Mirallegro is a BAFTA Award-nominated performer who has appeared in television, film, radio drama, and theatre. Recognized in 2012 by Screen International as one of its Stars of Tomorrow, he has been lauded as one of the United Kingdom's "most promising young actors." Growing up in Greater Manchester, Mirallegro attended the Manchester School of Acting as a teenager, and came to public attention after being chosen at age sixteen for his role in Hollyoaks.
Mirallegro's Italian father is Sicilian, and his mother, Maureen McLaughlin, is originally Irish.
He grew up in Heywood, Greater Manchester and for a time attended a boarding school outside the U.K. (at which he was lonely and felt out of place), as well as Siddal Moor Sports College in Heywood, and the Manchester School of Acting. "Looking back on his teenage years, he describes himself as 'quite rebellious'. 'I was quite naughty with my mum. We just used to argue and I'd run out of the house and leave home. That was partly why I went to live with my dad in Spain in my early teens. I was a very active child, so when I was bored, I'd let her know.'" Due to Italian being his father's native language, and the time Mirallegro spent living on the continent, he has conversational fluency in Italian and Spanish.
Mirallegro "fell into" acting in his mid-teens after following his sister Claudia to improvisation classes. At one of his first acting classes, he said in an interview, "I was so scared I had to get one of the other lads to say my lines."
He is a supporter of Manchester United F.C.
Mirallegro's first professional acting role came in 2007, after he successfully auditioned to portray Newt, an emo teenager in the long-running British soap-opera Hollyoaks. Although he voluntarily left Hollyoaks after two years at age eighteen to follow other acting projects, Mirallegro was grateful for the opportunity to appear on the show. "Hollyoaks is where I learnt a lot of the craft, being in front of a camera six days a week. . . . That's certainly an experience you don’t get in drama school."
When filming for Hollyoaks, Mirallegro was also playing Cam Spencer in LOL, a web series which explored sex, drugs and relationships. In 2010 Mirallegro appeared as a gay youngster who suffers bullying in school because of his sexuality; his appearance came in an episode of series two of the BBC drama series Moving On.
Beginning as well in 2010, he appeared as a guest in nine episodes of the regular BBC series Doctors. In the episodes he played the role of an Italian foreign exchange student.
In December 2010, Mirallegro was in series one of BBC One 1930s-period remake of Upstairs Downstairs. He portrayed a young footman called Johnny Proude, who took up a position in service to escape the poverty of the northern mining town where he was born. The BBC re-commissioned the production for a second series in which he appeared again as Johnny. In the second series his character appeared in a boxing tournament, requiring Mirallegro to take boxing lessons for the role.
In 2011 Mirallegro appeared in the BBC's three-part psychological thriller Exile, playing the teenage version of leading character Tom Ronstadt (played by John Simm). Later in the same year Mirallegro played the role of Sam, a gay heroin addict in the BBC drama The Body Farm.
In 2013 he portrayed Finn Nelson, the love interest of the main female character in E4's popular teenage comedy drama My Mad Fat Diary. That same year he also played the role of Joe Middleton in the BBC drama The Village.
In 2014, Mirallegro portrayed a teenager prosecuted for murder under the Joint Enterprise law in the controversial BBC One production Common written by Jimmy McGovern. Called "a bleak, powerful drama thick with political intent", a review continued: "Nico Mirallegro continues to prove himself as the best actor ever to graduate from Hollyoaks,".
The 2015 television film The Ark told the story of Noah from the Hebrew Bible, along with elements from Islamic tradition. Mirallegro portrayed Kenan Noah's youngest (and extrabiblical) son, whose wish to follow a path different from his father and brothers results in his being swept away in the Great Flood.
Mirallegro also starred in HBO's Virtuoso, directed and partially written by Alan Ball. Set in the 18th century, Mirallegro played a self-taught violin prodigy who travels to Vienna to learn with other young musicians.
Mirallegro's first film was shot in 2009—a short called Six Minutes of Freedom. He starred as a troubled teenager training to be a boxer while his father is in prison. The film was entered into four film festivals, and it won Best New Wave Short Film at the Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival.
In the summer of 2010 Mirallegro finished filming for his role in McQueen the Movie. He played Sam, a Jewish boy who is one of the two protagonists of the story. The film is set in suburbia in the North of England in the 1990s.
Mirallegro portrayed a teenage lead guitarist in a full-length film set in the 1990s about the Manchester-formed rock band The Stone Roses. The film, Spike Island, was released in 2012. The Sun described the performances of Mirallegro and the rest of the cast as "brilliant," and he called his time making Spike Island "six weeks of pure bliss."
Shooting for Socrates is a 2014 football drama telling "the underdog story of a Northern Ireland team who kick off their world cup against football giants, Brazil. The game is a baptism of fire for [Mirallegro's] character, David Campbell, who makes his Northern Ireland debut in front of 50,000 people . . . the day before his 21st birthday." The film's cast was recognized as talented, but reviews of the script were less positive.
In 2017 Nico Mirallegro was cast in a short film, "Murdered For Being Different" which tells the true story of the attack of Sophie Lancaster and Rob Maltby from Rob Maltby's point of view. Mirallegro portrayed Rob Maltby. The drama was shown on BBC Three and BBC One as it was the ten year anniversary since the attack happened.
In January 2014, Mirallegro appeared at London's Royal Court Theatre in the drama The Pass, in which Russell Tovey is a football player coming to terms with his homosexuality. Mirallegro reprised his comic role as a hotel bellboy in an "irrepressible performance" in a 2016 film version of the work, which premiered at the BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival in March 2016.
Since 2014 Mirallegro has performed in several BBC 4 radio dramas, including as the eponymous male character in Orpheus and Eurydice; for this role he was nominated Best Actor in the BBC Audio Drama Awards for 2016.
He was later cast as the protagonist in 79 Birthdays (2016), and as the son in Over Here, Over There (2016). Over Here, Over There is a radio drama inspired by the plight of asylum seekers in the U.K.
Mirallegro plays in celebrity football matches in different parts of England for charities, including Help For Heroes, and Once Upon a Smile.