We always, always, always feel inspired after reading the success stories of other women. And so, when Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan penned a post imploring us to never give up on our dreams, we sat up and paid attention.
After an impressive three-year rise to fame, Coughlan has won critical acclaim – and she’s used her position in the spotlight to actively support LGBT and reproductive rights in Northern Ireland. So, yes, we love Coughlan. And, after learning of her incredible (and relatable) career journey, we love her even more. If, y’know, that’s even possible.
Taking to Twitter, Coughlan shared a grainy photo of a ‘good luck’ card, a bottle of wine and a packet of macarons sat on a desk.
She captioned it: “[This] seems like an unremarkable photo but it’s a reminder that three years ago today I left my part time job in an opticians in Galway to go do a play in London.”
Coughlan added: “It’s mad how much your life can change in such a short space of time, so like don’t give up on your dreams, OK?”
Seems like an unremarkable photo but it’s a reminder that three years ago today I left my part time job in an opticians in Galway to go do a play in London
It’s mad how much your life can change in such a short space of time so like don’t give up on your dreams k? pic.twitter.com/I0RbwTmGZK
— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) August 12, 2019
That’s right: long before she’d ever even heard a whisper of Derry Girls, Coughlan worked two days a week at an opticians in Galway.
However, when she happened upon an open audition for a show in London on Twitter, she spontaneously decided to put herself forward. naturally, she landed the part, and it’s safe to say she’s been killing it ever since.
“The Orange Tree Theatre came to see [the play] that day and decided to programme it for a full run the following year which was a dream come true,” recalled Coughlan.
“Anyways I emailed every agent in London and the only one that came was from my dream agency, Curtis Brown and I ended up signing with them.”
Coughlan added: “My very first audition with them was for a new show called Derry Girls. Spoiler: I got it!”
Noting how much her life has changed since then, Coughlan finished with some words of advide for her younger self.
“If I could tell the part-time Optical Assistant me that three years later she’d be filming an amazing show with Shondaland, I don’t know if she’d believe me,” she joked. “But I’d be like, ‘Hey thanks for not giving up when the going was tough, girl.’”
But wait… what’s Shondaland? Well, listen up! Coughlan has just been cast by Grey’s Anatomy writer/creator Shonda Rhimes (Shondaland is her production company) to star in a new Netflix show. She’ll play Penelope Featherton in Bridgerton, a series based on Julia Quinn’s ultra-glamourous novel series of the same name, arriving on Netflix next year. We can’t wait!
From short-sighted patients to small screen successes, Coughlan’s Twitter thread is the careers motivation we never knew we needed. Okay, so maybe we won’t land a leading part in Northern Ireland’s most-watched TV show anytime soon, but Coughlan’s rags-to-riches tale is relatable for us all. Her fans came out in force with messages of love, support and perseverance.
Written by Holly Bullock
Published August 13, 2019