Simone Ashley On ‘Bridgerton’ Newcomer Masali Baduza Following Character Reveal: “Be Deeply Proud About What You’re Representing”

Simone Ashley is sharing her thoughts on Bridgerton newcomer Masali Baduza following the Season 3 finale and her character reveal.

Ashley gave words of encouragement to Baduza who has been revealed to play Michaela Stirling, a love interest to Hannah Dodd’s Francesca Bridgerton.

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“I think to be just deeply proud about what you’re representing, and [know] that many people are going to be so seen by the story that you’re going to be telling,” Ashley told People in an interview during the Monte-Carlo Television Festival. “And that we’re all here with open arms and so excited.”

The character Baduza is playing on the Netflix drama was gender-swapped for the television adaptation. Ashley noted that the change “is what the world needs more of, more representation.”

Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell recently revealed how Baduza’s audition for the role went, telling Glamour that “she absolutely nailed it.”

“I remember the moment Hannah met Masali,” Brownell said. “After Masali left, she said, ‘Well, that’s her.’ Hannah could feel it. She is an incredible actress, and she and I have had a lot of talks about the weight and importance of her role. She’s really stepped into it with wonderful energy.”

Baduza was born in South Africa and graduated from the LA campus of the New York Film Academy. Before landing the role of Michaela Stirling for Bridgerton Season 3, she starred in shows like Trackers and Noughts + Crosses. Her film credits include 2021’s Slumber Party Massacre and, most recently, 2022’s The Woman King, where she played Fumbe, sharing credits with Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, and many more.

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