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This Is The Biggest Misconception About Nicola Coughlan

Plus, she’s a big fan of Vegemite!

Nicola Coughlan has become a household name for both her presence on the stage and warm personality off it.

The Irish actress sat down with marie claire while she was in Sydney, to chat about all things friends, family, work, crushes and Australia.

Between enjoying Vegemite and her obsession with Real Housewives, we can’t help but want to call her an honourary Australian, as well as a best friend.

Here, she reveals her favourite things, and the biggest misconception about her.

What was your first job?
I was in a James Brolin movie [My Brother’s War, in 1997] when I was nine years old. I had no lines but I got paid £30. I knew from when I was very little that I wanted to act. My first regular-person job? I was an exam attendant when I was 13.

If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
You know when Real Housewives [cast members] have singing careers, and they only write songs for gay men to listen to in gay clubs? That is a great alternative career.

Who was your childhood crush?
I loved Kevin [Fred Savage] from The Wonder Years when I was really little, like four or five. Then I loved Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Devon Sawa – any of the ’90s boys.

The last film that made you cry?
I think it was Everything Everywhere All At Once. It was just really beautiful. I really adored that. I thought everything about it was so clever.

Which qualities do you value most in a person?
Kindness, honesty and integrity.

The biggest misconception people have about you?
Well, this has been a weird one. I recently found out that people think my eyes are coloured contacts. But they’re not, they’re just freaky wolf blue.

Who are the women who have shaped you?
My mum and my sister. I go back to Ireland as much as I can to spend time with them. We slag each other off … but we’re super, super close. They get updates on everything I’m doing in Sydney.

Do you like being the youngest?
For sure, even though everyone else thinks I was spoilt. But I’ve become someone who then spoils [others]. I’m good at getting treats for people.

What are you loving about Australia [Coughlan was here for an Uber Eats campaign to address period poverty]?
Honestly, all the food we’ve eaten has been amazing. I’ve just been full constantly. I had Tim Tams this morning.

The last mean you ordered?
Vegemite on Uber Eats. It’s so good! My sister loves it. She lived here back in the early 2000s so she was like, “Can you please bring me some home?” My case is going to be full of it.

The outfit that makes you feel the most ‘you’?
I really love wearing colour – things that are full of expression. But I spend a lot of my time in hoodies. My friends and I have a habit of buying each other these novelty T-shirts. I have this one that says, “Kiss me, I’m Irish and vaccinated”. There’s something about those that brings me deep joy.

Do you have a party trick?
I used to be able to do the Rubik’s Cube … but now I can only do one side.

Best gift you’ve ever received?
My niece and nephews make me little cards … my little nephew told me the other day, “I’m glad of you” and gave me a hug. Nothing is going to top that.

Which side of TikTok are you on?
There’s this girl I follow, Wishbone Kitchen [Meredith Hayden, @wishbone kitchen]. She’s a private chef and she goes to The Hamptons. It looks amazing.

Do you have a skincare routine?
The one thing I feel I can always commit to is taking care of my skin. I quite enjoy it and find it very therapeutic. I use a lot of gua sha and facial massagers and I’ve noticed a huge difference when I don’t drink enough water. I think growing up without any sunlight was probably handy.

Something you want to do more in the next 12 months?
I got to travel a lot this year … so to do [more] would be really amazing. Also, I’ve started to rewatch classic movies.

What do you want to do less?
Apologising for myself. I think women do it way too much.

Something you’ve had to unlearn in life?
As I get older I feel like a lot of the time we [as women] end up compromising ourselves. I think, don’t compromise yourself. Don’t make yourself less for anybody because, ultimately, you’re just letting yourself down.

What does love mean to you?
Just feeling safe and like you can be true to yourself and not have to compromise or prove anything or do anything. That goes for friends, family and romantic partners.

Marie Claire Australia
Written by Cassandra Green
Published February 6, 2024