12 facts about Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan you may not know

Irish actress Nicola Coughlan has stolen hearts as Penelope Featherington in Netflix series Bridgerton, but there are several facts fans may not know about her. 

Coughlan, who plays the youngest Featherington daughter in the hit period drama, is a vocal LGBTQ+ ally, who last month called for what we’ve all waiting for in the show: a queer romance.

Season three focuses on Penelope’s interest in Colin Bridgerton, and earlier this month she revealed that the steamy sex scene between the pair was “so extensive” that the set broke! 

So, what else do we know about burgeoning queer icon Coughlan?

Nicola Coughlan with Luke Newton in Bridgerton. (Netflix)

Coughlan, who turned 37 in January, worked part-time at an optician in order to make it in acting, despite the fact she secured her first job at the age of 10. She played a little girl feeding swans, an uncredited role, in 1997’s My Brother’s War. 

She was born and raised in Galway, on the Republic of Ireland’s west coast, and spent most of her twenties broke. In 2021, she revealed that she still gets scared checking her bank balance. 

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in a still from Bridgerton season three.
Season three of Bridgerton focuses on Penelope’s love story. (Netflix)

Coughlan got her first big role in the theatre after responding to a casting call on Twitter. Since the, she’s played lesbian Clare in Derry Girls; landing her breakout TV role at the age of 31. 

Prior to becoming a star, she was told to lie about her age to get acting jobs, but she didn’t feel comfortable doing so. 

Coughlan is a Capricorn and loves to cook, she has campaigned for same-sex marriage and abortion rights in Ireland and her biggest fear is open water. 

She is also a fierce advocate of positive body image and described her upcoming nude scene in Bridgerton as a “f**k you” to body-shamers.

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