What if Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, was the first mulatto monarch of the British crown? This is what some historians started to say in the 20th century and Shonda Rhimes, a pioneer of inclusive and representative television, also decided to use this theory to give the role of the queen in The Bridgertons Golda Rosheuvel (Guyana, 51 years old). Two years after the premiere, the support and success of the character -and, by extension, the actress- convinced Shondaland to dedicate her own series, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgertons Story (streaming on Netflix May 4), which delves into reflection: If a mulatto queen had embraced her African roots, how would society have changed? In a world of content dominated by young tastes, is watching a fiction featuring a 51-year-old mulatto risky or does it finally accept reality? “Risk is a very interesting word…” replies Rosheuvel, sitting relaxed in her south London home. “I think risk should always be associated with any production. The Bridgertons it was a risk. Now it seems not, but we had no idea what was going to happen while filming the first season. For us it was a small To show about a single mother with eight children and their relationships in this society. And when it comes out, you see people needed those stories, they need that representation. I am always looking for and accepting risks, thanks to the stories, to these books, to these characters, we break down barriers, we open minds to diversity and inclusion. It’s a very powerful space that we find ourselves in, it’s information and knowledge, it’s power”.
Rosheuvel was born in Guyana to a black Guyanese priest father and a white English social worker mother. When she was five, they moved to London, where the actress grew up in a particularly progressive and affluent environment. “If an interracial couple still looks…imagine then,” she says, admitting she still feels very close to her Guyanese roots. “Even though I haven’t been back to the island for a long time, it’s part of who I am,” he says. His parents and his origins come up a lot in the conversation. “I owe them everything, the legacy they left my brother and me was to encourage us to live as we are,” he says. “I remember as a child listening with fascination to the conversations they had with friends and family about how to make the world a better place from our little bubble. It was a blessing to grow up in that environment because of the influence of the two cultures.
The problems for Rosheuvel came from stepping out into the real world, leaving the bubble, and finding her biracial identity in the outside world and in entertainment. There she understands her character in the new series because from her mother she knows how to move very well in majestic environments and tea hours and, at the same time, feels that she does not quite fit in because of his appearance. “It’s my personal experience, I had times when I wasn’t black enough or not white enough, too much of one thing, not enough of the other…it was very frustrating for me” , she recalls. After taking her first steps as an athlete in her youth, an injury pushed her to opt for acting. In the theater, he quickly finds room for his talent, but he does not advance and he takes the first big risk of his career: to stop. “I loved my job, but it didn’t fulfill me, I had to stop, step back and say no to stereotypical roles to find my identity in the industry. Thanks to this break, I realized who I was and what I wanted to do,” he continues. From this risky decision came the unconventional opportunities that came later, “like playing a feminine, lesbian Othello” in the theater or, again, Queen Charlotte. “It’s weird and interesting to be in this position now where people are asking me about my decisions and making me question my life from afar. What I’m doing interests people,” she says, still surprised “I don’t consider myself a political person, but I have seen that the work I do is very political.”
Queen Charlotte allowed him “to enter decision-making rooms” to which he previously had no access. It has earned him international acclaim after 50 years that he has not profited in vain by asserting his age and his racial and sexual identity. Partner of playwright Shireen Mula, when a lesbian director told her to stay in the closet, she refused. “It’s my story, but it’s not new, a lot of people have been told and they couldn’t do what I did, you can’t trivialize the sadness of those who haven’t not the support to be able to live their life honestly and openly; For this reason, if my example helps someone to think that dreams can come true, no matter what you are, I celebrate it. I know that I am in a privileged position and I don’t take it lightly.” And in this new role of mentor, she is proud to want to share her great moment with the actress who plays the young queen, India Amarteifio: “It’s a strong moment for me, shaking his hand and making him also experience this wonderful life that has touched me in recent years”.
Exultant and affectionate, without those big wigs of her character (“This season there’s one that broke the weight record”), she hardly resembles the cold and serious Carlota face to face. He has a lot to celebrate and “a lot of positive impact” to keep fighting. “I’m at my best”, he shouts between two laughs to finish, “I wouldn’t have done anything differently, I wouldn’t have wanted success to come before, it came at the exact moment. I have a wonderful environment that keeps me grounded and allows me to find normality in this wonderful madness of glamor… at my age!I love and enjoy every moment at 51 years old.
*Makeup: Joy Adenuga (7Even Management). Hairstylist: Dionne Smith (7Even Management). Assistant photographer: Jesús Galicia. Styling assistant: Marina Pamies.
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