Jennifer Coolidge Says Ariana Grande’s Impression of Her Pulled Career Out of “Dead Zone”

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Jennifer Coolidge may have made an appearance in Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video in 2018, but now a few years later the actress is expressing her thanks to the singer for helping jumpstart different opportunities.

While making a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, the late-night host showed Coolidge the impressions that Grande and Chloe Fineman did while on his show. Coolidge shared that after seeing Grande’s impression, it marked the beginning of “a lot of cool things” for her career.

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“You should know that it was sort of the beginning of a lot of cool things that happened for me because — I don’t know — I was going through a dead zone, not much was going on,” she told the late-night host. “And then Ariana did this imitation on your show, and you encouraged her, and then this ball got rolling.”

After watching Grande’s impression of her, Coolidge recalls her friend encouraging her to reach out to the singer. She explained, “My friend who is like her age, Theresa, she was like, ‘You know, you should DM Ariana and just say I thought it was such a good imitation,’ and I was like, ‘No, she’s got like 260 million followers, those are robots! The robots answer the DMs, and we will never ever get to her.’ ”

She continued, “I did it anyway, and this response came back, and the next thing you know, I was going to her house, getting fit for a wardrobe fitting for ‘Thank U, Next.’ That was all because of Jimmy Fallon!”

In Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video, the singer paid homage to iconic teen films such as Mean Girls, Bring It On, Legally Blonde and 13 Going on 30.

During one part of the video, Grande plays Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods and is shown having a discussion with Coolidge, who reprises her role as Paulette, in a hair salon sequence. Grande and Coolidge are also shown performing the film’s iconic “Bend and Snap” flirting method among the salon visitors.

The actress has since had a starring role in the first season of HBO’s The White Lotus where she portrays a woman who vacations at a luxury resort while still grieving the loss of her mother. Though the actress has received praise for her performance, she admitted to Fallon that she didn’t originally want to take the role.

“I know a lot of people were on their Peloton’s when COVID began and everything. I don’t know that was not my journey,” she said before adding that while in quarantine she and her friend “ate maybe six pizzas a day” at the time. She said she would also try to find excuses for not taking the role but White Lotus creator Mike White “caught on.”

“He sent this text… ‘Are you afraid?’ I was like ‘oh Jesus, he’s on to me,’ ” she said. After getting encouragement from her friend to take the role, Coolidge eventually changed her mind. “When you’re actors, this big moment can happen sometimes… and you’ll just blow it somehow,” she added of why she was hesitant.

Despite rumors that she’d join the next season of The White Lotus or Legally Blonde 3, Coolidge said, “I don’t know!”

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