Simone Ashley Said Before “Bridgerton” She Had To Work “Twice As Hard” As A Woman Of Color

Thanks to Bridgerton and Sex Education, Simone Ashley is now a household name.

Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images for Netflix

Her starring role in Season 2 of Shonda Rhimes’ period piece TV series attracted a record number of viewers for Netflix — and for good reason: Simone stunned in the role of Kate Sharma.

Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF

Netflix / Via

But her life looked quite different before she rose to fame, as Simone recalled during a recent appearance on the Reign With Josh Smith podcast.

Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images for Netflix

The actor recently recalled working as a server and frozen yogurt shop employee not too long ago, and reflected on how she had to “hustle” and work “twice as hard” as other actors, who don’t face the same inequalities, as a woman of color.

Karwai Tang / WireImage via Getty Images

“For me it has just always been like, ‘I’m just like any other actress; I can do this. I can have a script put in front of me and bring a character to life, and I’m smart and got creative ideas, and I can do this,'” Simone explained. “But I think, yeah, as a woman and a woman of color, you do have to work harder.”

Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images

“We are working twice as hard, but you know what, I would do it again,” she said, calling success “the most rewarding feeling” and describing herself as “a bit of a fighter” while pursuing her career aspirations. “It’s a nice feeling to just push through and to have your dreams achieved no matter what the hurdles are.”

Arturo Holmes / FilmMagic via Getty Images

“You hope the goal is that one day it is just completely normalized, and there’s a sense of ease for women of all heritages and cultures to have doors open for them,” Simone added. “I think all of us in whatever industry we choose, we all do the hustle and we all do the grind, and it’s good to be proud of that and to acknowledge that for sure.”

Rich Fury / Getty Images for Vanity Fair

“I wouldn’t want anything to stop me from achieving my dreams or being good at my job. I’ve worked so hard up until this moment.”

Jeff Spicer / Jeff Spicer / Getty Images

We’re looking forward to seeing a lot more of Simone when Bridgerton returns, again, for Season 3. You can listen to her podcast interview in full here.