Netflix has cast British-Indian actor Simone Ashley, as the female lead for the second season of Bridgerton.
Simone Ashley (Sex Education, Because the Night) will play the female lead as Kate, opposite Jonathan Bailey in Season 2 of Netflix and Shondaland’s popular Regency-era period drama series based on Julia Quinn’s romance novels, confirms Deadline.
Season 2 will centre on the search for a suitable marriage for the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony (Bailey), as chronicled in the second book of Quinn’s Bridgerton series, The Viscount Who Loved Me.
Shondaland producers changed the character’s surname to better match the English actor’s South Asian heritage. South Asian actors are rarely cast in leading and romantic roles in North American TV, which makes the news of Ashley’s addition to Bridgerton chime louder with South Asian fans of the series.
Simone Ashley is Miss Kate Sharma.
— shondaland tv (@shondaland) February 15, 2021
The actor has previously appeared in Broadchurch and Pokémon Detective Pikachu, but her breakthrough role came with being cast as Olivia in Netflix’s smart, funny and heartfelt Sex Education, which is led by Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield and Ncuti Gatwa.
Bailey and Ashley will succeed Page and Phoebe Dynevor, who became global stars as Simon and Daphne, the couple whose sweeping romance was at the centre of Season 1.
Deadline shared a quote from creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen who said: “We have a bunch of new characters we are going to be introducing,” as he announced Season 2 renewal on Today with Hoda & Jenna last month.
“Anthony is going to have a love interest next season, and I think it’s going to be as sweeping and moving and as beautiful as viewers of the first season have come to expect from the show,” Van Dusen added.
Netflix also took to social media to make the announcement and shared a striking photo of Ashley for fans with the same description of her character, Kate.
Get ready to fall in love with Simone Ashley, who will play Kate in Season 2 of Bridgerton.
Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included. ` pic.twitter.com/xdVilOjL4Y
— Netflix (@netflix) February 15, 2021
Ashley is one of several cast additions for Season 2 of Bridgerton, which will start filming this spring in London.