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New Bridgerton Lead Charithra Chandran Explains Why Being Called a ‘Diversity Hire’ Is So Harmful

Bridgerton finally returns to Netflix on Friday for its second season, but one fresh face to the series is talking about the lack of support she received from her friends when she was cast on the show. Charithra Chandran, who plays debutante Edwina Sharma, should be excited about the career-making role, but instead, she’s hurt by her friends’ unkind words.

She alleges to The Telegraph that some in her inner circle called her a “diversity hire” and that their statements where “harmful” to her and other actors of color. “I’ve had friends say to me, ‘Oh you got that because you’re brown,’ and that really hurts,” Chandran said. “[And] what’s really scary is that you can start believing it.” In author Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels, Chandran’s character is white, but it seems like those critics have never seen a Shonda Rhimes series. The TV powerhouse is  known for casting the right performer for the role without making an actor’s race an issue — that’s why her shows are always organically diverse.

The British Indian actress understands the power of audiences seeing someone like her in a lead role in a major series. “I think that Bridgerton has done for TV what Hamilton did for theatre,” Chandran explained. “It encouraged a totally different audience to watch period drama and romances. And it made us feel seen on screen.” That is also making her push for more diversity off-camera as well. “I would love to see more crew who are black and brown,” she added. “I think that’s really important. We should be careful about just sort of window dressing.”

Chandran’s success should be celebrated instead of diminished by her so-called friends’ offensive words. She deserves all of the accolades coming her way, which hopefully, will bring kinder people to her world.

Before you go, click here to see our favorite rom-coms where the main couple isn’t white.
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