Golda Rosheuvel is an actress and singer. She portrays Queen Charlotte in Netflix’s Bridgerton, produced by Shonda Rhimes.
What is your background and what was growing up like for you?
I was born in South America/Guyana and moved to England when I was young. Adapting to a new environment, new school, and new people was a challenge. We arrived in this country with nothing!
The resilience and resourcefulness of my parents are something I aspire to every day – to meet every challenge with grace and determination.
Being a disruptor means challenging the status quo and going against the grain in your sphere of life. What makes you a disruptor? Tell us about some experiences in your personal or professional life where you have had to challenge the status quo.
My parents’ very existence together challenged the status quo, so from the day I was born, that was my destiny. My mother was White and my father was Black. We experienced good and bad attention just because the family picture looked very different from the “norm”.
The world is ever-changing and I think we have to move with it. I am at an age now where I have lived a life, so I have the wisdom to share but also the desire to learn from those who will lead the future. The status quo is not only to be challenged by personal passions but by the newness of thoughts and desires. I played Othello as a woman. In my mind it was always going to be that way, it was an instinctive desire to challenge the ideas in that play, to reach a modern audience, to stand up and be authentic in my storytelling.
What have been some obstacles along your journey? How have you navigated them?
When I look back on some of the obstacles I have had to overcome, some of them have been generated by things outside of my control. More often that is the case, right? Situations are dealt to you from outside entities. I believe sometimes it is how you react to them that creates the obstacle so I ask myself every time where is the obstacle? How do I overcome it?
I am an observer – I lead with an open heart and an inquisitive mind. You can learn a lot by stepping back and observing the room. Don’t forget I am living the challenge just by being here, just by having a white mother and a black father, from the day I was born I challenged the status quo. I have known what I am to the outside world for a long time. So to sit in that power and observe, to not react because their fears have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. I live my authentic life.
A disruptor leaves a mark, a legacy. What would you like to be yours?
My mother was a disruptor in ways you might not think of as disruptive. An amazing woman who had such an enthusiasm for life. My mother was a one-off and had the great gift of living and finding joy in the present moment. Disruption does not have to come from aggression or fighting – disruption can come from living life to the fullest with love in your heart. My mother was that disruptor – interested in people, and a great listener without judgement.
She was a truly valuable and loved member of her community, if I can leave just half of what she left I will be grateful.
Seeing how successful Bridgeton has been and the representation of a more diverse and inclusive cast, is it what you hoped for? What drew you to Bridgerton?
I have always claimed my space through my work. Taking roles that have something to say – roles that challenge the status quo – Bridgerton and the role of Queen Charlotte are no different.
I am confident that we as a community being on screen pushes the boundaries and makes the space bigger for us all to thrive and be seen.
How did you come by the role of Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton and what do you love most about playing this character and the character herself?
I auditioned for Lady Danbury originally. Then when I did not get that role they asked me to do a Self-tape for Queen Charlotte. I remember I was going away for Christmas and New Year and I had to do the tape very quickly in an afternoon. I sent it off and did not think anything of it. The next thing I knew I was on a call with my agent who said the director loved the tape and it had been sent to Shonda Rhimes for approval. She approved and the rest is history. Queen Charlotte is very close to my heart. She is one of those roles an actor gets that sits comfortably in the framework of who they are. I know the character and the world she lives in.
Storytelling is important in our world and the role of an actor can be very critical. What power do you think actors yield in storytelling and the world as we see it today?
If we want wider representation, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in our storytelling, we need to tell the stories of and from the world we live in. The actor’s superpower is empathy and there is the desire to tell these stories to inform, educate and entertain.
Do you think we are doing enough in terms of inclusion and diversity in the TV and film industry?
Diversity, representation, and inclusion in TV and film are so important. When you feel represented, you feel included. Bridgerton I think celebrates that, showcasing voices we have not traditionally heard in a genre typically reserved for a specific type of storytelling. There has to be support for all types of heroes and heroines on our screens. When we do not represent an accurate portrait of the society we live in we do our communities and world a great disservice.