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On Netflix’s Bridgerton, Irish actress Nicola Coughlan plays Penelope “Pen” Featherington, an intelligent young woman who was born into a family who doesn’t understand her. IRL, Coughlan, 34, seems far less reserved than her character on the show, but just as delightful. Here are four things you need to know about this petite powerhouse.

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1. She's besties with Jonathan van ness

Since Coughlan first posted a pic with Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness in January 2019, the two have celebrated holidays together and recorded an episode of Van Ness's podcast, Getting Curious. Of Coughlan, JVN wrote, "Nicola is not only a brilliant actress but she’s an advocate & fearless ally!"

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2. she's *very* good at twitter

In case you were nervous Coughlan is one of those comedic actors who's not so funny offscreen, rest assured that she's positively hilarious on social media—especially Twitter, where she has quickly become one of our absolute must-follows for gems like the one above. Relatable content, are we right?

3. She stars in Netflix's 'Bridgerton'

Coughlan's latest Netflix gig is with another one of our faves: Shonda Rhimes. Coughlan portrays Penelope in Rhimes's popular period drama on Netflix, Bridgerton. Based on Julia Quinn's best-selling novels, the show follows the competitive world of Regency London high society, and is led by the voice of the one and only Julie Andrews.

In addition to Bridgerton, Coughlan is widely recognized for her role in Derry Girls. She plays Clare Devlin, an anxious rule-follower who's often the voice of reason among her fellow (less risk-averse) Derry Girls.

4. she loves reality tv as much as we do

If many of Coughlan's excellent tweets are about the joys of napping, even more are about her adoration of reality shows. Her most-beloved? Love Island (same), RuPaul's Drag Race (the U.K. finale of which she gleefully documented on Instagram) and The Great British Bake Off (on which she and her co-stars made an appearance recently). Ah yes, a woman after our own heart.

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