Who is Nicola Coughlan?
Nicola is an Irish actress who shot into the limelight portraying Penelope Featherington in the Shonda Rhimes Netflix period television series Bridgerton.
Her early life and career beginnings
Nicola grew up in Oranmore, near Galway city in County Galway, Ireland. Her interest in acting stemmed at age five from watching her elder sister perform in a school play. She attended Scoil Mhuire Primary School and Calasanctius College in Oranmore.
At age ten, she began exploring the acting world and played a role in an action thriller film, My Brother’s War, in 1997. Having earned a degree in English and Classical Civilisation from the National University of Ireland, Galway, her family proposed a career in teaching. Still, she wouldn’t have that because she aspired to become an actor. She received training at the Oxford School of Drama and Birmingham School of Acting in England.
Nicola’s professional career life
Nicola’s acting career took off in 2004 when she appeared in Tom Collins’ short film, The Phantom Cnut. She had moved to the city to pursue her dreams, but her drive was the force that propelled her forward. Apart from acting, she became involved in several voiceover works for animated series like The Fairytaler and France 3’s The Little Vampire. Failing to achieve career success and lacking financially, she moved back to her hometown in Ireland, struggled to find a place to work and finally found a part-time job in an optical office. She became depressed but thankfully, her family’s love hastened her recovery and she got back on track. Nicola’s job at the optician’s practice, filing and arranging eye tests helped a great deal and readied her for the next step in life.
After auditioning in an open casting call, Nicola landed the role of Jess in Zoe Cooper’s Jess and Joe Forever at The Old Vic, a producing theatre in London to positive reviews. Grace found the actress in 2018 when she snagged a starring character as Clare Devlin in a British sitcom by Lisa McGee, Derry Girls to global acclaim. The series, set in the 1990s was filmed in Northern Ireland, Derry, and Belfast and revolves around teenage girls attending a catholic girls secondary school while leading an adventurous life and getting entangled in crazy situations. She also competed against other Derry Girls cast members in a special episode of the 2018 British game show, raising money for a cancer charity and has actively involved herself in activism at other times.
The budding actress made an appearance in the period drama series Harlots, with Evening Standard naming her One of the Rising Stars of 2018. Her breakthrough came in 2020 when she joined the casts of the regency-era drama Bridgerton, portraying Penelope, the youngest Featherington daughter which instantly garnered her attention and shot her into the limelight.
In Bridgerton, she worked with Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Jonathan Bailey, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Ruth Gemmell, Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Luke Thompson, Polly Walker, Ruby Barker, Ben Miller, Adjoa Andoh, Julie Andrews and Golda Rosheuvel.
Her personal life
Nicola was in a relationship with Laurie Kynaston but currently single. She keeps her personal life private and only shares her works on her Instagram page of 1.2 million followers.
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