Simone Ashley: Bridgerton’s new leading lady – your need to know

You may have even seen her on Sex Education

simone ashley bridgerton

by Hannah Mellin |
Updated on

Remember the name Simone Ashley, because we're predicting HUGE things for the British actress as she takes the reins of the brand new series of Netflix's Bridgerton alongside the likes of Jonathan Bailey, Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte) and Luke Thompson (Benedict Bridgerton).

However, aside from her new role in Netflix's Bridgerton, Simone is a pretty established actress already. Here's your low down...


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Who is Simone Ashley?

Simone is a British actress who is probably best known for her role as Bridgerton’s new leading lady, after the Duke and Duchess of Hastings (Simon and Daphne aka Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor) finally got their happy ever after in season one.

Simone will play Anthony Bridgerton’s new love interest Kate Sharma. However you may have previously spotted the actress on Sex Education and ITV drama The Sister.

Where is Simone Ashley from?

Simone was born in Camberley, Surrey. Her family has Indian heritage with a Tamil background.

What is Simone Ashley’s background?

She’s from South Asian descent with her parents being Tamil Indian. In an interview with Veylex, Simone described what it was like becoming an actress in an Indian family full of traditional academics, "They still find it quite scary and unsettling. There is no crystal ball, no security, no guarantee. Which can be a parents worst nightmare."

She has also spoken about the issue of racism in the entertainment industry and has praised Bridgerton's "colourblind casting".

"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. And usually that mentality breeds positive, bright, and beaming opportunity. It won’t be a ‘challenge’ for very long, the world is changing."

Bridgerton has been praised for its rich and diverse cast, which sees Black and biracial actors portraying some of the most prominent characters. Simone is the first South Asian actor to be cast in the series.

Simone recently spoke to Glamour about Bridgerton and she said, "I didn’t really watch period dramas much because I felt like I couldn’t relate to them, maybe because I couldn’t see myself within one."

She then said this changed once Bridgerton came along.

How old is Simone Ashley?

Her birthday is 30 March 1995, making her 26 years old. She’s also an Aries.

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What other TV shows has Simone Ashley been in?

sex education simone ashley

You may know Simone from her role as Olivia Hanan is Netflix series Sex Education. She later becomes friends with Maeve, Lily, Ola and Viv.

Who is Simone Ashley's character in Sex Education?

Simone's Sex Education character Olivia has appeared in all three series of the hit Netflix show. She is a member of the Untouchables at Moordale Secondary as well as Otis Milburn's first official client in his sex therapy business.

In the second season, Olivia tells her Indian parents that she’s practicing upstairs with her “dance partner,” Rahim but they are really having sex - something that she hides from her strict parents.

Simone previously told Wonderland magazine that she is proud of the progression of her roles, admitting, "With Bridgerton, it’s much more intense than Sex Education in the sense that if I’m not filming, I’m horse riding, training or in rehearsals."

Has Simone Ashley dated Asa Butterfield?

Simone's Sex Education co-starAsa Butterfield has been linked to a few famous women in his career, so there's no surprise that some question whether the pair had dated in the past, having spent a lot of time together on set.

Though we can't be sure that Simone and Asa have never dated, it looks like they are just really good friends.

Who did Simone Ashley play in Broadchurch?

One of Simone's first ever roles was Dana in Broadchurch season 3, opposite David Tenant and Olivia Colman in 2013. She played a waitress at a party where another woman was sexually assaulted.

lana broadchurch simone ashley

When will Simone Ashley be in Bridgerton?

Season two of Bridgerton will drop on 25th March 2022. The first official trailer was recently released. It shows Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton) taking centre stage as the main star of the second season, alongside Simone as his potential bride (Kate Sharma).

Not a whole lot is known about Kate, as a teaser on the show's official Instagram makes clear. She has been positioned as one of the leading characters in the series, however, so we are excited to learn more about her character.

The role of Edwina Sharma, Kate’s sister who also plays a key role in Anthony’s love story, will be played by newcomer Charithra Chandran and Shelley Conn will play the girls’ mother, Lady Mary Sharma.

Readers of the Bridgerton series will already know how iconic Kate was in the books and how she’ll affect Anthony Bridgerton. According to Deadline, Kate and her family, "were conceived by the series’ producing team as being of Indian descent in a continuation of the reimagined, multi-racial world of 1880s London’s high society".

Who is Simone Ashley's character based on?

This series is based on the books by Julia Quinn, and there are plenty more plot lines to get through. The Viscount Who Loved Me is the story of Daphne’s brother Anthony and his love interest, Kate Sharma (who is called Kate Sheffield in the book).

On casting Simone as Kate, Julia said, "WE HAVE OUR KATE!!!!! Welcome to #Bridgerton, @simoneasshley! I couldn’t dream of a more perfect Kate, I mean, just LOOK at her expression in that first photo!"

Will Simone Ashley look different as Kate Sharma?

Well, she will definitely have a new regency-period look so expect more elegant dresses.

Simone recently revealed that her body has undergone a transformation since filming for the show and has described the training regime as "intense".

She told Wonderland magazine, "With Bridgerton, it's much more intense than Sex Education in the sense that if I'm not filming, I'm horse riding, training or in rehearsals. I'm in accent training or I'm in a fitting.

"Horse riding… I've never really ridden before. I rode once, years ago, but I did some intense training for that and it turns out I'm a natural at it so that's a great thing. I always knew that this is what I was meant to be doing."

She also added that she had never worn a corset before so adjusting to wearing one for hours at a time was tricky.

"I've never really worn a corset before," she added to the publication.

"So that took some getting used to. My body definitely changed a little bit wearing it and that kind of changed my posture a lot to suit the era."

Simone also opened up about the challenges of wearing a corset in her interview with Glamour. She said, "On my first day, I was like, 'OK, first day as a leading lady, got to eat lots of food, be really energised.' So, I had this massive portion of salmon and that’s when I needed to be sick, basically because I was wearing the corset.

"I realised when you wear the corset, you just don’t eat. It changes your body. I had a smaller waist very momentarily. Then the minute you stop wearing it, you’re just back to how your body is. I had a lot of pain with the corset, too, I think I tore my shoulder at one point!"

Does Simone Ashley have Instagram?

She sure does, go and follow her and fall in love with her flawless style and beautiful face, @simoneasshley.

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