Simone Ashley has advice for Bridgerton newcomer Masali Baduza (Michaela Stirling)

Bridgerton. Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in episode 307 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in episode 307 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

Bridgerton season 3 has come and gone, but that doesn't mean people aren't still talking about it. I mean, how could fans move on after that shocking twist revealed at the end of the season 3 finale? Not only were we introduced to a new character by the name of Michaela Stirling (Masali Baduza), but we also found out that this character will soon play a major part in one of the Bridgerton family members' upcoming love stories.

Spoilers ahead from Bridgerton season 3 and the When He Was Wicked book!

Who is Michaela Stirling, you ask? Well, she's the female cousin of John Stirling, Francesca's husband, in the series. The character has been gender-swapped from the novels. In the Bridgerton books, specifically When He Was Wicked, Michaela is actually Michael Stirling, John's male cousin who ends up with Francesca after John passes away.

The show's creative team wanted to move away from the novels a bit and switch things up by exploring a queer love story. Many fans thought that a queer romance would center around Eloise or Benedict, but the show's creative team threw a twist in the season 3 finale by introducing a female love interest for Francesca instead.

While there has been some fan backlash from this change from the books, there has also been much praise with many fans expressing how excited they are to see a queer storyline finally being at the forefront of the period drama. If you recall, Benedict explored his sexuality this season by entering into a poly relationship with a woman and a man. But it was more of a side storyline. When Francesca's season comes, which we're hoping will be the upcoming Bridgerton season 4, we'll see a queer love story at center stage.

After the introduction of Michaela in season 3, fans are looking forward to seeing more of her in future seasons. In fact, Bridgerton star Simone Ashley, who plays Kate Bridgerton in the period drama, is excited to see more of her as well.

People got the opportunity to speak with Ashley at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival in Monaco in June 2024, and she revealed the advice she would give to Masali Baduza, the actress playing Michaela, now that she's joined the cast. We shared her advice to Baduza below.

"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. And that we're all here with open arms and so excited."

Simone Ashley

Ashley also expressed her support for the show's decision to gender-swap Michael to Michaela.

"I think this is what the world needs more of, more representation."

Simone Ashley

Victor Alli, who plays John Stirling in the series, has also expressed his support for the gender-swap decision, saying that he doesn't think the show "could have done it in any other way" and that he's really glad and excited.

Well, we're with you, Ashley and Alli! We can't wait to see how Francesca and Michaela's love story unfolds when that time comes. But for now, stay tuned to Netflix Life for more news and coverage on the upcoming Bridgerton season 4!

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