Nicola Coughlan had a surprising part-time job before Bridgerton fame

Bridgerton actress Nicola Coughlan didn't always have such a glamorous job

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Nicola Coughlan attends the "Derry Girls" photocall during the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 2019 at BFI Southbank on April 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Nicola Coughlan has opened up about how she earned money before she joined the cast of Bridgerton, and fans may be surprised by what she had to say. 

With a confirmed second season of Bridgerton on the horizon, it looks like Nicola Coughlan won't be going back to her old part-time job any time soon. 

In an interview on The Late Late Show last Friday, the 34-year-old shocked host Ryan Tubridy when she revealed her former place of work.

“It's mad, five years ago I was working in an optician’s two days a week in Galway,” she said.

Nicola went on to describe her role, which she called a ‘nice job.’ “I used to send people out their letters to say 'you’re due your eye test',” she explained. 

Always hopeful she’d become a household name, the Derry Girls star was preparing for fame even then. “I’d practice my autograph on the letters.” 

Despite her huge success in the past few years, Nicola, who plays Bridgerton's Penelope Featherington alongside Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor, admitted her life has been quite ordinary recently.

“We wrapped Bridgerton in February and I came home, and then the world shut down,” she explained. By ‘home’ she's referring to Galway in Ireland, where she was born and raised.

Without the buzz of premieres and autograph signings, Nicola could only rely on social media to get a sense of the show’s following.

“It’s all happening in lockdown so you’re at home saying 'that’s quite nice’ and then going about your day," she said. 

Now living at home with her family, the actress’s days aren’t exactly glamorous. She laughed that she became her mother’s personal assistant over lockdown, listing all the jobs she’s expected to do now that she’s back. 

"I’m her chef, her painter, I laid some laminate flooring for her... I have pictures to hang up when I get back to Galway actually, I just remembered,” she said. 

With family like that, it seems like Nicola’s mega-success is unlikely to go to her head any time soon. 

Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.