The 'Behind Her Eyes' star once dreamed of becoming the next Whitney Houston till she found out that acting is her true passion.
You may recognize Simona Brown as Louise, a single mother who fell in love with her boss in Netflix's ominous psychological thriller 'Behind Her Eyes.' After knowing her boss's wife, Louise soon finds out that there's a sinister force surrounding the couple's relationship, and she's suddenly trapped into it.
What you might not know is that this isn't the first time the actress starred in a Netflix show, and she's already started making waves with other big projects before.
From her early life in South East London up to her blossoming acting career, here are 10 things you might not know about Simona Brown.
Whitney Houston was a huge inspiration to Simona Brown and she dreamt of following the footsteps of the legendary vocal icon.
“Singing was the dream. Whitney was a huge inspiration for me growing up,” Brown told Essence Magazine. “I studied musical theatre for my first two years at The Brit school where I studied singing, acting and dancing.”
However, she found out that acting is what she loved the most, thus she decided to abandon her dreams of becoming a singer to focus on becoming an actress.
"Of the three art forms I enjoyed acting the most, so I continued with theatre in the sixth form and started looking for an agent."
Simona Brown had a brief appearance in History Channel’s remake of Roots in 2016 and starred alongside Regé-Jean Page. Regé-Jean Page played the dashing Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton, one of Netflix's biggest original series to date. Simona considers her casting at 'Roots' as her first big break.
Simona Brown admits that she experienced getting bullied in primary school. However, looking back, she thinks that the isolation has somehow helped bring out her artistic side.
"I did experience some bullying in primary school, but oddly enough being isolated was somewhat of a relief. Being part of the cool clique was too stressful. I think that’s when I really got into reading and creating my own short stories."
When Simona was young, she saw 'The Lion King' for the first time during the school trip. She knew right then, deep inside her heart, that she wanted to be an actress.
"I knew I wanted to be an actor after I saw The Lion King for the first time when I was about 9, on a school trip," she told The British Blacklist.
However, she was still torn between her dreams and the impact of Whitney Houston in her life.
"I wanted to be Whitney Houston. Everyone wanted to be Whitney Houston when they were 5. Then I saw this amazing show, and I think, seeing all of those actors of color perform at such a high level like nothing I’d ever seen before inspired me! I could identify with them."
Maybe, at least for now. Simon Brown does not have an official Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter page yet. She has a lot of namesakes and posers though, so try to double-check before following any account.
Simona Brown honed her acting skills at The Identity School of Acting in London. The same institution has produced a list of notable stars like Letitia Wright of 'Black Panther,' Star Wars’ John Boyega, and Chance Perdomo from 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.'
In an interview with Essence, Simona Brown has mentioned her love for reading twice. She said she first got into reading at Primary School when she was bullied and was mostly a loner. Even if she's now working as an actress, she still reads from time to time while taking various acting classes.
Simona Brown starred as Tess in Netflix's Kiss Me First,' a British cyber-thriller that looks like 'Black Mirror' meets-'Ready Player One' wavering between virtual animation and reality that premiered in 2018.
Simona Brown has always watched Olivia Colman, so when she starred beside her in the BBC adaptation of the John le Carré novel 'The Night Manager,' she almost couldn't believe it was happening.
"I think I was in a state of shock for the whole filming process as I was just sat opposite Olivia Colman and I've always watched her onscreen," she told The Resident, adding:
"She's a really great, warm character to be around. And then Hugh Laurie would just stroll up with cakes for everyone — I used to watch him in Stuart Little! It was bizarre to be around so many big acting names, and it was great to watch and observe and take it all in as a valuable learning experience."
Simona Brown is born on 6 April 1994. She grew up in Peckham, London.