Nicola Coughlan Spoke Candidly About “Crippling” Debt

“I was working minimum wage and the rent was so high.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Nicola Coughlan attends the British Academy Film Awards 2022 Gala Dinner...
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Nicola Coughlan earned a legion of fans following her much-loved portrayal of Derry Girls’ Clare Devlin. And she became even more of a household name when Bridgerton aired. As fans will know all too well, Coughlan portrays Penelope Featherington, who was famously unveiled as Lady Whistledown at the end of season one.

Although, in spite of her acting success, Coughlan has revealed the “fear of having nothing” is still very much present. As per Metro, the actor quit her opticians job five years ago to pursue acting, and speaking to RTE Guide, revealed that she was earning minimum wage just a few years before landing some of her biggest roles to date.

“I was in debt with student loans. I was working minimum wage and the rent was so high.” Coughlan continued, “I only got Derry Girls five years ago, so it’s not that long since I’ve been able to go and buy a coffee and not have a panic attack.”

The actor also explained that her financial worries aren’t going away anytime soon. “I reckon I’ll have a few more years of thinking, ‘I hope I have some money in my bank account.’”

“You know what it’s like not to have all those things and you know how hard you’ve worked to get there,” she added. “So for me to even be on a set is a privilege, to get an audition is a privilege, because for years I couldn’t even get in an audition room.”

To the delight of fans, Coughlan is reprising the role of Penelope in the Bridgerton’s second season, starring alongside the likes of Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashely, and Golda Rosheuvel.

“I’ve just seen the finale of Season Two of Bridgerton and it is so good I am FREAKING OUT,” Coughlan wrote on Twitter, teasing what viewers can expect from season 2. “I loved it so much! I didn’t breathe. My heart was doing 120bpm the whole way through. Genuinely.”

Bridgerton Season 2 arrives on Netflix on Friday, March 25