By Alex Green, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter
Bridgerton star Simone Ashley has said that as a woman of colour she has to work “twice as hard” as her peers in the acting world.
The 27-year-old actress plays Kate Sharma in series two of the hit Netflix show, which follows the siblings of the Bridgerton family as they attempt to find love in Regency-era London.
Ashley, who has Indian Tamil heritage, was raised in Camberley, Surrey and secured her breakthrough role in 2019 in the comedy-drama Sex Education.
Appearing on the Reign With Josh Smith podcast, she said: “I have had to work twice as hard and maybe I haven’t really said that enough to myself and given myself a pat on the back for that.
“For me it has just always been like: ‘I’m just like any other actress, I can do this. I can have a script put in front of me and bring a character to life and I’m smart and got creative ideas and I can do this.’
“But I think, yeah, as a woman and a woman of colour, you do have to work harder.
“We are working twice as hard, but you know what? I would do it again.”
Ashley said she hoped that one day the presence of women of colour in the TV and film industry would become “completely normalised” and that there will be a “sense of ease for women of all heritages and cultures to have doors open for them”.
Describing herself as “a bit of a fighter”, she added: “It’s a nice feeling to just push through and to have your dreams achieved no matter what the hurdles are.”
Bridgerton’s second series shifts its focus to the tumultuous courtship between Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey, and Ashley’s character Kate.
She said they had toasted the completion of their intimate scenes with a glass of Champagne.
“If there’s a bloopers reel for the scenes with me and Johnny, I don’t know how long it could be, but we laughed all day long on that set, whether it was the intimacy scenes or not, but we had so much fun,” he said.
“You’ve got to have fun and you’ve got to laugh at the ridiculousness of it.
“But the intimacy scenes, we really coordinated them in such a detailed way and made sure that everything had a meaning behind it and a thought behind it.
“And obviously then when it comes to the day, it’s just bizarre and weird, but we just get on with it and had a glass of Champagne at the end of the day and just raised the toast to it and just like, ‘Cool. We did it and you know, we smashed it’.”