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Simone Ashley Facts About Bridgerton And So Much More

Simone Ashley Facts About Bridgerton And So Much More
Written by Arindam

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“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.”

1.

Simone Ashley (born Simone Ashwini Pillai) was born in Surrey, England, but had relatives in Ojai, California, where she spent many of her childhood summers. She eventually moved to Los Angeles at age 17 to pursue acting.


Araya Doheny / Getty Images

“They were super supportive,” she told Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live! about her parents. “I think it was a little bit of an intervention when I wound up in LA; [they were] going nuts. But I think I just went.”

2.

After signing with a modeling agency, Simone knew she actually wanted to be an actor. Her first-ever role was as a background “party girl” in 2015’s Straight Outta Compton.


Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

“It was a pretty wild first set to ever be on,” she told Glamour. “I remember Corey Hawkins was in front of me, doing his thing, playing Dre. I really wanted to be like, ‘I want to be an actress too,’ but I didn’t. I just kept quiet.” 

3.

However, that small role led to Simone getting bit parts in projects like Broadchurch and Wolfblood, which in turn landed her her big break role in Sex Education as Olivia Hanan.

4.

Simone has said that working on Sex Education was extremely special and that the cast was like a family.


Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

“We would all stay up until 2 a.m. just chatting,” Simone told Glamour UK. “It was amazing. It was very, very special. I made some friends for life on that set. We all kind of grew up together.” She was particularly close with Aimee Lou Wood and Emma Mackey and said that Asa Butterfield threw amazing game nights. 

5.

Simone was in her trailer filming another movie when she got the call that she’d landed the role of Kate Sharma in Bridgerton Season 2 — and the timing was right after Season 1 had come out.


NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“I was on a movie at the time, and I was in my trailer, and I get a call saying, ‘It’s kind of secret, you can’t tell anyone, but you got the role,” Simone told Jimmy on Jimmy Kimmel Live!  “And then I get a knock on my trailer calling me to set. So I put my phone down, put it on flight mode because it starts blowing up a bit, and then I go to set, and I’m not allowed to tell anyone. And Season 1 had just come out, and everyone was kind of talking about it in the cast, like, ‘Oh, we watched Bridgerton Season 1 over the weekend; I wonder what’s happening in Season 2,’ and I kind of had to just sit there.” 

6.

And when the casting news was eventually announced, Simone was in the process of assembling an Ikea desk, according to Glamour UK. Oh, and she started getting amazing messages of support from legends like Freida Pinto and Mindy Kaling.


Getty Images

“I remember watching Freida in Slumdog Millionaire and Mindy in everything she’s done,” Simone told Glamour UK. “She’s incredible. There’s no one like her. She’s so cool. I’d love to work with her. I think she’s an amazing writer, producer.” 

7.

Simone has a number of favorite scenes from Bridgerton Season 2, because, of course, it would be impossible to choose just one.


Liam Daniel / Netflix

“I love the scene where Kate and Anthony dance for the first time,” she told the New York Times. “And the bee sting scene — I think that’s such a pivot in the story. The stakes are really raised, and they realize they have feelings for one another and that there’s this obstacle now between everything that they’ve worked for. And I love all the horse-riding scenes.”

8.

Behind the scenes of Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey, who plays Anthony, and Simone became great friends and made each other feel comfortable — especially during the more intimate scenes.

9.

And in terms of Bridgerton’s iconic costumes, Simone revealed that she does have a favorite — this look of Kate’s from Episode 5.


Netflix

“It was pretty stunning,” Simone told Glamour UK. “Really beautiful colors.” She described the dress as a “peacock-blue dress.” 

10.

Before Bridgerton, where Simone had to ride horses in several scenes, she had only ridden once before.


Liam Daniel / Netflix

“I’m quite natural and I’m quite sporty anyway,” she told Glamour UK. “At the start, I was in the saddle every other day, pretty much for one to one and a half hours a day. I loved it. After moving from LA, and a lot of change, I think that was something that really helped, because once you’re on the horse, you kind of get out your head and you don’t think of anything else.”

11.

Simone spoke about what it meant to her to see the fan reaction to having her, an Indian woman, in a leading role on Bridgerton.


Liam Daniel / Netflix

“I’m so grateful and wonderfully overwhelmed by the response that we’ve received,” she told the New York Times. “I’m very proud of my heritage, and I’m proud that there are any effects that I’ve had, just me doing my job, especially if they’re positive, and uplifting other women and making them feel seen.”

12.

She also discussed how, as a woman of color, she’s had to work twice as hard to get as far as she has.


Arturo Holmes / Getty Images for the Met Museum/Vogue

“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,” she told the Reign With Josh Smith podcast. “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 as a woman and a woman of color, you do have to work harder…” 

13.

In addition to Simone’s many talents, she’s also a classical singer.


YouTube / Via youtube.com

“I grew up singing quite a lot and studied a lot of classical music, and then that kind of led into musical theater, and I fell in love with musicals,” she told People magazine. 

14.

In terms of her musical inspirations, her favorite band is Fleetwood Mac.


Samir Hussein / Getty Images

“I saw them at the Dodger Stadium about four years ago, and I could only afford a ticket that was really far, far up,” she told Glamour UK. “And I could hardly see them. I lied my way to the front rows because I really, really wanted to see Stevie Nicks up close.” 

15.

During the pandemic, Simone taught herself how to do tattoos — and she even ended up tattooing several of her Bridgerton cast members.


ABC / Via youtube.com

She told Jimmy Kimmel that she googled “how to tattoo at home” and learned from a YouTube tutorial. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, she showed off the sphinx tattoo she gave herself.

16.

We all knew Kate is a dog lover, but Simone is too! She has an adorable cocker spaniel named Mila.

17.

Finally, Simone officially WILL be returning as Kate alongside Jonathan as Anthony in Bridgerton Season 3.


Liam Daniel / Netflix

“We’re going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started,” she revealed at a dinner in Los Angeles, as reported by Deadline. “In Season 2, there was a lot of push and pull between Kate and Anthony, there were complications with the family, and then they find each other towards the end. I think everything is just starting. I’d like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in Season 3 and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it.”

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From left: Haunani Kay Trask, Rushan Abbas, Manjusha Kulkarni, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Philip Vera Cruz, Mabel Lee, George Helm, and Edward Said.

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Arindam

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