Arsema Thomas astounds fans with her academic achievements: she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biophysics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016 and then earned a Master’s of Public Health from Yale University School of Public Health in 2018

Even the smash period romance on Netflix, Bridgerton, had Arsema Thomas glued to her seat in 2020 when it was originally aired.

“I don’t know what it was, but sometimes when you see something you want and it’s already come and gone, it’s difficult to sit and enjoy it without thinking of that,” Thomas, 28, tells The Hollywood Reporter. I was thinking that this would be the best thing ever, but when it passed and no word about an audition arrived, I was devastated. How am I ever going to be able to watch this?

Upon learning that Shonda Rhimes’s successful series would be returning for a second season, the actress—who was a student at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art—asked her agency to look into it, but production had already started. Nonetheless, news of Queen Charlotte reached Thomas’ agent a week later, and he delivered it to her.

‘This is a sign,’ I thought to myself. “At last, I have an excuse to tune in.”

Agent delivered self-tape, but Thomas had no idea what part she was auditioning for. However, she was requested to perform a chemistry read after three auditions and a Zoom conversation with director Tom Verica, during which she suppressed coughs and sniffles while she recovered from COVID.

While getting a chemical reading, “the thing is, it’s between you and maybe two other people,” she explains. “Those two weeks were an ordeal, to say the least. You’re so close, you can almost taste it, but you also have to remind yourself not to get your hopes up, because if everything goes wrong—which it most certainly will—you won’t be hurt too badly.”

Thomas, on the other hand, learned two weeks later that she had secured the part of Lady Agatha Danbury in the prequel to Bridgerton, which was completely unexpected. Queen Charlotte, played by India Ria Amarteifio, and the older Lady Danbury, played by Adjoa Andoh, are both featured in the May 4th Netflix drama, which also stars Golda Rosheuvel. According to Netflix’s internal rankings, the spinoff series has more than 307 million hours of viewing time to far, making it an immediate streaming smash.

Thomas, on the other hand, considers more than just record-breaking viewership to be success. The goal is to pave the way for more Black female protagonists in film, and by implication, for more visibility and acceptance of Black LGBT people like herself in mainstream culture.

Unfortunately, the industry needs to witness the positive reaction, enthusiasm, and praise from the Black community and everyone else for this character and this tale in order to prove that these stories should be told. According to her, even with huge ass quotations, you will still be effective while delivering these tales.

I entered the sector with a strong sense of denial. Im sure I’ll be proven incorrect was a part of me. Sorry, but I just don’t fit here. I am one of just three Black actresses who have achieved true success. The fact that more material will be created and our experiences will be aired gives me optimism that people will stop seeing Black people as a homogeneous group.

The things she passionately desires and the principles she upholds are inspiring, in my opinion. During this time, women are at their most apologetic for wanting all they desire, as Shonda wisely pointed out. For Black people and Black women in particular, who are often the overlooked demographic, it is really inspiring to see a lady standing up against societal norms and demanding what she believes is rightfully hers. White women come to mind when you think about women. The image of a Black guy usually comes to mind when the word “Black” is used. But what about Black women? Rather than serving as a cautionary tale, seeing her seize space and succeed in doing so should inspire other Black women to stand up for what they want. She is incredibly relatable because she goes for her desires. She expresses our collective sentiments.

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