Last week, we brought you ten interesting facts about Hayley Atwell, who plays Margaret Schlegel in Masterpiece’s impressive adaptation of Howards End. So (unlike the Wilcox family!) we knew that we also had to take a look at the other Schlegel sister, Helen. Helen Schlegel is played by Philippa Coulthard, an actress who is new to the British Drama scene — but one who’s already grown her resume in Australia, Hollywood, and New York.

The definition of a free spirit, Coulthard is an intelligent world-traveler who counters her innate tendency to overthink with a drive to try anything new. Learn more about her below:

Coulthard is originally from Australia.
Though she showed up on our screens with an English accent for Howards End, Coulthard is originally from the land down under — Brisbane, to be exact. She often returns to visit family.

But Coulthard is an international talent...
Besides acting in her home country of Australia (see her in Lightning Point), she’s also appeared in Hollywood fodder, like Annabelle: Creation, as well as British-fare like Howards End.

...which may come from her impetuosity.
Coulthard often feels she overthinks things, so when she comes up with something she wants to do, she just does it — like moving to NYC with only three suitcases!

Acting isn’t her only art.
While we’ve gotten to know Coulthard as an up-and-coming actress, she’s also a dab hand at drawing and watercolor — like this painting she created for her Mum’s birthday.

Another love of Coulthard's? Fashion.
Coulthard’s a big fan of haute couture — she’s been spotted front row to runways everywhere from Ferragamo to Dior.

But she was wary about the fashion in Howards End.
Early in her casting, Coulthard was nervous she wouldn’t be able to handle wearing a corset all day on set. Though she was (luckily) quick to adapt to the costumes, she admits that it was a relief when she unlaced it at the end of the day.

And that wasn’t the only think Coulthard was nervous about...
Coulthard had big shoes to fill: Helen Bonham Carter played the role of Helen Shlegel in the Merchant Ivory adaptation of Howards End. In order to give herself a clean slate, Coulthard didn’t watch the film version until the show locked. Spoiler alert? She loved it.

Despite her worries, Coulthard got nothing but support on set.
While Hayley Atwell talked about getting encouragement and mentorship from Emma Thompson — the original Margaret Schlegel — Atwell provided the same courtesy to Coulthard.In an interview with Bustle, Coulthard said that “from the beginning it felt like that sister dynamic. And I could ask her anything. She’s so incredibly down to earth and easygoing."

She saw more in the series than a break-through role.
In an interview with UpRoxx, Coulthard reflected on her thoughts that Howards End could be seen as a metaphor for our current “echo chamber” issues. “You have a newsfeed that is tailored to you and your ideas, but more than anything it seems we need to be reaching outside of our immediate social spheres, and trying to understand people as opposed to being truly defensive or divisive," she said in the interview. "That’s what’s so remarkable about the Schlegel sisters is that they really do want to understand why people speak differently than them, and they sort of have a self-awareness that other people’s lived experiences are far different to their own.”

She has a slightly unusual nickname.
While in the UK it’s popular to shorten Philippa to Pippa (looking at you, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Pippa Middleton, Pippa Haywood…), Coulthard instead chooses to go by Pip. Cute!

Catch Phillipa Coulthard's work in Howards End on Passport, or on December 27, 2020 at 1pm on WGBH 2.