Bridgerton Crowns Its New Queen, India Amarteifio
“The fan base for ‘Bridgerton’ is something I’ve heard about, but I’ve never experienced,” says India Amarteifio.
The young British actress stars in the titular role for Netflix series “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,” which was released on Thursday after much anticipation. There are a lot of eyes on the 21-year-old newcomer, but she seems to be handling the pressure just fine. “It’s nerve-wracking, but it makes me feel a little more at ease because I know, whatever happens, people will be given the answers to their questions,” Amarteifio adds. “And I think [the fans] will be really happy.”
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She was recently Stateside for the show’s Los Angeles premiere and press tour, which ramped up with the London premiere in late April. “I think it was the first time I’d seen so many pictures of my face in one place,” Amarteifio says.
She was cast in the buzzy role in early 2022 after a five-month audition process, and was on set filming a month later. “It was really, really slow — and then everything just picked up and it hasn’t really stopped since,” she says.
The series serves as a prequel to the first seasons of “Bridgerton,” and explores the relationship between a young Queen Elizabeth and King George III at the start of their arranged marriage. Although historically rooted, the story has been highly fictionalized for the stylized world of Bridgerton.
“The whole world was really exciting,” Amarteifio says. “I’d never been a part of a franchise, and I’d never led a project before, so I knew it was a big opportunity and I knew it was going to be a big role for me to choose to step into.”
Another appeal: getting to work with show creator Shonda Rhimes, who Amarteifio first met during the cast’s initial table read. “She’s a bit of marvel,” says Amarteifio. “I forget sometimes the impact that she’s had on my industry. It’s major, and it feels very all-encompassing to be in her presence, and also a part of a project that she’s written.”
In addition to several weeks of rehearsals, Amarteifio credits the many hours she spent in costume fittings and with the hair and makeup team for helping her immerse herself in the character and visual world of the show.
“To be able to fully escape into something is very difficult for an actor, because we’re always looking at film and TV and going, ‘Oh, I know that person,’” she says. “But [the show was] so different to anything that I’d seen before that I was able to just completely absorb myself into this world. And then on top of that, the added bonus of seeing people that look like me being represented in such a beautiful and empowering way, rather than in a way that does not bring one up, so to say, was an added bonus.”
Amarteifio applauds the show’s hair and makeup team for emphasizing her natural hair texture, significant within a period drama.
“Because it will do so much for so many people. I keep reminding myself, this job is so much bigger than me, and so much bigger than the job,” she adds. “What it represents, and the representation it will create for young Black girls especially, is the most important thing that can come out of this job. The fact that we were able to celebrate Afro hair and in every form — the tightest curls, the loosest curls — I feel very lucky to be a part of a project that’s wanting to do that.”
The first two “Bridgerton” seasons have launched careers for the show’s main stars, most of whom were at the start of their careers when cast and virtually unknown. Amarteifio got her start in the industry as a child actress and dancer in the theater world; she portrayed young Nala in “The Lion King” on the West End, before moving on to roles in “Matilda the Musical” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” As a teenager, she decided to turn her focus from musical theater and dance in favor of pursuing onscreen projects.
After all of the press for “Queen Charlotte,” Amarteifio’s ready to get back on set.
“This press bit is great, but it’s not why I’m in the industry,” she says. “I love my job, and I’m happy to talk about it, but I’d love to do some more filmmaking. It’s been nine months since we wrapped, so I’m ready to jump back into something.”
Launch Gallery: A Closer Look at 'Queen Charlotte' Star India Amarteifio
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