Fashion

Who Is Regé-Jean Page, the Sexy Duke in ‘Bridgerton’?

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If you love a period drama that features longing glances, subtle flirtations, and someone’s mother fussing about marriage eligibility, then Bridgerton is absolutely for you. If you’re also so excited by the sound of Julie Andrews’ voice that, like me and Leslie Knope, you get “too hyper before bedtime,” then Bridgerton is for you. If you like shows with very sexy people playing other very sexy people, then Bridgerton is for you.

This show is full of attractive people, but there is one person in particular who’s really having a moment right now: Regé-Jean Page, who plays Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, and love interest of London’s most eligible, Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor).

The two have a roller coaster of a relationship. We could get into a deeper analysis (and trust me, I will in a future article). To summarize, Simon and Daphne needed to go to therapy from pretty much the moment they meet. But this is a period drama, and people don’t talk about their problems. Instead, they go to dozens of useless, frivolous balls and focus on filling their dance cards. And we love it.

Simon’s issues aside, Page is definitely an actor to know. He’s the star of Bridgerton, and it’s clear he’s going to have leading-man potential for years to come. Here’s what you need to know about him.

He started acting in childhood so he could buy himself a Gameboy.

Page, who grew up in Zimbabwe and the U.K., told InStyle that he was a “musical, loud, bouncing-around-the-house” kid who started acting so he could afford a Gameboy. In an interview with Netflix’s Queue & A, he said he also wanted to be an explorer when he was young.

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“That was my first idea of what would be a really great thing to do in the world: to discover unknown things and pick around in them and see what you could bring back home to go, ‘Look! The world is bigger than you thought it was,’ he said. “Then I discovered that would involve facing entirely too many very large spiders.”

You’ve definitely seen him in other film and TV projects.

Just last year, he appeared in Sylvie’s Love, a movie about a summer romance between an aspiring TV producer (Tessa Thompson) and a saxophonist (Nnamdi Asomugha), Page plays drummer Chico Sweetney. You might also know him from Shonda Rhimes’s legal drama For the People and the 2016 Roots remake. In the Queue & A interview, Page also said he played the Little Drummer Boy in a school production.

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“I was the Little Drummer Boy in my school’s nativity play, and oh, how I played! Such drums, such playing! I clearly had a career in musical theater ahead of me and somewhere took a left turn and started getting all dour and serious and doing emotionally broken dukes.”

He’s got musical talent.

Page and his brother, Tose, have a musical duo called TUNYA. And you can hear Page’s vocal talents in the short film Don’t Wait, directed by Lanre Malaolu.

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Here’s the description on the website: “Conceived in the midst of the long, hard summer of 2020, Lanre’s visceral choreography meets Regé-Jean’s swooning love song, and re-mixes it into an explosively physical, intensely personal journey—an intimate missive straight from the broken hearts of young Black men—battling through desolation, rage, confusion, and ultimately bruising vulnerability.”

It’s important for him to work on projects that show Black people being happy.

“It’s a relief to make the very easy decision to stop excluding people from our stories,” Page told ELLE.com in December 2020. “It’s not commonly done, but also, there’s no good reason for it not to be done.”

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He also told InStyle that he’s all about taking part in projects that show Black joy, especially in historical fiction, which usually only features white people thriving.

“What happens in culture often is, you go back in time and only white folks are happy,” he says. “And you know what? We’ve all known how to smile since the beginning of time. We’ve all gotten married since the beginning of time. We’ve all had romance, glamour, and splendor. Representing that is incredibly important, because period drama for people who aren’t white shouldn’t mean only spotlighting trauma.”

He adds: “If we’ve endured white Jesus for this long, then folks can endure a Black duke.”

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