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S6, Ep3 How to Fail: Cush Jumbo

S6, Ep3 How to Fail: Cush Jumbo

By Elizabeth Day

[TW: suicide]

If you're a fan of The Good Wife or The Good Fight (and if not, why not?) you will know Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn, the whip-smart, ambitious lawyer who speaks with a flawless American accent. But Cush was actually born in South London, the daughter of a British mother and a Nigerian father and the second of six children. She took dance classes from the age of three, and went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. An award-winning stage actress who wrote and starred in her own highly-acclaimed one-woman show, Josephine and I, she is returning to the theatre next year to play Hamlet at the Young Vic.

Way back in the mists of time (well, ok, 2012), I interviewed Cush for the Observer. I was struck then by how impressive she was, as well as being nice and funny. We stayed in touch over the years as I proudly watched her ascent from afar, and now I'm delighted to get the chance to interview her again because she is unafraid to talk honestly and beautifully about her most vulnerable moments.

She joins me to talk about her fears of letting her family down, the self-perceived failure to 'have it all' as a working mother, plus the rejection and sense of terrible failure she felt as an actress starting out and the spiral of depression that ensued, during which she thought 'obsessively' about suicide, before seeking medical help (and getting a dog). Thank you Cush, for being fearless in your honesty and generous with your talent. Also thank you for bringing me delicious cakes from Gail's when we recorded. You really are a gem.

ALSO, TODAY SHE COLLECTS HER O.B.E. It's almost as if I'd planned the timing (I hadn't).

I hope you enjoy listening, and if you do, I'd love it if you felt moved to rate, review and subscribe.


The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.


This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Cush Jumbo @cushjumbo 

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty



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