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Claire Danes has landed the role of a lifetime in Homeland, playing bipolar CIA agent Carrie Matheson on the award-winning drama.

But the trajectory of this star’s career was not always so bright, even following an incredible performance in 2010 as Temple Grandin.

“I was stuck,” the 34-year-old tells the August issue of Vogue of her attempts to find another role. “It was confusing. I got a lot of plaudits, and it didn’t translate into more work. I was really, really struggling during that time.”

Claire Danes at the 2016 Emmys
(AFP/Getty Images)

To what extent?

Danes says she didn’t sign up for a TV show or a movie for two years “and a point came where I thought, ‘I really like interior design.'”

Fortunately for Showtime viewers, however, the actress veered away from matching paint colors and instead matched wits with some acting heavyweights.

She sought out Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Jodie Foster for advice. And what lessons did these veterans pass along?

“You have to pick your battles on set. You have to come to work from a place of love. You have to stay hydrated when you have crying scenes. You have to go to college. And you have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl!”

Danes gave birth to a son in December (she is married to actor Hugh Dancy) and is now considering among her profession’s elite – but you won’t catch this star comparing herself to Streep.

“I’m just a big old nerd,” Danes says.