Jennifer Coolidge is Harvard’s 2023 Woman of the Year

Jennifer Coolidge is Harvard’s 2023 Woman of the Year
Jennifer Coolidge at the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Photo: Christopher Polk/NBC

Gay icon Jennifer Coolidge has scored a slew of honors for her portrayal of clueless one-percenter Tanya McQuoid-Hunt on HBO’s The White Lotus. The latest: Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman of the Year award.

The award, bestowed by the oldest theatrical organization in the U.S., honors “performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.” Coolidge, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, joins the ranks of such A-listers as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and Meg Ryan who have all received the award in past years.

“We are so excited to welcome Jennifer Coolidge back to her hometown and to Harvard, the iconic setting of Legally Blonde,” Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Man and Woman of the Year coordinator Maya Dubin said in a statement. “Her glittering personality and comedic presence are so Pudding. We know she’ll fit right into the Pudding’s musical spectacular, though she’ll still have to earn her Pudding Pot onstage.”

The Woman of the Year festivities include a parade through Harvard Square scheduled for February 4, in which Coolidge will be accompanied by Hasty Pudding performers decked out in colorful drag, followed by an onstage roast. Honorees receive the prestigious gold pudding pot.

So far this year, Coolidge has already received a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award for her role in the second season of queer creator Mike White’s acclaimed series, on top of the Primetime Emmy she won last year for the first season. She’s also up for a Screen Actors Guild Award and has already cemented her place in LGBTQ+ meme history with her eminently quotable performance.

“It is an absolute dream for us to honor Jennifer Coolidge as our Woman of the Year on the heels of her recent accolades for ‘The White Lotus,’” Hasty Pudding producer Sarah Mann added. “We know our Pudding Pot will look phenomenal alongside her new Golden Globe, and [referencing The White Lotus] we swear we won’t whisk her away to a palazzo in Palermo!”

Most recently, Coolidge delighted fans with her first-ever TikTok post, in which she recited the lyrics to Jennifer Lopez’s 2002 hit “Jenny from the Block” as the singer looked on. If there’s an award for Best TikTok Debut, the post definitely deserves that as well.

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