Bridgerton 's Nicola Coughlan Compares Fame to 'Being a Dog on the Tube': It's 'The Same Energy'

·3 min read
Nicola Coughlan on cover of ELLE UK
Nicola Coughlan on cover of ELLE UK

Meinke Klein/ELLE UK Nicola Coughlan on cover of ELLE UK

The success of Bridgerton allowed Nicola Coughlan to achieve new levels of fame overnight — but adjusting to the fame has come with its challenges.

In the March issue of Elle UK, the 35-year-old Irish actress opened up about how intense fame can be.

"Being famous is like being a dog on the Tube. It's exactly the same energy," said Coughlan. "When you get on, everyone looks at you. Some people are so smiley, while some are afraid of you and don't want to go near. Some people touch you without asking."

Coughlan said she "can still do the things" she enjoys doing, but "it is different" now.

"I went to the pub with my friend a while back and it was like being an animal at the zoo," she continued. "People just watching and looking. And I remember one time I was taking my Invisalign out, and this person was staring me right in the eyes, which was quite weird. But, honestly, most people are so, so lovely."

RELATED: Bridgerton's Phoebe Dynevor Admits She Has a 'Fear of Failure' After Fame: 'I'm Full of Anxiety'

Ahead of Bridgerton's December 2020 premiere on Netflix, Coughlan had a feeling the series would be successful. But she still didn't think the Shonda Rhimes-produced series would be as massive as it became.

"I didn't think it was going to be the biggest show on Netflix, I didn't think that level," she said. "But I had lunch with [my costar] Phoebe [Dynevor] maybe about two months before it came out. And I said, 'I think your life's going to change.' And she was like, 'No, I don't know. I've done things before that people thought was going to be huge and it hasn't worked out.' But I just had that instinct about it."

Nicola Coughlan on cover of ELLE UK
Nicola Coughlan on cover of ELLE UK

Meinke Klein/ELLE UK Nicola Coughlan on cover of ELLE UK

As the period drama grew in popularity globally, Coughlan "started compiling a list" of countries where Bridgerton went No. 1 "just to try to make it real" for herself.

"Then it was like, 'It's the biggest show that's ever been on Netflix, 80 million people,'" she said. "And it's like, 'What?' It just was surreal."

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Before Bridgerton, Coughlan gained notoriety starring on Derry Girls. She has also had roles on other series including Harlots and The Fairytales.

While she has become more established in her career over time, Coughlan admitted that her journey to success wasn't easy.

Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton Season 1
Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton Season 1


"Whenever people say they want to get into this industry, I'm like, you've got to want it so badly," she said. "Because if you don't, you'd be mad to do it, absolutely mad. I barely saw my family last year because of filming. There's a lot of sacrifices to be made. In my twenties, I never went on holiday. I was so broke."

Added Coughlan, "I never want to sell people this ideal that it's all wonderful and fun. It's hard work. But it's amazing. I wouldn't do anything else."

As for what Bridgerton fans can expect in season 2, which premieres March 25, Coughlan was asked about the possibilities of some potentially steamy scenes with costar Luke Newton, who plays Colin Bridgerton.

"Oh God, yes, it's going to happen! We used to joke about it, really inappropriate jokes, like, 'Wouldn't it be funny if we did this when we do it?' And then as time goes on it becomes more real," she said. "Now it's not funny anymore! Everyone's like, 'You're going to have to kiss Luke! On the lips!' "

The March 2022 issue of Elle UK goes on sale on Feb. 2.

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