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Regé-Jean Page Is Poised For A Global Takeover, But Who Is The 'Bridgerton' Star, Really?

Indulge in your burning love for all things Rege-Jean.

Culture & Entertainment

Less than a week ago, hearts broke across the land upon news by way of Lady Whistledown that Simon Basset aka The Duke of Hastings won't be returning to the beloved Netflix original, Bridgerton. The announcement actually came via the show's Instagram account and actor Regé-Jean Page further dug the knife in our bleeding hearts (seriously, we are not OK) with an eloquent sign-off. He commented under the post:

"It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege! Joining this family—the connection on and off-screen, with our cast, our crew, all the incredible fans, has been like nothing I could have ever imagined—the love is real and will only keep growing."

The explanation behind his departure is a simple one: The Bidgerton books which the series is based on, follow a different sibling in each book. Season one was focused on Daphne Bridgerton's romance (and the Duke's abs and other assets), so now that she's found burning love, not to mention a baby on the way, with Simon the seasons to follow will no longer feature his character. In an exclusive interview with Variety, Regé-Jean said:

"It's a one-season arc. It's going to have a beginning, middle, end—give us a year," before adding "[I thought] 'That's interesting,' because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit, and then the Bridgerton family rolls on."

The frenzy Regé-Jean has sent fans and the press into since being first introduced to us as The Duke over the holidays has only gained more steam with his departure. But who is the rising star really? Much isn't known about him other than our gorgeous grace will in fact grace our screens again very soon—only not in Bridgerton season 2—but in The Gray Man, Netflix's biggest-budget feature film to date! While you take in that news, indulge in your burning love for all things Regé-Jean below.

Here are the Basics: Meet Regé-Jean

For starters, Regé-Jean is 31 years old and stands at 5'11''. He's British (hello, real accent) and Zimbabwean. The Bridgerton star was born in London but spent his childhood in Harare, Zimbabwe, and then returned to England for high school. In a 2016 interview with Interview Magazine, he talked about relocating as a teen:

"It's very hard to craft an identity in that environment as a young, mixed-race man."

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's unclear if the actor is single or not since he's super private. We'll go with single though since there have been no signs to make us think otherwise. Yes, we can all continue to fantasize about a casual Shonda Rhimes-crafted meet-cue with the Duke that ends in hot, steamy...you get it.

That Time ​Regé-Jean Won an NAACP Image Award

Regé-Jean may have played a Duke, but upon his win for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards, he said "it is the highest honor" to represent the Black community in such a regal manner. He is also the first actor from Bridgerton to win an award for the hit show. He expanded on his speech backstage, adding:

"I think I see my job as a representative job…you are representing the world around you, you represent the political climate around you. That is integral into how we navigate together."

When he's not winning awards, he takes his advocacy to social media where he posts his support for Black Lives Matter. A Duke, an advocate, a humble winner—what can't he do?

Where You’ve Seen ​Regé-Jean Before

If the Duke looks familiar, it's possible you might have caught him in one of his other projects. Yes, there was a time when Regé-Jean existed outside of Regency-era London and was equally, for lack of a better word, HOT. He played Chicken George in the 2016 miniseries Roots and from 2018 to 2019 was a regular cast member on the ABC legal drama For the People— another Shondaland creation. One of his smaller acting credits includes the 2020 Amazon Prime romance Sylvie's Love where he played a jazz quartet member and love interest to Aja Naomi King who played Sylvie's bestie.

If you want to go way back, Potterheads will be able to point him out in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I if you freeze the screen at the perfect moment during the scene of Fleur and Bill's nuptials. We're glad he found his way back to Shondaland, even if only for a season. He certainly made a lasting impression on more than just Daphne!

Music Was His First Love

As a teen, Regé-Jean was the lead singer of a rock band called The Super Nashwan Kids that would frequent the London club scene. He was studying sound engineering at the time before he discovered the British National Youth Theatre and his acting hobby became a budding career. Regé opened up about his musical memories with his younger brother as his bandmate in Interview Magazine, saying:

"We were writing loud, angry, righteous guitar music and screaming at people with various colors in our hair."

Indeed, the Duke once had purple hair. We can already see the headlines courtesy of Lady Whistledown.

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Featured image by Giphy

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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