After an 18-month wait, it's finally time for another social season in the world of Bridgerton. The period drama/fantasy romance is back with a new love story starring the rake Anthony Bridgerton, who has decided to settle down with a suitable wife. His choice? London's newest arrival and the diamond of the season, sweet Edwina Sharma. When he starts courting Edwina, Anthony must also win over her headstrong and protective sister Kate (played by Simone Ashley), but it turns out he may have more in common with the elder sister.
The Sharma sisters are a stellar addition to the cast of Bridgerton, and as Edwina, newcomer Charithra Chandran sparkles as brightly as her character's namesake. But it turns out the Oxford grad behind the character is more similar in personality to the elder Sharma, so much that she even auditioned for her. Here's everything we know about the next Bridgerton actress sure to become a household name.
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She initially pursued a career in public policy.
The 24-year-old Indian-British actress actually had a completely different life plan. To be exact, she had a five-year plan for a career in public policy, after receiving her bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics at Oxford University. She told Shondaland that, though she did act during university and even trained with England's National Youth Theatre, she first considered acting as more of a hobby.
"I never didn’t want to be an actress," she told the outlet. "I just thought it was impossible. Sometimes you don’t allow yourself to dream of things you know are not going to happen."
However, during her gap year, she finally decided to pursue acting in earnest and landed her first role. Even though she's now in the post popular show on Netflix, she's still practical, saying she "always [has] that backup plan."
'Bridgerton' is her second-ever TV role.
Chandran landed her first-ever screen role in 2020, joining the cast of the Prime Video series Alex Rider as the titular teen spy's friend Sabina Pleasance in season 2. She's also appeared in some short films and the indie film Class S in addition to Bridgerton. She's currently working on an animated webseries called Pillow Talk.
She first auditioned for Kate Sharma.
Chandran opened up to Shondaland about her audition process, which began before season 1 of Bridgerton even premiered, in November 2020. The period drama fan auditioned for the elder sister Kate first. "I had a few auditions for that and decided it just didn’t work out. And that was fine. By then, I’d had another offer for a TV show. So, in the new year I was like, 'Okay, one door closes; another opens. It just wasn’t meant to be. Oh, well.'"
The next February, after the first season blew up and Chandran was already working on another show, she got the call that they wanted her to audition for Edwina. She told the outlet that she took some time to think on it, before realizing that she could make a difference with the character and the storyline, which she calls a "coming-of-age story."
"She turns from this young girl into a confident young woman, and it’s about self-discovery and self-love and the bravery that those things require. Especially as women, we are expected to be so sacrificial, and Edwina is sacrificial for a lot of it. Women are often defined by their relationship to others, whether that’s a sister, daughter, mother, wife, whatever. And it’s like, no, we have value in and of ourselves," she said.
She thinks the world would be a better place if more people were like Edwina.
In an interview with The Kit, Chandran admitted that she's very different from her sweet and shy character, describing herself as "quite independent and autonomous in real life." She initially found it hard to connect with Edwina, and got closer to the character by discussing her with the writers and making a playlist that tracks Edwina’s journey throughout the show.
She explained to the outlet, "Having played her now, I love her so much because she has so many good things that are often not considered valuable in our society, [like kindness, generosity, forgiveness]. She chooses to trust people, which you could see as naïveté or immaturity, but it’s a choice that she makes to see the best in others. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone could be a bit more like Edwina?"
She's a foodie.
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According to her agency profile, Chandran's super-athletic, with experience in Bollywood dancing, tennis, and field hockey. Her Instagram feed pre-Bridgerton is also full of sweet family pics, dining selfies, and adventures with friends. There's even a pandemic-era pic of her showing off her cooking skills, aiming to become the next Martha Stewart.
She's proud of her Tamil heritage.
While Edwina's family was written in the book as the Sheffields, the three women were re-written as Indian for the series, with British-Indian actresses Simone Ashley, Shelley Conn, and Chandran cast to play the women who bring traditional Indian customs to Regency-era London.
Chandran explained to Shondaland that her Tamil heritage is very important to her. "I’m from Tamil Nadu, which is the southernmost state in India. We’re Dravidians, which is different from the Indo-Aryan peoples. Our language, Tamil, does not derive from Sanskrit, though it’s as old as Sanskrit. So, our culture and our history is very unique to our area, [where] you can see a lot of Tamil pride. It makes me so happy to see so many Tamils doing so well in this industry and in others — Aziz Ansari; Padma Lakshmi; Mindy Kaling; Maitreyi Ramakrishnan; the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai; and maybe the most famous example, Kamala Harris," she said.
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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