Simone Ashley Shares Advice for “Bridgerton ”Newcomer Masali Baduza After Her Big Character Reveal (Exclusive)

Baduza was revealed to be joining the series as a main love interest for Hannah Dodd’s character at the end of season 3

<p>Ian West/PA Images via Getty; Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty </p>

Ian West/PA Images via Getty; Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty

Simone Ashley can’t wait to see more of Masali Baduza on screen in Bridgerton.

While attending a press meeting at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, the 29-year-old actress tells PEOPLE what her advice would be for Baduza, who was revealed to be joining the Bridgerton cast as a main love interest for Hannah Dodd’s character Francesca at the end of season 3.

“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 says. “And that we're all here with open arms and so excited.”

The reveal of Baduza’s character Michaela is a major book-to-screen modification, as her character in the novels is male.

Ashley says she ultimately applauds the gender-swap decision. “I think this is what the world needs more of, more representation,” she explains.

Related: Bridgerton’s Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan on Their Characters 'Breaking Rules' in the Mirror Scene

<p>Netflix</p> Masali Baduza in 'Bridgerton.'


Masali Baduza in 'Bridgerton.'

Bridgerton's decision to switch up Michaela’s character has gained major buzz on social media after the series' second half premiered on Thursday, June 13.

Several series stars told PEOPLE that they had a head’s up about the change, including Victor Alli, who plays John Stirling on the hit Netflix series.

When asked how he felt about the introduction of the character, Alli said, “Oh. I was like, ‘Yo, that's really cool.’ ”

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“I was told that they're going to switch up a bit before we did any of that filming, and it was quite nice. It was really pleasant to sort of read that introduction,” he further explained.

“I don't think they could have done it in any other way. So yeah, I'm really glad, and I was really excited," Alli added.

Related: Who Does Francesca Marry in the Bridgerton Books? All About Her Love Story

Baduza isn’t the only one Ashley has shared advice with. Ahead of season 3, the actress also gave some guidance to Nicola Coughlan, who stepped into the female lead role on the series.

Ashley said at the time that she made sure Coughlan, 37, had “a friend” to rely on.

"Me and Nicola would check in on each other,” she explained. “She is such an inspiration to me and I learned so much from her, and there were times she was giving me advice. It was just an amazing thing to have in our work environment."

Season 3 of Bridgerton is currently streaming on Netflix. Seasons 1 and 2 — as well as the series' spinoff, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story — are also available to stream.

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