Nicola was born in Irvine in 1970 to father Robin and mother Joan. She grew up in Prestwick and Dreghorn, attending Dreghorn Primary School and Greenwood Academy.
As a teenager she had first-hand experience of the damage inflicted on communities by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative governments, governments that Scotland had not voted for. Despite Labour having over 50 Scottish MPs at the time, they proved powerless to stop the suffering imposed by Tory policies. It soon became apparent to Nicola that only with independence could Scotland truly prosper. So, at the age of 16 and already a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Nicola joined the SNP.
From school Nicola went on to study law at Glasgow University. She has often commented that but for free tuition she would never have been able to further her education. For this reason she has resolved that for as long as she is in office the SNP will never re-introduce fees.
After graduating Nicola took on a post as a solicitor at Drumchapel Law Centre. However the draw of politics was never far away and in the 1992 Westminster election she stood as the SNP candidate for Glasgow and Shettleston, the youngest candidate in Scotland at the time.
Nicola’s first election victory came at the age of 29 when she was elected as a city of Glasgow MSP in 1999. She was re-elected as a Glasgow MSP in 2003. During the SNP’s time in opposition she was spokesperson for Education, Justice and Health.
2007 saw the SNP make the breakthrough to form a minority government, with Nicola herself wresting the Glasgow Govan constituency from Labour. In the SNP’s first period of power she served as Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and Health Secretary. Nicola delivered on two key pledges in the SNP’s manifesto - the reversal of proposed closures of two A&E departments by Labour and the introduction of free prescriptions.
In 2011, following boundary changes, Nicola stood as the SNP candidate for Glasgow Southside, which included most of her former Govan constituency. She was elected with 54 per cent of the vote.
With the independence referendum looming in 2013 Nicola was handed a key role, drafting the White Paper, Scotland’s Future, and becoming a leading figure in the Yes campaign.
Post-referendum and Alex Salmond’s resignation it was Nicola’s time to step up to lead both her party and the Scottish Government. She was elected as First Minister on 19 November 2014. As the first woman to hold the position, and the first female leader of any of the devolved UK administrations, Nicola’s commitment to equality has been clear right from the outset. Hers’ is the first gender balanced Cabinet in the UK. A move praised by acting head of the UN Women’s Policy Division, Begona Lasagabastar, when she said: “First Minister Sturgeon has formed a role-model Cabinet for others to emulate.”
Nicola lives in Glasgow with her husband Peter. Outside of politics her main passion is reading. And, as anyone who follows social media knows, she is a prolific tweeter, posting on everything from politics to her favourite TV shows.