Bridgerton Announces Simone Ashley As Season Two Lead

The Sex Education alum will play Anthony Bridgerton’s love interest in Bridgerton’s sophomore season.

Hear ye, Bridgerton fans: Simone Ashley will be joining the London ton for season two as leading lady Kate Sharma. Clearly well-versed in steamy Netflix shows — Ashley played Olivia Hanan in the raunchy hit Sex Education — the 25-year-old actress is cast opposite John Bailey’s Anthony as the eldest Bridgerton’s love interest.

The Pride and Prejudice-meets-Gossip Girl Regency era drama made Netflix history as the streaming service’s most-watched show, amassing over 82 million views in its first month. Bridgerton’s casting decision was announced in a tweet from Shondaland, which suggested that Sharma won’t play victim to Anthony’s playboy — er, rakish — ways. Her character is based off Kate Sheffield from the second book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series, with the last name altered to reflect Ashley’s South Asian identity.

While Bridgerton made waves for its diverse cast, criticism of its first season pointed out the show’s colorism and lack of South Asian representation. Fans of the show sung praises for Ashley’s casting — South Asian women are seldom portrayed as romantic leads in Western television.

Still lusting after more Bridgerton content? Quench your thirst this weekend as heartthrob Regé-Jean Page hosts Saturday Night Live alongside musical guest Bad Bunny.

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