Jonathan Bailey doesn't just have viewers swooning over him on Bridgerton - he's also making a real impact on up-and-coming actors who might've been afraid of coming out in Hollywood.
In an interview with The New York Times, Bailey took a deep dive into his career, personal life, mainstream success with Bridgerton, and new role in the West End play Cock. Other people were also interviewed to talk about Bailey in the story, such as Nicki van Gelder, who's been Bailey's agent since he was 15 years old. Van Gelder first credited Bailey's "generosity toward other actors." She then elaborated on the impact Bailey has had on younger actors who are gay but are still hiding in the closet:
"I have a couple of younger actors that I've discussed it with. They said, 'Jonny is out, is it OK?' And I said, 'Absolutely.'"
In 2019, Bailey won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical and said in his speech, "If I can fill spaces that I didn't have growing up, then I feel like that's a really brilliant thing."
As the character of Anthony Bridgerton, Bailey was one of the main characters in the first season of Bridgerton. However, it wasn't until season two that he became the actual lead of the show. The first season followed Anthony's younger sister, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), as she met, fell in love with, and married to Simon (Rege-Jean Page). After Page's sudden exit from the series, the story shifted to focusing on Bailey's character in season two.
Outside of his international recognition from Netflix's Bridgerton, Bailey is currently starring in the West End revival of Cock. In the play, the character of John - played by Bailey in the revival - falls in love with a woman despite always identifying as a gay man and having a boyfriend of seven years. Rocketman star Taron Egerton was initially signed on to play John's boyfriend in the revival, but he dropped out of the play citing "personal reasons."
It is very likely that Bridgerton season three will have a different lead, but it seems like Bailey is already set up to have a long and successful career as an actor. Meanwhile, his mainstream success is clearly inspiring other actors who would like to live in their truth but are perhaps afraid of the consequences that coming out as gay could have in their careers.
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