Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Why Do People Love Phoebe Waller-Bridge?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has quickly become one of the most popular and acclaimed writers, actors and producers of her generation. In just a few short years, Waller-Bridge has created and starred in several hit TV shows demonstrating her witty and irreverent style. She has won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes, and even has a film franchise under her belt.

But what is it exactly about Waller-Bridge that resonates so much with audiences? Here’s a deeper look at why she has become such a beloved star.

Writing is Hilariously Sharp Yet Heartfelt

One of the biggest reasons why people love Phoebe Waller-Bridge is her uniquely entertaining writing style. She crafts dialogue and scenes that are bitingly funny, yet still reveal emotional depth and warmth.

Killing Eve

As the creator of the spy thriller Killing Eve, Waller-Bridge introduced viewers to the oddly endearing relationship between MI5 officer Eve and glamorous assassin Villanelle. The show subverts expectations with dark humor and surprising moments of sentimentality.


This signature style is also on full display in Waller-Bridge’s breakout show, Fleabag. The main character directly addresses the viewer as she recounts her personal and sexual misadventures with full comic disregard. But over time, Waller Bridge allows real vulnerability to emerge.

As actress Vicky Jones described to Vanity Fair, “Phoebe manages to express something that feels very raw, a woman admitting something about herself” in the show. This emotional honesty makes the humor more powerful.

Memorable Fleabag Lines

Some particularly iconic lines from Fleabag demonstrate Waller-Bridge’s standout writing:

  • “I want someone to tell me what to wear every morning.”
  • “I have a horrible feeling that I’m a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can’t even call herself a feminist.”
  • “Either everyone feels like this a little bit and they’re just not talking about it, or I am completely fucking alone.”

This type of sharp, risqué, and ultimately moving dialogue is a Phoebe Waller-Bridge trademark adored by critics and regular viewers alike.


Waller-Bridge first came to attention with Crashing, a semi-autobiographical comedy series about the lives of property guardians living in disused hospitals and art galleries. While showing the amusing mundanity of communal living, Waller-Bridge also portrayed real relationships and turning points.

Rich Inner Lives

From Killing Eve’s assassin to Fleabag’s title character, Waller-Bridge’s protagonists may appear as cool girls trying not to care on the surface. But she always allows the audience to be let into their rich inner lives and unique perspectives along the way with intelligence and heart.

Creates Complex, Relatable Female Lead Characters

In all of her creations, Waller-Bridge crafts lead female characters that defy stereotypes and expectations. They are messy, sexual, ambitious, insecure, funny and brave all at once. In short, they are fully realized human beings that audiences can’t help but be compelled by.

Multi-Dimensional Personalities

What’s impressive about Phoebe’s female characters is that they occupy the space usually afforded to male antiheroes — like Walter White from Breaking Bad or Don Draper from Mad Men. They are allowed to be flawed, vulgar, brooding, unlikeable at times, without being reduced down to just archetypes.

Villanelle murders people for a job, but enjoys the finer aspects of life and longs for human connection. Fleabag constantly sabotages herself, yet remains witty and charming every step of the way. Phoebe’s women contain multitudes, just like real people do.

Subversion of Expectations

Too often, women on TV can be limited to stereotypes — the nagging wife, the sweet innocent girl next door, the petty villain. Phoebe allows her female characters to subvert expectations over time by showcasing their intelligence, their sexuality, their ambition — qualities not always afforded to women in media historically.

So audiences instantly connect to these women as refreshingly modern representations with rich dimensions. They can be strong leaders yet have vulnerable moments. They can enjoy sex but also suffer painful heartbreak. In short, Phoebe breaks the mold with these portrayals.


Even though her characters are hitwomen and con artists, their basic struggles around purpose, confidence, relationships and vulnerability tap into universal experiences. This allows viewers across gender and backgrounds to find aspects of the characters compelling.

Phoebe herself explained to Variety why these relatable characters resonate so powerfully:

“I really like writing characters that are out of sync with the social norms but who have to exist within them.”

Millions of fans clearly also enjoy watching these complex personas navigate life’s random chaos.

Brings the Perspective of a Multi-Hyphenate Creator

Unlike many strictly screen actors these days, Phoebe’s background is in theater and comedy. This gives her an invaluable perspective when writing and starring in her own productions. Her vision shines through as an uncompromising creator across jobs.

Role Shows
Screenwriter Killing Eve, Fleabag, Crashing
Actress Fleabag, Crashing
Producer Killing Eve, Fleabag, Run
Director Killing Eve, Fleabag

Theater Background

Influences Storytelling

Phoebe’s experience coming up in the lively theater scene no doubt infuses her writing and performance style with vivid urgency. Playwrights have to instantly grab the audience. And actors must compellingly deliver cascades of dialogue while amplifying emotional dynamics.

You can witness echoes of this spirited stage training in any of Phoebe’s rapid-fire humorous soliloquies to the camera in Fleabag.

Full Control of Vision

Many actor-led production companies seek out established properties to showcase their talents these days. But Phoebe prefers to generate her own original content ideas from scratch.

And rather than just be an actress confined to what’s on the script page, she is involved at every level as creator-writer-director-producer-star. This ownership allows her sensibility to flow through seamlessly across disciplines.

The unfiltered Phoebe point of view is undoubtedly a key aspect of her appeal. She tells the distinct stories she wants to tell.

Cohesive Singular Perspective

Multi-hyphenate creators are in a great position to execute their vision, but the huge workload often leads to uneven results. The directing could be disjointed from writing or acting drowned out by editing choices.

Yet Phoebe deftly uses her multiple roles in harmony to control tone so aspects elevate instead of distract from each other. This makes for incredibly strong singular storytelling full of her trademark voice. Audiences connect deeply when one clear perspective shines through seamlessly in all elements.

Represents a New Generation of Bold Creators

While Phoebe Waller-Bridge displays immense talent when writing nuanced dialogue or performing emotionally-layered characters, her cultural impact stems from fearlessly charting her own course as a creator. She represents an inspiring model for what’s possible now.

Showrunner Role Model

The previous generation of acclaimed showrunners and multi-hyphenates that Phoebe has been compared to like Tina Fey or Lena Dunham all had to slowly work their way up the ranks in writers’ rooms before being handed the keys to their own shows.

But Phoebe exploded onto the scene fully formed by immediately creating Fleabag as an original stage production and securing backing to adapt it into a TV show soon after. She quickly leveraged its success and distinctive voice to then spread her wings into new genres by pitching Killing Eve.

Due to the array of modern distribution platforms nowadays, creatives have more freedom to share their own original visions sooner. And Phoebe serves as an important trailblazer demonstrating the new landscape of opportunity for aspiring showrunners.

Empowering Message

Her journey to fame in her 30s after struggling for years sends an uplifting message. Talented underdog creators no longer have to wait around indefinitely for mainstream Hollywood gatekeepers to tap them.

Phoebe told Harper’s Bazaar:

“It’s important that the message gets through that it doesn’t really matter what age you are, it’s just about backing yourself. I didn’t get this job until I wrote it, I didn’t get these opportunities until I made them.”

This inspires other artists to bet on their own voices instead of waiting for permission. Phoebe’s meteoric rise from self-made web series to Emmy darling signals the landscape is wider.

Creative Risk Taker

While show business has always demanded high levels of ambition and persistence, an entrepreneurial spirit is required more than ever nowadays when starting out. Limited conventional network jobs have been replaced by a competitive marketplace of content with no guaranteed audiences.

So Phoebe displays the needed courage to take real risks during periods of instability and uncertainty on her ascent. Her willingness to put herself out there as an unknown performer previewing Fleabag on the smaller Edinburgh Festival Fringe before tackling London or New York is an example of that fearlessness to connect.

Phoebe isn’t afraid to tinker with her works-in-progress or even share initial failure. Creators hoping to breakout require this bravery to keep evolving.

Ultimately, Phoebe Waller-Bridge earning such immense acclaim by her mid-30s through fiercely committing to her own vision serves as inspiration. She has come to symbolize the new media landscape where passionate artists have more control over their destinies. This empowers a generation.

Represents Fun, Fresh Energy Behind the Camera Too

Much coverage of Phoebe Waller-Bridge rightly spotlights her Emmy-winning acting and writing. But her charming presence and playful spirit as a producer and director behind-the-scenes contribute enormously to give her projects such vivid style and soul.

Captivating Muse

Part of what makes Phoebe such a generational talent is her ability to compellingly articulate a female perspective rarely depicted before. She serves as muse, writer and eventual star for Fleabag – creating an intoxicating protagonist modern audiences instantly connect with.

But that magnetic pull translates behind the camera too. The singular personal voice so clear in her writing emerges visually in her active directing choices. And her effusive personality inspires great performances as an engaged producer.

Actors Want to Collaborate With Her

Many established actors deeply respect Phoebe’s acting gifts but also her overall artistic instincts. Stars clamor to collaborate with multi-hyphenates like Phoebe who display strong directorial outlooks alongside performing talent.

Her Fleabag and Killing Eve productions have attracted powerhouse names like Kristin Scott Thomas, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, Fiona Shaw and Sandra Oh amongst others. These legends sign on to work with Phoebe based on good material certainly but also trust in her wider creative leadership.

Playful Creative Energy on Set

A recurring motif across various media interviews is how Phoebe maintains a light-hearted, mischievous environment behind-the-scenes while still guiding her shows effectively.

Cast members describe lively sets filled with her spontaneous humor where she might break into silly dances between takes. This injects the emotional moments in her scripts with even more crackling energy since the mood behind the scenes is so spirited.

Phoebe told Backstage magazine about her directing philosophy:

“I like chaos…I’ll put ideas in, stir stuff up and see what happens.”

Rather than rigid and controlling, Phoebe clearly prefers imaginative collaboration where the actors feel comfortable really owning the work. Stars flock to the chance to flex their creativity in her fertile playground.

Project Notable Collaborators
Fleabag Andrew Scott, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman
Killing Eve Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw
Run Domhnall Gleeson, Merritt Weaver

This infectious sense of liberation inspires her cast to take chances and boosts all the storytelling as a result. We feel that fun intimacy through the screen.


In conclusion, Phoebe Waller-Bridge has captured the current cultural zeitgeist because she is a breathtakingly original talent writing and starring in groundbreaking shows centered around complex female characters.

But she has also quickly developed into an important multi-hyphenate creative force directing, producing and showrunning acclaimed series with her distinctive voice and perspective. Stars line up to collaborate with her and studios want to back her ideas.

Beyond just the critical acclaim, audiences connect so powerfully to her works because she taps into universal human truths through utterly unique protagonists and dialogue. Yes her writing dazzles with laughs and surprises. But also resonates emotionally.

The characters are hilarious but heartbreakingly honest about their flaws too. So we recognize ourselves in their yearning attempts to find connection. Phoebe makes intimacy funny and finds humor in intimacy. We root for these women.

And with Fleabag, Killing Eve and Run, she represents the vanguard of groundbreaking series expanding limited female representation historically. The roles Phoebe crafts are revealing the multitudes women contain – just as complicated, sexual, struggling and funny as men are allowed to be on screens. Except written more boldly through her eyes.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge isn’t just a charismatic performer or prodigious writer or even inventive showrunner. She embodies the total emerging artist. One finally able to shatter old molds and express unfiltered perspectives without waiting for permission or following entrenched rules.

This inspires a generation of unseen creatives now empowered watching her remarkable rise. Through her funny, fierce female characters and refusal to tone down her vision, Phoebe Waller-Bridge symbolizes the boundless possibilities ahead when distinct voices stay true to themselves.

Now audiences everywhere delight in joining her for the unpredictable ride wherever she wants to take us next. The entertainment world is better for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What shows has Phoebe Waller-Bridge created?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s breakout shows she created, wrote, produced and starred in are the hit series Fleabag and Emmy-winning thriller Killing Eve. She also created the comedy Crashing and co-wrote the recent James Bond film No Time to Die.

Why did Fleabag connect with audiences?

Fleabag stood out for its biting humor and emotional honesty. Audiences loved the main character directly addressing the viewer as she recounted her personal and sexual misadventures with full comic disregard. But over time, Waller Bridge allows real vulnerability to emerge. The raw relatability made the jokes hit harder.

How was Killing Eve different than other spy shows?

Killing Eve subverted the usual thriller tropes by centering on the growing obsession between MI5 officer Eve and glamorous assassin Villanelle. Waller-Bridge introduced viewers to their oddly endearing, flirtatious cat-and-mouse relationship with plenty of surprising dark humor. This fresh female perspective powered its success.

What notable actors has Phoebe Waller-Bridge worked with?

Some powerhouse actors who have eagerly signed on to collaborate with Phoebe include Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, Kristin Scott Thomas, Fiona Shaw, Sian Clifford and Domhnall Gleeson. They are attracted to her writing and performances but also fresh directing outlook.

How does Phoebe Waller-Bridge create such great female characters?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s female protagonists feel real because they occupy the space usually afforded to male antiheroes on TV. They are allowed to be messy, unlikeable at times, funny and sexually-driven without being reduced down. She shows women as fully-realized human beings – just as layered as complicated male characters historically written.

Why do actors enjoy working with Phoebe as a director?

Despite guiding the production, Phoebe maintains a playful, chaotic spirit on set more akin to theater where she comes from. This inspires her cast to take chances while having fun too.

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