Simone Ashley to play the female lead, Kate Sharma, on Bridgerton season two

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Dear Readers, I have an amazing announcement for those of you thirsting for any morsel of news about the upcoming season of Bridgerton. It has come to my attention that our team has found the next diamond of the season. (record scratch) I wish I could keep this farce going by pretending to be Lady Whistledown, but I am too excited about this announcement. Shondaland and Deadline have confirmed that Chris Van Dusen and the Bridgerton team have found their Kate for Anthony Bridgerton’s season two love interest. Kate meets Anthony after his breakup with opera singer Siena Rosso. While his relationship was rocky, Anthony was constantly interfering in his sister Daphne’s love life and almost derailed her romance with Simone. At the end of season one, Anthony had seemingly quit his meddling ways and was on the hunt for his viscountess. Simone Ashley will play the woman he pursues, Kate Sharma, (Sheffield in the books). And we will have to wait to find out what happens in the season two when it airs hopefully next year because I am sure Kate’s story line will veer a bit from the book. With that being said, Simone Ashley is not new to scene. Simone is known for her role as Olivia in Netflix’s Sex Education in which she absolutely killed it. Below is more on the announcement:

In Season 2, Bridgerton continues to break conventions on race. Anthony’s love interest (named Kate Sheffield in Quinn’s novel) and her family were conceived by the series’ creative team as being of Indian descent in a continuation of the reimagined world created in Season 1, which included several major Black characters, including the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) and Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel).

As Season 2 leads, 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 center of Season 1. (Page is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend.)

Ashley is one of several cast additions for Season 2 of Bridgerton, which will start filming this spring in London.

“We have a bunch of new characters we are going to be introducing,” creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen said in announcing the 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.”

The focal point of Season 2 was teased in the final minutes of the Season 1 finale when Anthony revealed to Daphne and Simon his plans of “finding and promptly declaring my intentions to my new viscountess” after the heartbreaking end of his relationship with opera singer Siena.

“We left him at the end of the first season at a bit of a crossroads, so I’m looking forward to jumping in and discovering how he fares on the marriage market,” Van Dusen said in the interview, noting that his hope is for Page and Dynevor to return.

[From Deadline]

Y’all I bloody called it! If you need to refresh your memory I was calling for Kate to be cast as a dark-skinned black woman or dark-skinned South Asian woman because season one was heavy on racially ambiguous black women and the villain was a dark-skinned black man – Simon’s father. Let’s just say the colorism wasn’t lost on me but didn’t keep me from enjoying the show. I hoped that Shondaland and Chris would redeem themselves with the casting of Kate and they did not disappoint. I think Simone is a beautiful addition to the cast. Look at her! She is stunning. Now I wonder how they will rewrite her family history as it would seem they are giving her an actual Hindu (Sharma instead of Sheffield) surname. Will she be coming to England from India? I cannot wait until behind the scenes news drops on the new Shondaland Bridgerton podcast on Spotify.

Now I really need to go read book two as everyone that has read the books says it’s their favorite. As you all know, I did not like Anthony much in season one and most of you said that they made him more bullish than he actually was in the books. To be fair I actually like Jonathan Bailey who plays Anthony so it will be nice to see him alongside Simone. I do hope they have more chemistry than Rege and Phoebe. I look forward to the racy romp that will be season two of Bridgerton. And I would like to personally welcome Simone Ashley on board. Simone is going to be fire!

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photos credit: Getty, Netflix and via Twitter and Instagram

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68 Responses to “Simone Ashley to play the female lead, Kate Sharma, on Bridgerton season two”

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  1. Sierra says:

    With this, Kamala as VP, Google CEO etc, South Indians are ruling right now.

    As a South Indian, I am really happy to see we are getting recognised. Most importantly, we are not getting whitewashed.

    • Dr Chi says:

      Jamaicans are ruling, blacks are ruling. The point is that we see representation everywhere and that not one race is held as being superior. Your comment is doing that.

      • Kath says:

        Her comment is not doing that. She is just happy that people like her are getting recognized. How is that wrong?

      • MarcelMarcel says:

        @DrChi Sierra is just celebrating the achievements of her fellow South Indians. Nothing in her comment remotely implies that she thinks South Indians are ‘superior’.
        Anyhow I tapped out of the first season before the weird sex scene between Daphne and Simon. But the casting of Simone is making me reconsider!

    • marehare says:

      She is lovely. I love this show!

  2. Lemons says:

    She is absolutely gorgeous. Great choice.

    I cannot wait for season 2.

    • Levans says:

      I second that Lemons! She is stunning!

    • liz says:

      Same! So much the same!

    • sa says:

      I just watched season 1 this weekend and I almost wish I’d waited because I am now so impatient for more!

      My only apprehension about season 2 is that I really disliked Anthony for much of season 1. But he showed some growth towards the end of the season and I guess I’m hoping that’s part of the point, that we continue to see that growth in season 2.

      Here’s an embarrassing admission (that no one asked for). I read a few of the books years ago, including Anthony’s book. But, until watching this show, I didn’t know how to pronounce Viscount. I read it as vis-count. I am so uncultured.

    • Elizabeth Phillips says:

      She IS gorgeous! Can’t wait for season 2.

    • Keroppi says:

      Agree! Cannot wait!

  3. Elvie says:

    This is very exciting!! Great casting choice and I’m glad they took the criticisms onboard.

    • Big Little Sighs says:

      I was wondering if this casting is in part a response to the criticism they received. Not to say that she as an actress doesnt deserve it. I am sure she will be great. I am just wondering if they heard people’s opinions on the obvious colorism.

  4. Becks1 says:

    I was so excited when I saw this last night!! I think its a great casting choice.

    anthony is definitely a lot different in the books, so I’m interested to see how they swing him around, so to speak. I’m also interested to see who they cast as Kate’s sister – if she will be a white woman (in the book she is blonde haired, blue eyed, very English rose looking, and Kate is described as dark haired and dark eyed, they’re half sisters) or how they will handle that.

    And we’re going to have the pall mall scene!!! We all know they cant leave out the mallet of death lol.

  5. ao says:

    Wow! Her beauty is breathtaking! Good!

  6. Angie says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait.

  7. Kate says:

    Yessssss I am so stoked about this! I just read the books to quench my Bridgerton thirst and am excited about this. She is gorgeous! And the spark she gives off in her photos looks like she will be perfect to handle the smart and sassy character that Kate is in the books.

  8. Ninks says:

    This is such exciting news. Kate is by far the best Bridgerton spouse and her relationship with Anthony is my favourite in the series. The completely butchered Anthony’s character in season one to make Simon and Daphne more likable than their book versions so they have a lot if work to do to redeem show!Anthony to make worthy of this amazing woman. But I’ve very excited about the casting. Brilliant choice.

    • sunny says:

      Same! Kate and Anthony’s love story is my favourite. Also excited by the casting and hope they cast another South Asian woman to play Kate’s little sister(the catalyst of Kate and Anthony’s story)

      • Ninks says:

        Well Kate and Edwina are half sisters so Edwina must be at least mixed race. It would be great if she and Mary are also both South Asian. I love the Sheffields so much in the books so I’m really excited to meet the Sharmas and fall in love with all of them.

      • Godwina says:

        Why “must” the half-sister be mixed-race? Can’t all three parents be Indian? I’m confused.

      • MF1 says:

        In the book, Edwina is often considered more beautiful by men because she’s fairer than Kate (who’s a brunette). So my guess is that they’ll cast a mixed race or light skinned South Asian actress.

      • Ninks says:

        @Godwina I just meant that as Kate and Edwina are half sisters and have the same father that Edwina must be at least mixed race as in she shouldn’t be played by a white actress.

      • Godwina says:

        Oh, definitely that! I see.

    • SarahCS says:

      Agreed, I hope they can turn him around. Book Anthony is likeable and I have struggled with tv Anthony so far.,

      • Aud says:

        I haven’t read the books but also don’t think tv Anthony is all that unlikable. I just saw him as a man under a lot of pressure who is still trying to find himself. He made mistakes, but learned from them. He’s human.

  9. Sofia says:

    She’s gorgeous! Although I am North Indian, I wish I was half as gorgeous lol.

    Looks and superficial aspects aside, I’m excited to see her with Jonathan (Anthony). Book readers have raised the bar for me and have said their story is very good and in some aspects, better than Simon’s and Daphne’s.

    • Midnight@theOasis says:

      @Sofia. Question. Is there any other distinction between South Indian vs North Indian other than (I assume) geographical location? I notice posters tend to identify themselves as either South or North Indian.

      • Sofia says:

        There are differences. Although it varies for people and it even varies amongst the North and the South. The North isn’t so closely defined if that’s the right term the way the South is so there’s cultural differences between the various parts of the North too.

        But in general there’s culture differences. Also languages: the South tends to speak Tamil/Telgu and the North is more Hindi. But even those languages have variations in areas. There’s also food differences as in both the North and the South have different dishes that are more popular in restaurants.

        Some people don’t see a massive difference and some do. It depends on who you are.

      • Sierra says:

        As a South Indian, I can tell you that we have suffered racial abuse from North Indians for decades.

        From our darker skin colours to local traditions to our mannerisms.

        North Indians always saw themselves as more beautiful (because they were fairer), more intellectual and more glamorous.

        However, since the last decade, South India has become more powerful both in politics, corporate world, sport and entertainment.

      • Midnight@theOasis says:

        Thank you for responding and educating me. I love when posters share information and enlighten others.

      • Ela says:

        I am a South African of South Indian descent. For me, there seems to be even differences in how Hinduism in practiced. I am a Hindu but I have never in my life played Holi (festival of color) or tied a Rakhi for my brother’s (a ritual for brothers and sisters). My brothers would flat out refuse to give me money. Lol
        The Hinduism you see in Bollywood is not exactly like the Hinduism I practice.
        On the other hand something like Thaipusam is specific to South Indians.

    • Angie says:

      It sounds like you’re making the distinction that because you are North Indian, by default one would assume that you would be more gorgeous than her because she’s South Indian. Is this a colorist thing?

      • Sofia says:

        What? What is this comment I’m sorry?

        As highlighted above, people feel a distinction between North and South Indians. They’re two very different cultures and identities. And the South has suffered historically by the hands of the North.

        I was simply making the distinction that I’m North Indian because I don’t want to assert myself into a culture and identity that isn’t mine.

        For you it might not be two different identities, but it is for the people who actually belong to those identities

      • Julie says:

        I’m not Indian but I caught that too. Gross

      • Sofia says:

        @Julie: That was not my intention. And I certainly don’t have “Aryan” features (but you don’t know that). Once again, I was distinguishing myself because there are two different cultures at play.

        And please stay out of Indian colourism issues unless you’re Indian yourself or have knowledge on the subject. Calling me gross is a disgusting comment and reeks of passing judgement on something you have no experience about.

      • ethyy says:

        Ya’ll need to chill, there was nothing wrong with her comment – stop speaking for or over POC especially when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Angie says:

        @ethyy I’m mixed black and Indian so no need to lecture me on speaking over or for WOC. I have faced this colorism all my life, so I know of what I speak. Thanks.

  10. Ela says:

    As a dark skinned woman of Indian descent, this gives me so much joy. I come from a South Indian community and she could so easily pass for a friend or a neighbor. I wish I could say cousin but no one in my family is that gorgeous. Lol

  11. Bibi says:

    Yaaaaaasssssss this will so entertaining!!!

  12. TQ says:

    You called it, Oya! What a great addition! Can’t wait for Season 2!

  13. SarahCS says:

    Yay!! I loved Kate in the books and this woman totally fits with a mental picture of her (plus please can they have Newton the corgi).

    I’m still only two episodes into the first season in part because I was so annoyed by Anthony’s character, it just was just so exaggerated and I felt staying closer to the book with why Daphne wasn’t married yet would also have worked (I also felt they did her dirty by selling her looks over her character in the beginning anyway).

  14. Watson says:

    This woman is a total smoke show!!!!

  15. Common sense says:

    What is not to like about this, absolutely nothing. Although I do feel for her. The pressure must be enormous for coming into such a well received show like bridgerton. Phoebe and Regé-jean did such a wonderful job as leads with such great chemistry. Jonathan is already settled in the show, so much is expected of her and that must be intimidating.

    OAN: I hope the Featherington sisters, Prudence and Philippa have more screen time and dialogue, I really enjoyed them. The Queen must also have more screen time , Golda is really amazing in that role. The other bridgerton sister, Francesca should also have more screen time. Maybe Penelope and Eloise can fall to the background a bit.

    I thought the first season was an improvement from the book. I read the book after I watched the show and I think it is best for me that way because everything on the show was new to me. I will do the same thing with the second season. Plus, I have so much to occupy me with lecturing and my PhD. I can survive until the next season comes out.

    • Aud says:

      I am hoping Lady Danbury continues to appear! She was my favourite character in season one

      • Becks1 says:

        She becomes a bigger figure in the books IMO as time goes on (in Colin’s story she gets a LOT of “face time” so to speak) so there is no reason for them to write her off at this point even without Simon being the male lead. I think Lady Danbury fans will still see her a lot (I dont think she is very prominent in Benedict’s story which is #3 but I could easily see them work her in as a major character.)

  16. MellyMel says:

    She’s gorgeous and I like her on Sex Education. Very excited to see the chemistry between her and Jonathan (Anthony).

    • Margot says:

      Thanks! She was so familiar to me, but I couldn’t remember which show I’d seen her in. Liked Sex Education a lot.

  17. Godwina says:

    She is a stunning woman–that unflattering top photo, why?

  18. Fleur says:

    I’ve never seen her before but I’m already stunned by her face. Wow!

  19. FilmTurtle says:

    She is just a supporting character in “Sex Education” (second season, primarily) but SO good, especially a don’t-miss episode in S2 when a bunch of the girls get detention.

  20. Mia says:

    She’s so beautiful. It’s like looking into the sun, my poor eyes are not worthy of her symmetry 😂

  21. Larisa says:

    What? Simon’s father was the villain? The dead guy who appears in 2,5 flashbacks? What a reach. The villain were the Featheringtons – the white family.

    • Becks1 says:

      In the Simon-Daphne relationship, yes, Simon’s father was the villain. He was the one who abandoned Simon and did it so thoroughly that Simon was willing to ruin his marriage over the baggage from his father.

    • Veronica S. says:

      The Featheringtons were antagonists, but they were hardly villains. The mother may have unlikeable qualities, but there are plenty of scenes that frame her as sympathetic and just doing the best she can to maintain her daughter’s dowries and get them good marriages. Even the character she spends most of the seasons knocking heads with (her pregnant charge) has a moment of empathy and understanding with her toward the end.

      Simon’s father, on the other hand, is framed as a narcissistic brute. He cares only for his own legacy at the expense of his wife and child, and he abuses Simon badly enough that the repercussions of that abuse are the source of the character’s primary pathos and drive the main conflict between Simon and Daphne. That’s more like villain territory. Mind, I think Simon’s boxing friend offsets it because he’s a dark-skinned man who clearly loves his wife and wants to do best by her and his family, but I did find it notable that most of the WOC are lighter-skinned, save for Simon’s mentor, who is too old to be a love interest.

    • Aud says:

      He was the villain.

      But Simon’s best friend Will is also a dark skinned black man along with Jeffries, both seen as good people. When people make the argument that all of the dark skinned people suck, I always think it’s weird that Will isn’t mentioned at all.

    • sa says:

      I think it’s fair to say that Simon’s father was a villain, but to call him *the* villain greatly discounts Berbrooke’s contribution.

  22. Veronica S. says:

    At least they heard some of the criticism, I suppose. I noticed one or two characters of Asian descent in the background of S1, so I was wondering if we would see more of them in future seasons. Lovely young woman. I really envy woman with those big, gorgeous, almond shaped eyes. They’re so dreamy looking in photos and give you lots of real estate for creative eye looks.

  23. K says:

    Is there some subcategory for an award show in the category of “Most Hotness Onscreen “!? I freaking love what this show is doing.

  24. LRobb says:

    I am happy re this casting. I didnt find the black people in Season 1 to be racially ambiguous, ranging from Rege-Jean’s caramel complexion to the lovely chocolate skin of the actor playing the boxer Will. The range looked like that in my black family. Even so, the casting for Kate looks brilliant. Can’t wait for S2.

    • CrazyHeCallsMe says:

      I agree. I didn’t understand the angst about the casting. The black actors reflect the diversity of melanin in my family and throughout the black diaspora.

  25. RoyalBlue says:

    She is gorgeous, and Anthony is my favourite so I can stan this couple!

  26. Normades says:

    She’s gorgeous beyond belief. Anthony was so yawn….

  27. tsk says:

    Not a fan of the actress or the show. I don’t even know who she is, but every single hair in my body stood and I felt that I had to shout to the heavens above: SHE IS GORGEOUS. ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.

  28. newmenow says:

    The cast of Bridgerton is very good looking. This actress is also stunning. I enjoy when shows cast new actors in their projects.
    Bridgerton has pretty people, who also talented, beautiful sets, costumes = I’m ready to watch/rewatch, I hope they make 8 seasons from the books.

    Netflix had better be paying up and signing contracts to keep this show going. :)

    Btw, personally, I could do without all the naked man butts. Just me? no? lol

  29. Arya says:

    Prediction: POC viewers will be huge fans of season 2 but a lot of the white women that loved season 1 will give this season a pass. I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen but I have a bad feeling this is exactly what will happen.

  30. special_cases says:

    I’m so excited for season 2. Oh God, I can’t wait to watch it!!!

    Simone is beautiful and charismatic. I’m so excited about this casting. I already think that she and Anthony will look amazing together.