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Bridgerton star Simone Ashley — where have you seen her before?

Simone Ashley on the red carpet.
Simone Ashley is the star of Bridgerton season 2. (Image credit: Getty)

The highly-anticipated Bridgerton season 2 is here, with Simone Ashley joining the cast as new leading lady Kate Sharma.

Bridgerton season one was all about Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), but this time around viewers will be seduced by the intriguing romance between Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and the smart, headstrong Kate Sharma. 

Based on the second novel in the Bridgerton series titled, The Viscount Who Loved Me (opens in new tab), the original character of Kate Sheffield has been re-imagined as Kate Sharma who has been described as 'a force to be reckoned with'. 

Simone Ashley as Bridgerton's Kate Sharma

Simone Ashley as Bridgerton's Kate Sharma. (Image credit: Netflix)

Stepping out in London's high society, Kate first crosses paths with Lord Bridgerton when she tries to prevent him from courting her sister, Edwina, but ends up developing feelings for the dashing bachelor herself.

Bridgerton is Simone Ashley's biggest role to date, but the 26-year old British actress is already a familiar face to some, having been in several TV series and small films.

We take a look at the rising star's previous work...

Simone Ashley in Sex Education

Simone Ashley in Sex Education

Simone Ashley played Olivia Hanan in Sex Education.  (Image credit: Netflix)

Bridgerton is famous for its steamy love scenes, and Simone is certainly no stranger to all that having played a lead character in the equally racy Netflix series, Sex Education

The actress starred as mean girl Olivia Hanan, the gum-chewing member of the coveted gang 'The Untouchables', who lord it over their fellow students at Moordale Secondary School. Rumour has it Simone based Olivia on the iconic character of Rollergirl from 90's film Boogie Nights, played by Heather Graham. 

In season two, Olivia starts going out with Malek Amir and the frisky pair are unable to keep their hands off one another, engaging in numerous kinky romps. But when the couple run into a bit of bother in the bedroom, Olivia finds herself calling on the services of teen Otis Milburn, who's followed in his mum's footstep by setting up his own sex therapy business. 

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Simone had a taste of Hollywood when she had a brief role in the 2019 film, Pokémon Detective Pikachu. The adventure tells the story of a boy who discovers a clever talking Pikachu, who has aspirations of becoming a detective. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton and Bill Nighy, Simone played the part of 'Girlfriend'.

The Sister

The Sister cast Russell Tovey

The Sister saw Russell Tovey take the lead role.  (Image credit: ITV)

Simone took on the titular role in ITV psychological thriller, The Sister, playing Elise Fox, the missing sister of main character Holly. Seven years on from her mysterious disappearance, Holly's no closer to finding out what happened to Elise. That is until one dark and stormy night when a strange man turns up on her and husband Nathan's doorstep with shocking news that threatens to completely shatter their happy family setup. 

As disturbing revelations come to light, the truth about what really happened to Elise is exposed. The haunting whodunit was adapted by author Neil Cross from his novel Burial (opens in new tab) and received positive reviews when it aired back in October 2020. Guardian journalist Lucy Mangan described it as a 'supernaturally-tinged dose of nail-bitery." In other words, best not to watch alone in the dark.

Strike

It might have been a blink and you'll almost miss it appearance, but Simone had a role in the first series of BBC drama, Strike

Based on the best-selling books written by JK Rowling (opens in new tab), under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, the gritty show follows war veteran turned private investigator Cormoran Strike as he solves baffling cases with the help of plucky assistant Robin Ellacott. 

Simone starred in the third installment of series one, titled The Cuckoo's Calling, playing the secretary to fashion designer Guy Some, who was helping Strike investigate the puzzling murder of his close friend Lulu Landry. All series are still available on BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab), and are well worth a watch if you like a good crime thriller.

Broadchurch

Broadchurch

Simone also had a role in ITV thriller, Broadchurch.  (Image credit: Netflix)

One of Simone's earliest TV jobs was a bit part in the third series of the hugely popular ITV crime drama Broadchurch, which was watched by an audience of millions. 

Starring opposite lead actors former Doctor Who star David Tennant and Oscar-winning Olivia Colman, Simone played Dana, a waitress at a party where a woman was sexually assaulted. Fun fact for all Bridgerton fans - Simone's new on-screen love interest Jonathan Bailey (aka Anthony Bridgerton) also starred in Broadchurch, although not in the same series.  

Wolfblood

After studying acting at Redroofs School for the Performing Arts in Berkshire, which is the same school Oscar winning superstar Kate Winslet attended, Simone began her acting career in 2016. 

She featured in a couple of episodes of fantasy teen drama, Wolfblood, playing a character called Zuhra. The family show ran for five series between 2012 and 2017, and revolved around a group of creatures that looked like humans but possessed the power to turn into wolves.

Doctors and Casualty

It's like a rite of passage for all up-and-coming British actors to get an episode BBC medical dramas Doctors and/or Casualty under their belt, and Simone's done both. 

In 2018, Simone starred in an episode of Doctors titled 'Any Moment' as Sofia Johal. And the following year she was a cast member in the 33rd series of Casualty, playing the part of Shai Anterton.

Laura Morgan
Laura Morgan

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.