We Spoke to South Asian Women on How Season 2 of Bridgerton Impacted Them


On March 25, Bridgerton dropped its highly awaited second season. With the first instalment focusing on Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset’s love story, the second season showcased the intense chemistry between Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma. Yes, you read that correctly, Sharma. 

For the first time, an Indian woman — and one with dark skin — played the lead role in a regency-period drama. Simone Ashley, who portrays Kate in the series, broke barriers along with Charithra Chandran, who played her younger sister, Edwina Sharma. 

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but for South Asian women, it was incredibly significant. 

As a Pakistani woman, it’s common to hear fairer skin being celebrated and darker complexions being looked down upon. We would be told to stay out of the sun or to use bleaching creams to make our skin paler. 

And this isn’t from a few years ago. These comments are still being made to this day, and it’s heartbreaking to think that those with deeper skin are made to feel inadequate. I recognise my privilege — I’m not white by any means, but I’m on the lighter side of brown, and because of that, I wasn’t made to feel “ugly”. 

But in saying that, my heart felt full after finishing the second season of Bridgerton because I knew that my fellow dark-skinned South Asian sisters finally had the representation they deserved.

Not only were two South Asian women with deeper skin cast on the show as the leads but they were shown to be beautiful. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would see someone that looks like us in a regency period drama, wearing stunning dresses and silk gloves

“[Bridgerton] proved that dark skin is beautiful! Growing up, you got told certain colours make you look darker, but she rocked some gorgeous light and pastel colours,” said Shafia Malak, of Pakistani and Fijian heritage. 

Shonda Rhimes did a phenomenal job when it came to weaving in our culture throughout the series, without making it the focal point. The Sharma sisters were Indian, but they were so much more than that. From the haldi (turmeric) scene, to the oiling of the hair, she kept the portrayal respectful.

“It felt so good to finally see a South Asian portrayed nicely on such a popular TV show. Usually, if we’re ever represented on TV, we’re rarely on a hit TV show and never the main character. We’re also portrayed in the worst way,” said Natasha Ahmed, a fellow Pakistani from Sydney.

“For example, as an oppressed woman completely going against and hating their culture, it felt so good to finally see a dark-skinned Indian woman loving her culture and showing it off, instead of a half white/half Indian character played by a white actress who doesn’t even know the first thing about being of South Asian descent or what we go through.”

Kate’s character not only put South Asian women in the spotlight but also highlighted family dynamics within our culture. As the eldest sibling, she was shown to have put her life on hold to keep her younger sister and stepmother happy — something that occurs quite frequently within our households. 

What I felt after finishing Bridgerton was not mutually exclusive. A good friend of mine reached out and asked me to write a story on how the show impacted other South Asian women because she herself felt a deep connection to Kate. 

When I posed the question on my Instagram story, I didn’t expect such a huge number of responses, and after going through each and every one, I felt emotional, knowing we were finally being seen. 

“It’s so beautiful to see our culture being portrayed in a non-fetishised way, and instead, highlighting so many of our glamorous and beautiful traits without coming across as tacky or overboard. I think the producers nailed it,” said Nilufer Naeem, of Indian descent.

Someone else wrote, that after seeing Kate and Edwina, she felt “beautiful and attractive in a world where we are not ‘the diamonds’.”

Hopefully, this is just the beginning of more South Asian representation on mainstream TV (and more violin covers of our favourite Bollywood songs).

Season 2 of Bridgerton is available to stream now on Netflix.

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