Jennifer Coolidge to Washington University grads: “Accept who you are”

The “White Lotus” actor told students to “respect the need to be something very odd, not what is expected.”

Pop Culture & Art May 15, 2024
Courtesy: Joe Angeles/Washington University

Jennifer Coolidge, known for her roles in “Legally Blonde” and “American Pie,” delivered a commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis, reported by The Source.

“I stand before you, a weird person,” Coolidge began. “Respect the need to be something very odd, not what is expected. Get to know yourself. 

“Accept who you are, and love that person because this is the moment. You already are everything you need to be.”

Coolidge spoke openly about her own struggles with self-doubt, revealing that her parents worried about her unconventional path. 

“‘Just be normal, Jennifer.’ I heard that so many times… Not being normal, that felt painful. And hearing about it in a Boston accent somehow made it worse,” the actor joked.

A rejection from “Saturday Night Live” ultimately became a turning point, leading her to accept herself and land iconic roles.

“Somehow being rejected by 'Saturday Night Live' eliminated my desperation,” Coolidge said. “And that's when things really started to happen. It just doesn't work when you're trying to force a dream.”

The ceremony also addressed current events, with both Coolidge and WashU officials acknowledging the importance of activism.

“When I think about your generation and how passionate and vocal you are, it makes me so happy because this is progress," Coolidge said. "Seriously, we need you. We need your strength.”

“As you know, protests on campus and across the world, like some you’ve had here, illustrate the need for the voices of brilliant, uniquely nuanced and qualified graduates, like you,” she concluded.


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