After what feels like much too long, “Bridgerton” is back this weekend with a new season — and with it a new set of lead characters.
Season two revolves around the oldest Bridgerton son, Anthony, and his quest to finally get married over the course of the season. He sets his sights on the season’s diamond — as deemed by the Queen — Miss Edwina Sharma, who has traveled from India to London to find a suitor.
But any man — even the viscount — must first win over her older sister, Kate. What starts as a tense relationship between Anthony and Kate turns into…well, we won’t spoil it all. But just who is the actress playing Kate Sharma? Meet Simone Ashley, no stranger to your Netflix screen and no stranger to the front row, either.
Ashley, 26, is previously best known for her role in “Sex Education,” another beloved Netflix series, on which she plays Olivia Hanan. The English actress studied musical theater at ArtsEd, one of the UK’s top drama programs (fun fact, Julie Andrews, who voices Lady Whistledown on the show, is an alum) before turning her sights to the profession.
What else to know about the rising star? Well, she’s already making her way in the fashion world, having attended shows like Valentino and Chanel during this most recent fashion month. For the premiere of “Bridgerton” earlier this week she opted for a daring two-piece Gucci ensemble, adding to the list of other major fashion looks she’s gone for during the press tour like a two-piece Chanel set and an electric pink Valentino for the BAFTAs.
While she had obviously heard of the show prior to landing the role for season two, Ashley told the “Today” show that she only started watching once she was auditioning for Kate. As for her chemistry with Jonathan Bailey, who plays Anthony Bridgerton, “we both clicked immediately and shared a really deep enthusiasm for Kanthony’s love story,” she said.
Playing Kate on “Bridgerton” has been a confidence-boosting experience, she told Shondaland.com. “This show and this whole experience have given me the confidence to do all those things and to love myself more, as cheesy as that sounds,” she said.