When openly gay ‘Bridgerton’ star Golda Rosheuvel – who plays gossip-loving Queen Charlotte in the Netflix series – was beginning her acting career, a lesbian director told her she had to stay in the closet.
“We were talking about being proud and representing and if I had to say I was gay in interviews,” Rosheuvel tells me on this week’s episode of “Just for Variety” Podcast. “And it was an absolute no:” You absolutely should not do this. It could or will ruin your acting career. I’d rather lose a job than not be true to who I am. I’d rather not not work in an industry that doesn’t accept me. … That’s just not how I was brought up. And then the fact that she’s a director, a lesbian director, I was like, ‘ I don’t understand this advice.’ It blew me away.
Rosheuvel, who was best known as a stage actress in the UK before “Bridgerton” gave her star a royal boost, will be in New York on Saturday night at the Human Rights Campaign gala, where the advocacy organization LGBTQ Civil Rights will honor her with this year’s Equality Award. “I am proud and proud,” she says. “My sexuality is really important to me in terms of existence, knowing that I’m important. I’m as important as anyone on the planet. You know what I mean? My partner [writer Shireen Mula] always says, “The mere fact that you’re on screen. The simple fact that you’re in ‘Bridgerton’ as a black, biracial, cis-gender lesbian playing England’s first black queen. The fact that you are here is huge.
I spoke to Rosheuvel on a Zoom video from the UK when she returned home after spending the day filming the series of Queen Charlotte origin stories: ‘It’s important for me to be proud and to normalize things for that person, that young boy or girl or transgender or non-binary [person] to be able to say: ‘I am not alone.’
What do you think when the Human Rights Campaign issues a press release and they call you a role model?
I’m proud of it. I have worked hard in my life. It hasn’t always been easy. I’m really proud of who I am and what I represent in my heart, in my soul. So for others to see that and get an empowerment from that, a sense of self-confidence, that’s great, that’s wonderful.
Let’s talk “Bridgerton”. Have they ever come up to you in one of your outfits and you’re like, “WTF? How am I going to wear this? How will this sit on my head?
There was only a moment when [hairstylist] Erica [Ökvist] was like – I think it was for one of the bullets – “I see this boat.” And I was like, “Okay…” And then she did and it was so big, Marc. It was ridiculous. And we talked about really pushing as far as we could, you know what I mean? As with every look, we were like, “Can we go far?” And we got away with a lot of them, but this one, I was like, ‘I think we pushed a little too hard. It’s impossible to wear.
These wigs look really heavy. Are they?
The balls are quite heavy because they have to sit well and not move, but it’s definitely better this year because I was in dialogue this time. It was a bigger collaboration with the new team, so we were able to discuss what was helping, what wasn’t helping, and I had a lot of adjustments and I was able to say, “We have to see it in a different way because it’s quite heavy.
Does your contract state that you receive neck massages?
I keep myself in shape. Body strength is really important because you stand in a different way than you naturally do. And doing that for long periods of time to film, it can wreak havoc on the body so. I check my spine, my neck, all that stuff. I train several times a week and eat healthy before filming. And also, the corsets, too. Being pushed into a small space for long periods of time, our bodies aren’t used to that sort of thing. I don’t know how they did in the 18th century. I have no idea how they did it.
When did you learn that there would be your own spin-off?
We were filming Season 2 and I got an email about a big reunion that afternoon. I was like, “Oh, my God. Are we all fired? And then I got the call that Shonda [Rhimes] was going to be there, Betsy [Beers] was going to be there and the whole cast. We were told several things at the same time. It was one of them we were told. It took a little while to say “Oh, okay. It’s interesting. To the right. OK. Am I in? Who does what ? Shonda writes it? Oh my God. OK. Netflix endorsed it. And then we started filming it.
There’s a younger me, there’s a younger Danbury, there’s a younger Brimsley, there’s a younger king. And Hughes [Sachs]who plays Brimsley, and I, we were on set the other day and India [Amareifio] and sat [Clemmett]- India plays Queen Charlotte, Sam plays Brimsley – and we were standing in the doorway and they were just finishing and Sam was standing exactly the same to my right India’s right and I was standing at left. And Hugh and I watched [eachother] and it was just like, ‘This is amazing. It’s just such a beautiful moment. As a transmission to the next generation of actors and the next plots of these characters. It was a really empowering moment for us as veteran actors. You just see these wonderful, beautiful young human beings stepping into these roles. I was really proud. It was truly a proud moment.
If you could have a real royal on “Bridgerton,” who would you want to appear in a cameo?
I think the queen would be pretty sensational. The real living queen. Who else? I think William would be pretty good, actually. I think he would be up for quite a while.
I think William would be good, but I think Harry would do Queen Charlotte drag.
Oh yeah! It would be great. Definitively.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can listen to the full interview on “Just for Variety” above, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
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