Move over, Daphne: all eyes are on Kate. Simone Ashley, Bridgerton's new leading lady, is about to step into the shoes (and corset) of the eldest Sharma sister in Bridgerton season 2 and bring with her important South Asian representation. Needless to say, Regency romance fans are impatiently waiting for the new love story to unfold.
Though Kate's baby sister Edwina (played by Charithra Chandran) is projected to be the wife of eldest Bridgerton son Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), it seems fate steps in and sends the Viscount in another direction...towards another Sharma lady (*coughs*).
Before you get lost in the Bridgerton love triangle when the romance returns to Netflix—as enticing as that invitation might be—let's get to know Simone Ashley, a.k.a. TV's next breakout star.
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Who is Simone Ashley, 'Bridgerton' star?
Recognize Simone Ashley? That's because she's no stranger to the streaming platform, having played Olivia in Sex Education season 3. Now she has landed the leading role in one of the most-watched Netflix shows of all time.
Plus, you've likely come across Ashley in Deep State, where she plays Al, as well as Detective Pikachu and A Working Mom's Nightmare. If we're willing to bet, this gal is just getting started!
The 26-year-old actress was born in Surrey, England, but found herself splitting her time between California and England pretty much her entire life.
She's a true Renaissance woman: sports-oriented, a master in theater and a classically trained musician. With so many accolades, her choice of roles will undoubtedly abound. Although specifics about forthcoming projects have been kept quiet, we suspect she'll likely return to Netflix in the near future.
She's also a fashionista, having sat front row at the 2022 Fashion Week shows in Milan and Paris. Perhaps she will use that inspiration for a new project? (We're not counting down or anything...well, not really.)
“Like, you look at what Rihanna’s done with Fenty lingerie,” she told Glamour UK (opens in new tab). “Maybe one day I could do something like that…but give it a moment!”
Simone Ashley Instagram: what's her handle?
Ashley can be found on Instagram at the handle @simoneasshley (opens in new tab), where she posts super-glam fashion shots, pics of her Bridgerton and Sex Education castmates, and adorable peeks at her pets.
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Simone Ashley ethnicity: what is her heritage?
Simone Ashley is of South Asian descent, specifically of the Tamil people, whose ancestry traces to southern India and Sri Lanka.
When asked about advice she'd give to young Indian actors, Ashley told Elle Australia (opens in new tab): “Stop worrying about if people will ‘want’ you, and just do it. We can be blinded by the commercialized side of the industry and think they only want a certain look, a certain type of person."
She continued: "But someone has to change the game sometime! Look at all the incredible movies, TV shows and artists out there of Desi heritage. And they are being celebrated big time. We need to celebrate each other and not guard ourselves by being competitive. Indian girls are so beautiful, and I am so happy to see more and more projects being made that involve all of us!"
But Ashley is aware of the issues of colorism in her industry, saying in an interview with Veylex (opens in new tab): "[It's] 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."
"So I try not to even think twice about any challenges that might come along due to my heritage. I say ‘Yes I can’ and see what happens," Ashley added. "And usually, that mentality breeds positive, bright, and beaming opportunities. It won’t be a ‘challenge’ for very long, the world is changing."
Simone Ashley parents: who are they?
Simone Ashley was raised by her parents, Latha and Gunasekharan, in a scholarly home. “I was the only non-academic in my family," Simone told Vogue (opens in new tab). "Music, film, photography and art were my fortes."
While her parents were helpful and supportive of her, they were nervous about her chosen profession. “They still find it quite scary and unsettling,” Ashley told Veylex. “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."
She continued: "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."
All of her fans are happy she did!
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Simone Ashley on 'Bridgerton' season 2:
Though faithful Bridgeton book readers already know what's in store for Kate and Anthony, viewers are anxious to see the popular enemies-to-lovers theme play out in full on season 2 of Bridgerton. (Ashley's IRL relationship status, however, is somewhat of a mystery.)
In Bridgerton, Kate is always keeping her younger sister in mind, but will she be able to step in and claim Edwina's suitor for herself—even if they got off to a rough start? We have a feeling things will get awfully intense (you did catch those glares between Kate and Anthony, right?) and we suspect Shondaland won't skimp on the steaminess.
In her recent Glamour UK (opens in new tab) interview, Ashely admitted that she never watched period romances before mainly because she could never see herself in one. Now, she is completely changing the game and everyone's thoughts on the genre. (Oh, and she also admitted that those corsets were a killer.) What's more, she landed the role of Kate after a mere two weeks!
Whatever is coming down the pipeline for Ashley—in Mayfair, London, and beyond—we'll be anxiously following along. Until then, we're counting down the days until Bridgerton season 2 premieres on Netflix, on Friday, March 25.
Will Simone Ashley be in 'Bridgerton' season 3?
“We’re going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started,” Ashley told the outlet. “In Season 2, there was a lot of push and pull between Kate and Anthony, there were complications with the family, and then they find each other towards the end. I think everything is just starting. I’d like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in Season 3 and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it.”
We can't wait to see them together again next season!
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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