Meet Charithra Chandran, Bridgerton’s newest star
We all remember the fuss that was made about season one of Bridgerton being a saucy romp — Duke Simon’s spoon springs to mind. — and its newest star, Charithra Chandran, assures us that season 2, which debuted yesterday on Netflix, lives up to the lavish Shondaland production’s spicy legacy.
“The sexiness is still very much there,” says Chandran, via video call from London. “Johnny is a very sexy man, and everyone will lust after him, no doubt.”
She’s referring to Jonathan Bailey, who plays Viscount Anthony, the eldest of the eight Bridgerton siblings, whose turn it is to find a marriage match this season. He sets about his task systematically until he lands on Edwina Sharma (Chandran), a fresh face among London society newly arrived from abroad. The hitch: Her older sister Kate (played by Sex Education‘s Simone Ashley), a self-professed spinster who has devoted herself to launching her adored half-sibling into society, and whom Anthony finds captivating and infuriating in equal measure.
Chandran, 25, who got a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University before pursuing acting, credits Bailey with making her second-ever professional gig a delight. He did “little things” like texting her during their first read-through to tell her she was doing a great job. “I said to him, ‘JB, you’ve ruined me, because on every set I’m going to expect the way you’ve treated me and it’s not going to live up.’” Swoon-worthy stuff, indeed.
Bridgerton is heralded as much for its inclusivity as its spiciness, and for Chandran, who is Indian-British, playing a leading role in a period drama set in upper-crust Regency England is like a fairy tale. “When I put on the dress with the empire waistline, I was teary-eyed,” Chandran says of her first costume fitting. “I never expected this, because I’d never seen a Brown person in a dress like that on a show like this.”
While Bridgerton isn’t pretending to be historically accurate, Chandran says the “fantasy” it builds matters. “It would be absurd to say that there were South Asian nobility in England in 1814,” she says. “But how wonderful is it that there are in Bridgerton?