Interview by Jana Letonja

Guyanese-British actress and singer Golda Rosheuvel is best known for her portrayal of Queen Charlotte in Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’ and it’s prequel spin-off ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’, which premiered on 4th May.

full look BALMAIN

Golda, the fans got to know you and love you in Netflix’s record-setting series ‘Bridgerton’, where you portray the iconic Queen Charlotte. What do you love the most about ‘Bridgerton’?

That I’ve made some amazing friendships on that show. It’s a cliche and everybody says it, but there’s some really amazing human beings on that set. Not only the cast, but also the production and my hair and make-up team. They’re like my best mates now. I’ve been playing this role for four years now and when you do something for that long, you are going to bond with people and make friendships. So I think that for me, the beautiful thing about ‘Bridgerton’ is the friendships that we’ve made.

Just recently, the prequel spin-off ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ premiered, which focuses on young Queen Charlotte’s rise to prominence and power. How excited were you for the fans to get to know more about your character and her story?

The main thing that fans always talk to me about or always mention when they talk of Queen Charlotte from ‘Bridgerton’ is those intimate scenes with the king. You know, they’re very few and far between in ‘Bridgerton’, they’re just like little fleeting moments. So to be able to draw the curtain back and give them a little bit more of vulnerability of this character, which they say that they love and that they connect with, is really gratifying for me. As an actress you hope your work is appreciated out in the big bad world. And for them to notice and really pinpoint those moments, which are so dear to my heart and the moments that really make her a rounded character, makes Queen Charlotte all the more wonderful and better to be put out there.

When you were filming ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’, what surprised you the most about her history, that you didn’t know yet about before?

That’s always an interesting question and it’s about process for me. It’s about the actor’s process, so in terms of surprises, there weren’t any surprises because in my process of creating the character from ‘Bridgerton’ I have my family there. That’s a layer that I have worked on, that I think about. I make sure I think about George at least once in every scene that I’m in in ‘Bridgerton’, just to connect me emotionally. So those characters of my children, for instance, have been there in the darkness of my imagination. And now Shonda Rhimes has brought that into the light, for not only the audience to see, but also now I can physically see the children that I have imagined. So as in terms of surprises, I think the surprise is actually seeing the faces and who they are and now having their beautiful characters and humanness all in my head to take to the next ‘Bridgerton’ season is wonderful. 

But yeah, it’s about the process being given the light it deserves. It’s the layers of building a character. Who is she? Where does she come from? Who is she married to? Who are her children? That’s all there for me in the scenes for ‘Bridgerton’. And as I said, Shonda has now shunned the light on all of that, which is beautiful.

dress & necklace DAVID KOMA

In ‘Queen Charlotte’ we get to know she has 13 children. What do you think the fans were most surprised by when they got to see the Queen in the role of a mother?

It’s a very complex relationship. And I think the balance of India’s performance and the balance of my performance of the mother is a really interesting journey that the audience goes on in terms of seeing this character that they know and love for the balls, for the tea parties, for the glitz and the glamor really being vulnerable, really being personal and showing that she’s human, showing the complexity of family, the complexity of the dynamics of mother and child.

I’ve been watching ‘Succession’. That family dynamic and that sibling dynamic on the surface make you feel that they hate each other with a passion. There is such complexities there, but when one of them gets hurt, they come together as a tribe. And I really feel that that’s what I wanted to portray in our family in ‘Bridgerton’. But what the mother,Charlotte talks to them about is love. She tries to communicate that love is the thing that her and George eventually had through thick and thin. No matter what’s happening on the surface, the core foundation is love.

In this spin-off the viewers get to see the love between Queen Charlotte and King George and how they fell in love. What makes their love so special and one everyone could learn something from?

I think it’s about communication. I think it’s about knowing who you are in yourself and bringing that self to unity. George is very much a man who knows who he is, what he is, how he is in the world. And I think Charlotte has that as well. She’s unapologetic, she walks in her womanhood, she stands firm in who she is. That’s why he’s attracted to her and that’s why she’s attracted to him. So these two people come together really knowing themselves and really understanding that together they can conquer all.

In terms of what we can learn from it, I think everybody’s gonna take something different. I hope that is the case because we are all different. And I think what I have learned is that I never really understood what death do us part, in sickness and in health meant. That always kind of felt to me as old-fashioned, something that the modern world wasn’t connected to. There’s a moment in the show where she takes him in her arms and she makes a choice to be his carer in every way. There’s a scene that really rounds that all off and for me, really explains death do us part, in sickness and in health, that love bond that two people can have, that it is possible to have that even through all hardship. 

full look FERRAGAMO
earrings SHAUN LEANE

How challenging was it to film ‘Queen Charlotte’ and season 3 of ‘Bridgerton’ simultaneously?

The challenge was about logistics. It was literally about filming ‘Queen Charlotte’ or ‘Bridgerton’ at one end of the country, having to come back to London, come home, change the suitcase, then travel to somewhere else in England in the afternoon to film the other. 

But it was so exciting getting information or having the information and seeing it there in front of me and then being able to take that to a scene in ‘Bridgerton’. I felt full of creativity. You know in sci-fi, when a human or an alien or whatever kind of dissipates and then you see them coming back again and it’s all like, that’s. That’s what it felt. It felt like Charlotte was being put together again. The layers were coming together. I wanted more information and couldn’t wait to get the scripts of ‘Queen Charlotte’ to see what more I could gorge on, which was great. 

In both series we get to see some magnificent fashion, which is a perfect combination of the 18th century fashion and some modern touch on it. Could you imagine living in that era and wearing those dresses all the time? 

No. I find it very extraordinary that was a thing that women had to do, because it’s hard. It’s really difficult to wear thatand thank God I don’t have to do it every single day. But it’s not easy, it’s about stamina. I train three times a week for my body to be strong enough to be able to wear those costumes and to be able to carry myself the way that I want tocarry myself.

And their wigs were probably made of completely different frameworks and material, but we try to emulate as much as we can the structure of a Georgian wig. But within it, we use dreadlocks and textured hair and really try and celebrate people of color and women of color. That was a really strong topic for us to hold onto. I’m very glad that I can wear my tracksuits and my sneakers and stuff.

How heavy are actually those wigs?

They’re heavy. I have a neck brace that the crew made me. It’s a long thing and it’s got a connection where I put my neck in and I’m able to just rest my neck. 

full look PACO RABANNE

Besides starring in TV and film, you’ve also been in many stage productions. Do you ever miss performing on stage and the thrill of a live audience?

I love my work. I love being at work. I love the people around me. I love when I’m sitting on the throne as the queen and they’re setting up for a shot. I love watching all these amazing human beings create this stuff that goes around.I’m just in awe. Same for film. I love it. Film’s a little bit longer because you get to nurture the character a little bit more. There’s more time, there’s more discussion, there’s more investigation, which is really lovely. But still, I love thesepeople. 

Theater is exactly the same relationship that I have with the audience. So when I do theater, in the dressing room I always turn up the tannoy so I can hear the people that are going to be in the same room as me for the next two hours. And I love that moment where the doors close and you get your five minute call. I love that excitement of it. And I find that excitement in whatever work I do. I just love telling stories and I love the way we tell them. I find it fascinating and really interesting how we tell stories in those three mediums.

full look MUGLER

Being born in Guyana and then moving to England at five, how did you develop love for acting?

My parents were very musical, so music was always in our house, singing, playing instruments. I sang in the choir. My dad was a Church of England priest, so there’s definitely a performance element to worship and sending out the message. Storytelling was always in my family. My parents used to have dinner parties and my brother and I used to sit and listen to my father tell stories of my mom and his journeys through the bush in Guyana, him preaching to the indigenous tribes of Guyana, my mom hoisting me on her back, them hiking up into the bush and these stories of wonderful people and communities and religions and food and song and music. My household was really rich in that sense.

I know we can’t ask you to give away any spoilers for season 3 of ‘Bridgerton’, but what would you say is the most exciting part of this upcoming season? 

What I love about ‘Bridgerton’ is that each season you have a new love story, but yet you have this wonderful ensemble. The Queen, Lady Danbury, mama Bridgerton, the ton who come together to support that love story. And it’s no different this season for Penelope and Colin. They are at the center, it is their love story and we are there as their support to really elevate them to whatever joy may be.

talent GOLDA ROSHEUVEL @goldarosheuvel
photographer CHARLIE GRAY @charliegraystudio @lgamanagement
stylist SHAQUILLE ROSS WILLIAMS @ A-Frame Agency @shaquillerw @aframe_agency
styling assistants CHIMDI ROBERTS & SARAH ANTWI @chimdi_roberts
make-up KENNETH SOH @ The Wall Group @kennethsohmakeup @thewallgroup
hair DIONNE SMITH @ 7Even Management @dionnesmithhair @7evenmanagement
post production MAMMOTH RETOUCH @mammoth_retouch
editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja