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21st Dec 2023 chats to Nicola Coughlan about Ireland, her acting career, and the future

Jody Coffey

Nicola Coughlan

Nicola Coughlan is Ireland’s sweetheart

From Derry Girls to Bridgerton and Barbie, and everything in between, there’s no denying that the career of Nicola Coughlan has gone from strength to strength in a short space of time.

From the small screen to the big screen, one thing that remains steadfast is her indisputable talent.

The Galway native has taken Hollywood by storm, but she never forgets her Irish roots, even while walking the most glamorous red carpets.

Next year is set to be an even bigger year for Nicola, with her new TV series, Big Mood, and season three of Bridgerton on the horizon.

From playing Clare Devlin to Lady Penelope Featherington, switching up her acting roles is very intentional for the actress.

“It’s definitely intentional. I got into acting so that I could try and play as many different characters as possible.

“Something that really draws me in is when it feels like something I haven’t done before and it feels like a challenge and something that scares me,” Nicola explains at the 50 Years of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland in Louth.

“I’ve been super lucky that every role I’ve done so far has been so different, and I’m so excited for people to continue to see what I’ve got coming up.”

Nicola Coughlan at the 50 Years of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland in Louth

‘Big Mood’ drops on January 1st, 2024

In the upcoming series, Big Mood, the actress will star as a woman named Maggie, whose bipolar disorder makes its return, putting a decade-long friendship with Eddie (Lydia West) to the test.

Speaking on her role in this new series, which premieres on January 1st, 2024, she expressed how proud she was of herself and her co-stars.

Nicola also shares what viewers can expect from her new TV series, ‘Big Mood’.

“I’m super proud of all the work I’ve done; Big Mood is really up there for me. It’s written by one of my best friends. It’s a really hilarious, complex portrayal of two friends, one with bipolar disorder, who I play.

“It’s very funny, very dark, it feels very unique, and on its own, I’m very excited for people to see it.”

They say the road to success is paved with ambition, and the vehicle you arrive in is persistence, and it couldn’t be more true for the Irish star.

Reflecting on the sacrifices and hard work it took to get to this point in her career, the media mogul says it was all worth it.

“I think a lot of the sacrifices I’ve made were in my 20s. I was in debt from drama school and was working pretty low-paid jobs.

“I couldn’t afford to do anything and had that dream in the mirror ahead of me, and waiting to get to that point was quite difficult. But I think it was very much worth the sacrifice.”

at the 50 Years of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland in Louth

Being famous

With stardom, sadly, comes little privacy.

With the entire world interested in and watching your every move, it’s understandable that the Irish talent sometimes wishes she could take a moment outside of her fame for a simpler life.

However, she has found a way to ensure she finds a way that works for her.

“Sometimes yes, but I think you have to choose that balance for yourself. I’m certainly not someone who wants to go out to a big event every night or even every week.

“So, I try and save up my energy for those things. I think as long as I get to spend time with people I care about and all of those things and get enough time on my own to chill, then I’m super happy and I’m ready for the next one.”

Her love of Ireland

Included in the list of things Nicola loves is Ireland and her native county of Galway.

With Christmas just days away, the actress shares what she’s looking forward to most, admitting she doesn’t get home as much as she’d like to.

“It’s a very privileged complaint of being busy with work that I don’t get to [visit home] as much as I’d like. The minute that I can hop on a plane home, I’m there.

Nicola Coughlan at the 50 Years of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland in Louth

“I keep it very simple [at Christmas]. I spend time with my family and my best friends from school, and I love the decorating. I love all of the traditional stuff. I really can’t wait.”

Outside of her loved ones, if the film star had to pinpoint one thing that she loves about Ireland and the Irish people, it would be our friendly and welcoming nature.

No matter how far her career takes her or how famous her friend circle gets, anyone she meets who has a connection to the Emerald Isle will stop and tell her of their positive experience there.

“I just love how friendly everyone is and how you’ll always feel welcome when you go into an Irish pub.

“Whenever I talk to anyone who’s visited Ireland, that’s always their experience.

“I think that’s something as a nation we can be super, super proud of—the kind of welcome that we give to people… and the great Guinness, of course!”

Before Nicola heads away for what we hope will be a relaxing Christmas, she is asked to reveal her biggest career highlight to date.

We got to say, we adore her answer.

“Well, I hope that I haven’t had it yet; I hope that it’s ahead of me!”

We have no doubt that the best is yet to come for the Galway native!