Bridgerton's Charithra Chandran says minority actors are treated as "box tickers"
15 March 2022, 16:03 | Updated: 23 March 2022, 10:24
"I had people at university tell me, 'You only got the lead in that show because they needed to have a person of colour in it.'"
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Bridgerton's Charithra Chandran has opened up about how actors from minority ethnic backgrounds are often told they've been hired to "fill a quota" and the pressure put upon them to represent their entire community.
In case you didn't know, Charithra will play Edwina Sharma in the second series of Netflix's hit drama Bridgerton. Edwina is the love interest of Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), who also happens to have a connection with her sister Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).
Although Bridgerton season 2 is Charithra's first role in a Netflix series, she starred in Amazon Prime's Alex Rider and short film The Talents. However, whilst Charithra's career is really taking off, the actress says that being from a minority ethnic background has meant hearing some hurtful and "invalidating" things.
"Minorities are often alluded to as being there to tick boxes, to fill a quota. I cannot tell you how unbelievably invalidating that is. It penetrates our minds and makes us feel like we’re not worthy of success," Charithra told Radio Times. "I had people at university tell me, 'You only got the lead in that show because they needed to have a person of colour in it.'"
Charithra, who was born in Scotland but is of Indian descent, went on to say that she feels pressure to represent her community with her work.
She continued: "If I’m being really honest and vulnerable, in my head I’m like, 'Oh God, if people don’t like me in this or if I’ve done a bad job, I’ve ruined it for my entire community. When you are a minority you invariably feel the weight of representing your entire community. That’s not imposed by anyone – but it’s something I feel."
However, despite the downsides of working in the entertainment world as a woman of South Asian heritage, Charithra is hoping to inspire other South Asian women to do something they're passionate about too.
She told WION: "I think it's an immense privilege to be able to act with other South Asian actors. I have never taken it for granted. And I am so excited for all the little brown girls and young women to see the both of us on screen. I hope that I can serve as sort of a role model and inspire other South Asian girls to pursue their dreams."