Before getting her first big break, "Bridgerton" star Nicola Coughlan said she felt like a "completely failed actor" when she had to move back home to Ireland and got a job in an optician's practice.
Coughlan, who stars in the hit Netflix period drama, said in an interview published Sunday in the Belfast Telegraph that she left London "multiple times" after moving to the city to pursue acting.
The 34-year-old actress said her family suggested she should consider becoming a teacher because of her degree in English, but Coughlan said she "desperately" wanted to work in acting.
Despite her passion for acting, Coughlan said she wouldn't recommend going into the industry "unless it really truly makes your heart happy."
"There is a lot of rejection, an awful lot," she said. "It's tough."
Coughlan said she struggled to get any job when she moved back to Galway, Ireland, but ended up working in an optician's practice for a couple of days a week.
Coughlan said the part-time job, which mainly consisted of filing and organizing eye tests, actually gave her structure and suggested that it helped prepare her for the "unpredictable" life of an actor.
"My mind wasn't in a good place, but I think that with time and that bit of structure, I was able to just make myself feel better and slowly sort of recover and get back to being myself," she said, adding that she looked back at that time "fondly, even though I had no money."
Coughlan, who got her breakthrough role in Irish sitcom "Derry Girls," said people were so willing to see themselves as failures when things go wrong, something she had fallen victim to herself.
She said there is "nothing wrong with regrouping" and that berating yourself for failure was "just a horrible way to treat yourself."
"I'm building myself from the ground up again," she added.