much time we all have to spend together. I love working with Polly Walker and Lorraine Ashbourne. I learn so much from them.

What has it been like being part of such a global success?

It’s been life-changing but paradoxically nothing has changed at all! I still go about my life exactly as I did before, but just a little less worried about how I will pay my bills.

James Phoon as Harry Dankworth, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington, Lorn Macdonald as Albion Finch, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton

(L-R) James Phoon as Harry Dankworth, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington, Lorn Macdonald as Albion Finch, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

What has been another project you’ve worked on that has really stood out to you experience wise?

It would have to be playing Jem Walker in In the Flesh. I didn’t know how lucky I was at the time but those characters don’t come around often.

Any roles in the pipeline that you’re excited about? (If you’re allowed to tell us!)

If I could answer this with an emoji it would be the coy moon face.

Who has been your favourite actor to work with in the past?

I loved working with Christopher Eccleston on Safe House.

Which co-star did you learn the most from?

Polly Walker. She’s a wonderful actor and I like the way she conducts herself professionally. She don’t take no shit, but she’s not a dick about it and it’s inspiring to me.

What’s your dream role?

I have a strong desire to play a 70s detective. Like a Charlie’s Angels situation. And I can’t believe I haven’t played a witch by now because I am one.

What’s a genre you’d like to do more of?

I’d like to do some kind of psychedelic drama that’s a little bit offbeat.

Do you get to spend much time at home?

I guess I do because I love being alone and charging my social battery, but there’s so much to do and see that I can forget this sometimes.

Do you live in the town or the country? Which do you prefer?

I was raised in rural Nottingham and it was a bit slow for my liking so I guess that’s why I live in London now. I’d have to say city but I love to escape too.

What’s your interior design style?

I like co-ordination and I like to display things that I collect like my old games consoles from being a kid. I like a 70s vibe and it’s a dream to have a sunken living room situation.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A pirate. Sounded like a great life to me but I get really travel sick so I think that would have held me back.

If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?

I would tell her to keep on writing. And don’t mix your drinks.

How can we all live a little bit better?

I think a lot of people don’t breathe properly! Get some breath work in ya life.

Anything fun in the pipeline – professionally or personally?

Personally, a summer of festivals and playing Zelda.

Harriet Cains

© Emilia Staugaard

Harriet Cains Recommends…

I’m currently watching… Fallout

What I’m reading… Boy Parts by Eliza Clark

The last thing I watched (and loved) was… Femme

What I’m most looking forward to seeing… Severence season 2

Favourite film of all time… Death Becomes Her

Favourite song of all time… ‘Burning Down the House’ by Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense version)

Band/singer I always have on repeat… Doja Cat

My ultimate cultural recommendation… Russian Doll

Cultural guilty pleasure… Vanderpump Rules


Harriet Cains stars as Phillipa Featherington in Bridgerton.

Bridgerton Season 3 will be split into two 4-episode parts, with Part 1 premiering on May 16, 2024, followed by Part 2 on June 13, 2024. Stream every episode on Netflix. netflix.com