Bridgerton Actress Charithra Chandran on Season 2

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Chandran’s road to Bridgerton was not without a plot twist worthy of a show itself, though. “Oh my God, it is a very complicated story. At the time, it was filled with lots of dread, but obviously, it’s worth it now and may be worth it for the cool story,” she exhales, preparing to recount her lengthy audition process. “I first auditioned for the role of Kate back in November 2020 before the first season even came out [and] when the first trailer had literally just dropped. My agent was like, ‘I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I have attached a trailer to this new show. Let me know what you think. They want you to audition.’ I saw it and was in love. I thought, ‘Oh my God, firstly, this is so fucking cool. Secondly, this is just going to be a megahit.’ So I auditioned in November, had a few auditions for it, and when the show came out, I binge-watched it in three days!” 

She continues, “A little bit later, they said, ‘We don’t think that you are right for this role. Aesthetically, it doesn’t really work.’ I was cool with it, and I got an offer for another job, which was Alex Rider on Amazon Prime. I thought, ‘One door closes, another opens. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.’ Then in mid-February, I was sitting in the makeup chair for Alex Rider, and my agent called me, and he goes, ‘Okay, so they’ve signed someone for Kate, and they’re now looking at you for Edwina. What do you think?’ I just didn’t want to audition for Edwina as a sort of consolation prize.” 

“I read the script, and the character was just so different from me, and [I] knew it would be a challenge performance-wise and really push me,” she adds. “I also thought, ‘This is really important because there are so many women, especially in South Asia where I’m from, that live Edwina’s life and grow up with the idea in their head that their duty is to be a wife, is to be a mother, and that forms their entire identity without, sometimes, the opportunity for exploration of more.’ I thought, ‘This is an opportunity to be a mouthpiece for millions of young women who don’t necessarily have the biggest voice of their own.’ And if I can show them that they can be so much more than what people expect of them, that’s great.”

So does the new series push inclusivity and representation even further? “For one thing, they are very explicitly immigrants,” Chandran replies. “The Sharmas come from India to England, and we have this multiracial society in London, but these people are different—not only because of the color of their skin but because they’ve grown up in a different environment, and they’re not in familiar surroundings. The same as with the first season, it’s done in a very subtle, subliminal way. It’s not very in-your-face, and that makes it easier to digest. The Sharma storyline brings in the idea of just being an immigrant and what that means.”

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