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.
Simone Ashley is Miss Kate Sharma.
— shondaland tv (@shondaland) February 15, 2021
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.
YESSS!!! I stan a gorgeous Desi actress as romantic period drama female lead for Season 2 on #Bridgerton ￼! 😍💃🏽💖
I loved Simone Ashley on Sex Education!
— Aparna R. (hiatus) (@aparna_r_writer) February 16, 2021
So happy for her. I really liked her character in Sex Education. Also a South Asian woman leading a show is so damn rare, especially in a period romance drama. This is such a lovely opportunity for her, one that many POC don’t get. I’m excited to see Jonathan and Simone’s dynamic
— Nirat (@NiratAnop) February 15, 2021
The fact that a desi girl is gonna be representing all us Anthony Bridgerton fans and gets to make out with that gorgeous specimen of a man just makes me so emotionally joyful, THE EUPHORIA
— reshme subramaniam (@Tiger_lily24) February 15, 2021
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.