Press « Captivating Simone Ashley | Your Best Fansite Source for Simone Ashley


Growth is something Ashley relishes about being an actress, which is good being that the British up-and-comer, who is of Indian heritage, is on the rise. A bit part in Warner Bros. feature Detective Pikachu and a cadre of episodes in U.K. series like Casualty and Broadchurch, predated a recurring role in Netflix’s Sex Education. The latter, which has been a recurring fixture in Netflix’s Top 10 over its three seasons, offered a “confidence boost,” says the actress. Next up is an almost assured breakout role as the female lead in the second season of the streamer’s global hit Bridgerton, an experience that Ashley says has her already feeling “like a different person.”

If I weren’t an actor, I’d be … “A marine biologist.”

If a superhero franchise was based on my life, my superpower would be … “Making brunch.”

If I had a theme song, it would be … “Dela” by Johnny Clegg

If I had to live in a world from a movie or TV show, I would choose … “Napa Valley, California, in The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan, or Barcelona in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Written by Ashley Cullins & Mia Galuppo
Published November 4, 2021

When Simone Ashley received the script for the second season of Netflix’s Bridgerton, she was wrapping the final episodes of the comedy-drama series Sex Education in London. On the verge of being a “technically unemployed actress again,” Ashley, a native of Surrey, England, landed the lead role of Bridgerton’s Kate Sharma. Ashley describes Kate as an “independent, competitive rule breaker, who comes across as quite strong and brave and has that fighting exterior, but she is also incredibly vulnerable.” (“Kate is also really witty and I’m not really like that,” she adds.) Ashley says she developed “really, really great chemistry” with costar Jonathan Bailey, who plays her love interest, Anthony Bridgerton. “Kate really puts her family first,” Ashley teases of the new season. “When the stakes of love come with family as well—it’s very different.”

Written by Ariana Yaptangco
Published October 19, 2021

The Sex Education actress, one of PEOPLE’s Ones to Watch, shares the story of being cast as the new romantic lead on Bridgerton — including hearing from one of her favorite stars

Simone Ashley didn’t always see herself as a screen actress.

The British actress, 26, who will be the new romantic lead in season 2 of Bridgerton and is featured in PEOPLE’s 2021 Ones to Watch package in this week’s issue, initially had her heart set on musical theater.

“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,” Ashley says. “Whilst I was studying musical theater, I actually started to watch a lot of movies, particularly [Quentin] Tarantino films.”

The Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds director’s work shifted Ashley’s perspective on her career. “I was really inspired to maybe try screen more,” she says. “I started auditioning for more film and TV screen-based projects and never really continued with musical theater.”

While a return to the stage may be a goal for another time, Ashley soon booked her first big role on Netflix’s Sex Education, which premiered its third season earlier this month.

“I was a very classical actor with pennies left in my bank account,” she says of the game-changing moment she got the call for Sex Education. To celebrate, “I took myself out for sushi and tuna tacos and some sake.”

Upon being cast as the headstrong Kate Sharma, a love interest for Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), on the No. 1 show on Netflix (well, until Squid Game, that is) earlier this year, Ashley simply got down to business. “Before I knew it, I was going into the studios where we film for fittings,” she says. “It happened incredibly fast.”

While she says she’s really “trying to just focus” and not get too overwhelmed by her newfound fame or any sort of pressure that comes with Bridgerton’s sophomore season, Ashley says there have been “some pinch-me moments,” especially when she heard from one of her favorite stars.

“When Mindy Kaling messaged me, because I’m a super hardcore fan of hers, I grew up looking up to her and her work and still do, that was a bit of a pinch-me moment, because I never really thought I would ever interact with Mindy,” Ashley says. “She just said congratulations and was just really lovely.”

Of course, Ashley “messaged back with loads of emojis!”

As for the show itself, Ashley clearly connects to her character, Kate Sharma, whom she describes as “sporty and competitive” and “really smart.”

“She listens to her own instincts and she’s not easily swayed by what everyone else is doing,” Ashley continues. “We meet her in different vulnerable moments and discover her background a little bit more and the family trauma that she holds.”

Bridgerton season 2 is expected to arrive on Netflix in 2022.

Written by Breanne L. Heldman
Published October 13, 2021

“I love the gloves!” exclaims Simone Ashley of this look. “Why are gloves so sexy?” This bodes well. Ashley, 26, may be best known as mean queen Olivia in Netflix’s Sex Education, but soon the Surrey-born, LA-dwelling actor will be donning gloves (and bonnet) as the new lead in series two of hit costume drama Bridgerton – watched by 82 million households and counting. How does it feel? “The entire cast and crew have been working so hard,” she says. “I try not to think too much about what’s next. I find it easier to be grateful… and just give it all I’ve got.”

Written by Afua Hirsch
Published August 5, 2021

To celebrate the relaunch of Loewe’s signature fragrance, Paula’s Ibiza, the brand has created a dreamy, sun-soaked film just in time for summer. Directed by actor Arón Piper and led by the house’s creative director, Jonathan Anderson, the film—called Summer Daze—revolves around three young friends as they embark on a summertime adventure by the sea to escape the mundanity of everyday life.

Shot at Playa de la Casería in Cádiz, Spain, the film features British actor Simone Ashley, 26, who is set to star in season two of Netflix’s smash hit, Bridgerton, alongside Piper and model Fernando Lindez.

“I loved how real Jonathan wanted our movements to be,” says Ashley of the film’s creative process. “Sometimes scenes can be blocked so much to curate a picture-perfect image, but Jonathan allowed us to be in the moment and move freely.”

A film about youth, friendship, freedom, and the endless possibilities of summer, the message resonated with the young star. “I spent a lot of time with my family in Ojai, California. The outdoors and the beach always feel nostalgic to me,” she says. “It’s a character I’ve always wanted to play. I love beachy hair and the sun on my skin, with lots of shimmery oil, eating fruit and ice cream all day. When I saw the mood board from Jonathan, I could relate to it and felt so excited.”

With the world still gripped by a global pandemic, Loewe’s Summer Daze offers a much-needed escape.

Written by Tish Weinstock
Published July 12, 2021

Roxy talks to actress Simone Ashley about her upbringing, life, and acting career. Simone can be currently seen as Olivia in ‘Sex Education’ on Netflix.

Published March 21, 2019

If you’ve watched the hit Netflix show — Sex Education, it’s hard not to notice the standout South-Asian actress in the series, Simone Ashley!

The highly relatable dramedy centers around a group of teens as they attempt to navigate the occasional awkward world of sexuality and young adulthood.

Ashley plays the role of Olivia one of the members of Moordale Secondary School ‘s infamous group known as, “The Untouchables.” It was the first time we saw a character of South Asian heritage depicted as the hot, popular, mean student in school, rather than the stereotypical caricatures we are used to seeing desi youth portray — a refreshing and hopefully new normal for the industry.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Ashley about her journey as an actress, her experience on Sex Education and just getting to know her all around! Check out our exclusive Q&A with Simone Ashley below!

What inspired your journey into acting?
I’ve just always wanted to create, and anything that allows me to do that has got my attention! It

allows me to be spontaneous and play – I guess it’s something I’ve always wanted to pursue, and didn’t think twice about it. My father has always been deeply passionate about music, film and photography. Growing up the record player was always playing rock n roll tunes, or Bob Marley, and the TV always had epic movies on, like Kill Bill. It’s a bit ironic, I grew up in a household full of Indian academics, y know, the doctors, the engineers, the accountants – it’s pretty cliche! I was never a budding academic, and always thrived in creative fields.

How did your family feel about you pursuing a non-traditional career path (i.e. doctor, lawyer, engineer)?
How did? More like how do?! They still find it quite scary and unsettling. There is no crystal ball, no security, no guarantee. Which can be a parents worst nightmare. But they know I’m a smart lady. You can’t spend your life going with what your parents want, or your friends, teachers, lovers, want. You have to be your own hero and just go with your gut. My parents are incredibly protective over me, and sometimes I found it quite stifling. It made me want to escape and do things my own way. I’ve always been a bit rebellious in that sense. I am incredibly privileged to be apart of a generation where young women from all over the world have more opportunity than ever before, where we are being less stereotyped and walls and being broken down slowly. It can be hard for my parents to understand that sometimes, but I just try to empathize with them and reassure them that I’m going to be fine.

As an actress of South Asian heritage, what has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the industry?
I try to be as positive as I can day to day, and I’ve tried to channel that into how I approached the industry. Yes, colourism is an ongoing issue. As is being type cast, being looked over because of the colour of your skin, losing roles to girls that are more ‘relatable’ to target audiences and markets. But if I surrender to all of that, where would I be going? No where! Fuck that.

I really believe in myself and in other dark skinned women, especially South Asian women! We are smart, we are talented and we all have something special to offer as artists!

So I try not to even think twice about any challenges that might come along due to my heritage. I say ‘Yes I can’ and see what happens. And usually that mentality breeds positive, bright and beaming opportunity. It won’t be a ‘challenge’ for very long, the world is changing.

What is your favorite part about playing Olivia on Sex Education?
Creating and exploring this character during the initial stages of filming season 1 was so much fun. Olivia was written as a blank canvas almost, there was no character description, so I got out my paint brushes and starting painting. I sat down with the writers and we discussed her story, questioning her choices and journey throughout high school. I did a lot of research, I made Spotify playlists, mood boards, I watched a variety of John Hughes style movies. I watched ‘Boogie Nights’ are was inspired by ‘Roller Girl’. On the way to set one day, I asked our driver if we could stop by a corner shop on the way, I bought 10 pounds worth of bubble gum, popped a huge piece in my mouth and showed our head director and exec producer of the show (Ben Taylor) how big of a bubble I could blow. It looked really cool, so we decided to make it apart of the character. The banana scene in episode 2 was a lot of fun to do. Olivia can initially come across as untouchable, striking and fierce. But this scene I got to reveal and experiment with her dorky, vulnerable and awkward side. This contrast was so important to me. Nobody wants to see the ‘cool’ kid being perfect in high school. I wanted young girls who could relate to the social pressures Olivia puts herself under, and see that even the ‘coolest’ of kids make mistakes. We are all only human!

You’re having a traditional Desi dinner party — What dishes are a must for a perfect meal?
No time to eat. Gimme the chai. Only chai. Chai. Where’s my chai tea?

Who were your favorite music artists growing up and who are you listening to now?
I have such a deep love for music. I listen to everything and anything! But I grew up listening to a lot of rock n roll, that’s due to my father. Fleetwood Mac have always been my number one. The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan. My Mother would always play Phil Collins too. Even though I grew up in a very conservative and quiet household, music was always playing. I still listen to the same rock artists, but now I’m discovering more genres like Trip Hop, I’ve been listening to Morcheeba on repeat. I love Alicia Keys, Nina Simone, Rihanna, Maggie Rogers. The list goes on and on.

What advice would you give to the next generation of Desi youth who want to pursue acting?
Do it! Get out of your head and just do it. Stop worrying about if people will ‘want’ you, and just do it. We can be blinded by the commercialized side of the industry and think they only want a certain look a certain type of person. But someone has to change the game sometime! Look at all the incredible movies, tv shows and artist out there of Desi heritage. And they are being celebrated big time. We need to celebrate each other and not guard ourselves by being competitive. Indian girls are so beautiful, and I am so happy to see more and more projects being made that involve all of us!

There is a lyric from the Indian musical movie ‘Lagaan’ that says: “Koi raah mein na thaam jaawe, chale chalo Toot gayi jo ungli utthi Paanchon mili to ban gaye mutthi Eka badhta hi jaawe Chale chalo, chale chalo”

Which translated to English means: “May no one halt in the road, come. The accusing finger upon us has been broken because we five have come together like a fist May our unity only grow Come, let us move on”

So my advice in a nutshell would be: Be a fighter! Be a wolf! If you want to do it, then go do it. Don’t let anyone stop you or tell you otherwise.

Published on July 2, 2019