Connie Britton: Why everyone seems to love the actress

Connie Britton first came to viewers' attention as coach's wife Tami Taylor on the series 'Friday Night Lights' and now she's starring as country singer Rayna James on the series 'Nashville,' which airs its season finale tonight. Here are a few reasons why Connie Britton has won over viewers on- and off-screen.

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Lately, it seems like everyone is loving actress Connie Britton.

In a February article in New York Times magazine, the headline called Britton a “late bloomer.” “‘Friday Night Lights’ turned Britton into something of an icon, a 40-something sex symbol and role model at the center of a critically acclaimed show (albeit one that was never a ratings smash)," Susan Dominus wrote. "These days, the Internet is crowded with blog posts celebrating her exemplary television marriage, her maternal wisdom, the sheer amazingness of her hair. Britton [now] seemed to have emerged in her prime, in the process redefining what an actress’s prime exactly is.”

While the 46-year-old may not necessarily be a household name, she’s entered the hearts of many with her role as Tami Taylor, Coach’s wife and fierce school principal, in “Friday Night Lights,” and now as Rayna Jaymes, country star, in ABC’s “Nashville.

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Here are some of the reasons why people love her:

– Britton tries to stay true to herself.

Despite making her big break later in her career, Britton says she doesn't alter her personality or looks to conform to Hollywood’s idea of beauty. She told Amanda de Cadenet in a Youtube interview in 2012 that she didn’t want to be an actress who was seen as a person who is only "'a great actress because she's so beautiful.' ... I wanted to be seen as a great actress because I had a great craft and I was able to play roles that could impact people.”

Meanwhile, “Friday Night Lights” director Jeff Reiner told the Times that “Connie leads with her brains, not her beauty... I think that’s one reason women find her so appealing.”

– Britton's international awareness

In 2011, Britton adopted her son, Yoby, from Ethiopia. Inspired, she told “The View,” about a documentary about Ethiopian orphans that she's been working on for the past 10 years.

– Britton's fight for layered roles and control over how she portrays characters

Rather than be inspired by more sexualized Hollywood starlets, Britton told NPR in an interview that her favorite movie is Foul Play because she admires actress Goldie Hawn. “I’ve always said that I want to play a full-fledged character that has drama and a sense of humor," the actress said. "And I think that was because I was so heavily influenced by funny ladies such as Goldie Hawn.”

Similarly, she’s been outspoken about what she will and won’t do when portraying her characters onscreen. According to Indiewire.com, in the pilot of “Nashville,” Britton refused to do a scene where she had to look in the mirror and mime a face-lift. She told IndieWire she wants to “get a strong female voice out there, no matter what the context is,” and that she doesn't like the idea of portraying Reyna Jaymes as an “aging country star.” Both she and co-star Hayden Panettiere told PopSugar that the show is not just about women “cat-fighting.” 

 –Britton's relatability

From her on-camera sass to her down-to-earth personality, Britton seems both fun and hilarious. In August of 2012, Britton narrated a segment on website “Funny or Die” called “Wing It Parenthood," and according to a Rachel Ray segment from 2008, during her days on “Friday Night Lights,” she and co-star Kyle Chandler played jokes on each other.

Saba Hamedy is a Monitor contributor.

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