We have our next Bridgerton leading lady and she's South Asian! After *much speculation*, Simone Ashley was officially introduced as Kate on February 16, 2021. She will be starring in the second season of the hit Netflix show, which will focus on Anthony Bridgerton's love story. The next season is actually based on the Bridgerton novel The Viscount Who Loved Me, the second of eight books in the popular series by Julia Quinn.
Here's what you need to know about Simone Ashley, who will be playing the lead role in season two of Netflix's Bridgerton:
According to reports, Simone is 25 years old.
Meanwhile, her soon-to-be co-star Jonathan Bailey is 32.
What's her character going to be like in Bridgerton?
So. Kate Sharma is described as a "smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools—Anthony Bridgerton very much included." In the second Bridgerton book, Anthony is ready to settle down and he decides he wants to marry Kate's sister Edwina. But what happens when he can't stop thinking about Kate instead? Drama, scandal, and gossip, that's what. As someone who already read the novel, I'm telling you: you are not ready for this because it might be even more intense than the first season!
Where have we seen Simone Ashley before?
You'll probably recognize her from the Netflix series Sex Education. Simone plays Olivia, a member of a popular school clique called "The Untouchables." She also had supporting roles in the shows The Sister and Broadchurch.
She has spoken up about the challenges of being an actress with South Asian heritage, saying:
"Yes, colorism is an ongoing issue. As is being typecast, being looked over because of the color of your skin, losing roles to girls that are more 'relatable' to target audiences and markets. But if I surrender to all of that, where would I be going? Nowhere! F*ck that," Simone told Veylex in an interview. "I really believe in myself and in other dark-skinned women, especially South Asian women! We are smart, we are talented and we all have something special to offer as artists!"
Simone's parents were—and still are—worried about her being an actress!
She told Veylex: "They still find it quite scary and unsettling. There is no crystal ball, no security, no guarantee. Which can be a parent's worst nightmare. But they know I'm a smart lady. You can't spend your life going with what your parents want, or your friends, teachers, lovers, want. You have to be your own hero and just go with your gut." She added that her parents are incredibly protective, but that she has always done things her way and she tries to reassure them as much as she can.
Her Instagram handle is @simoneashley:
We can't wait to meet her as Kate!