One minute she controls her desires in the teen television drama Sex Education and the next in Bridgerton.
Yes, it’s been a hectic couple of years for Simone Ashley, 25.
And it only gets busier when the praise that comes their way is anything one could ask for.
Simone plays Kate Sharma, a woman who Duke Anthony tries to steal from the arms of his theft intended for the second season of Bridgerton Netflix Hit by 83 million worldwide.
She is the first South Asian actress in the drama, and Simone admits that her career has shocked her traditional Indian family – and that her parents find it “scary and troubling”.
Simone has come a long way since convincing her parents to let her go to a performing arts school. Before sex education, she had small roles in Broadchurch and Doctors on television.
But her teachers at Redroofs School for the Performing Arts in Berkshire never had a doubt that Simone would become a big star.
They recognized their “burning passion” and their determined determination to be successful.
Headmistress Samantha Keston says it was the same inner fire as that of another old girl – Oscar winner Kate Winslet.
Samantha says, “Students who really break into the big time have this absolute burning passion so often.
“They just don’t want to do anything else – that’s their life.
“Simone is certainly not our first. Kate Winslet was with us for seven years and she was another extraordinary story.
“Both Kate and Simone had the exact same work ethic and blinking vision. That’s all they wanted to do. They were both very smart girls who turned into very smart women. “
Simone, who has a 29-year-old brother Sean, said in a recent interview that she grew up in a “household full of Indian academics” with “incredibly protective” parents.
She told the Veylex website, “Sometimes I found it quite suffocating. I wanted to escape and do things my own way. In that sense, I’ve always been a little rebellious.
“I am incredibly privileged to be part of a generation where young women from around the world have more opportunities than ever before, where we are less stereotypical and where walls are slowly being torn down. This can be difficult for my parents to understand at times, but I am just trying to understand them and reassure them that I will be fine. “
Simone was raised in Camberley, Surrey, by mother Latha, 59, and father Gunasekharan, 63. They moved to Beaconsfield, Bucks, to be near Redroofs. Director Samantha says about the meeting with Simone and her parents: “Mom and Dad were very concerned that we were only offering a one-way street into a narrow theater. You asked many questions about what else our school could prepare Simone for. “
But Simone was so driven that her parents didn’t have to worry. After leaving Redroofs at the age of 18, she won a place in a musical theater course at the prestigious ArtsEd Drama School in Chiswick, west London, where Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is President.
Simone changed her last name to Ashley to open up more mainstream roles.
However, her South Asian heritage helped take on the role of Bridgerton. The second series is based on Julia Quinn’s second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Simone’s character is described as fair-skinned.
But the television producers mixed up the characters’ heritage. It led to a wonderfully diverse cast that is not precise enough, but is very well received by the fans.