Careers

Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan just reminded us why we should never give up on our dream career

Posted by
Holly Bullock
Published

Twitter really is the gift that keeps on giving. Inspiration, aspiration, motivation… it’s got it all. And, this week, Nicola Coughlan has used the social media platform to give us a masterclass in perseverance. 

We always, always, always feel inspired after reading the success stories of other women. And so, when Derry GirlsNicola 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.

You may also like

The Derry Girls protest shows Northern Irish women won’t stop fighting for abortion rights

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?”

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.

“Ohmygosh year and half ago me was working part time in an opticians too and now I’ve just finished the second leg of a 14-month UK tour (@thegirlsmusical) and I get ya feels but also this gives me SO MUCH HOPE THANK YOU”

“Thank you! Needed to see this today and read this message (was having a “I know nothing, who do I think I am even trying to start my own business” kind of day. But you’ve said not to give up on my dreams, so I’m gonna keep on keeping on”

“These kind of stories!!! In the acting world these are so needed when you finish drama school we spend every day working a regular job wishing something would just happen and most give up be we still keep at it! Needed this today!”

Don’t miss out: sign up to the Stylist Daily email for a curated edit of brilliant content every day

Image: Derry Girls

Topics

Share this article

Author

Holly Bullock

Recommended by Holly Bullock

Life

Derry Girls fans, writer Lisa McGee has revealed the truth about THAT shock ending

Please be aware that this article contains spoilers for the final episode of Channel 4’s Derry Girls

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Beauty

The Derry Girls looks that make us miss the Nineties

For Northern Irish women, the hit TV show provides all kinds of beauty nostalgia

Posted by
Kelly Allen
Published
Life

10 great books which will inspire you and supercharge your career

Avoid burnout, own the room and embrace flexible working with these brilliant books.

Posted by
Sarah Shaffi
Published
Life

How to overcome failure: top tips, quotes and motivational advice

How to overcome failure: top tips, quotes and motivational advice

Posted by
Stylist Team
Published
Life

Britain’s most successful women on the advice they wish they had at 20

From leading CEOs to a Secretary of State, 19 women pass their baton of wisdom onto you...

Posted by
Sejal Kapadia Pocha
Published