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17 Facts About "Bridgerton" Star Simone Ashley That'll Make You Love Her Even More

"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.

Simone smiling on the red carpet and wearing a bodycon, short-sleeved dress

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.

Movie poster for Straight Outta Compton

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.

Tanya Reynolds and Simone Ashley sitting together in a scene from Sex Education

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.

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.

Separate photos of Freida, Simone, and Mindy on the red carpet

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

Simone and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from Bridgerton

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.

Full-body shot and close-up of Simone as Kate wearing a short-sleeved gown

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

Simone and Jonathan rising horses amid trees in a scene from Bridgerton

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.

Simone as Kate standing on a sumptuous staircase with a dog on one of the steps

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.

Simone in a midriff-baring spaghetti-strap top and choker necklace

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

Black-and-white screenshot of Simone singing into a microphone

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

Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac singing onstage

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

Simone in a spaghetti-strap top and than a close-up of a catlike tattoo on her arm

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.

Simone and Jonathan kissing outdoors in a scene from Bridgerton

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