There’s so much to love on screen in Netflix’s Bridgerton universe—the costumes, the music, the notoriously ardent romantic tension—but for travelers and Anglophiles, a top draw is the sumptuous imagery of English scenery. A “hands down favorite” filming location for actress Arsema Thomas, who plays the young Lady Danbury in the prequel spin-off Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, out this week, was the city of Bath. “The entire city is absolutely beautiful. It feels like you’re walking through a ready-made historic set because of how well they maintain everything,” Thomas says.
Her preferred place to steal away was the city’s pea-green, two-millennia-old waters. “The Roman Baths is this quiet, serene place, which feels quite magical,” says Thomas. Though the actress was born in the U.S. and got a Master’s at Yale, she grew up across several African countries and later studied acting in Paris and London. Ahead of the release of Queen Charlotte, Thomas chatted with us about her deeply well-traveled life, including the spots she’d like to return to, the movies she chooses in flight, and the psychological games she plays at the airport gate.
A place she’s lived that she thinks more people should visit:
Benin is definitely on that list. I lived in Cotonou, the little capital right by the coastline. Benin is known for its music—it's the home of Angélique Kidjo, one of the greatest African musicians currently performing—and that gives you the vibe of the entire country. It has a really interesting history when it comes to voodoo, and the food is amazing. I love fish, and almost every restaurant you go to, whatever fish you order, they go into the ocean and get it for you. It really goes on island time, too, even though it's not an island; it's just a coastal city. But because it's so hot, there's this kind of laissez-faire attitude, this relaxed sense of time. It makes for a beautiful city for a vacation.
What’s in her carry-on:
Usually in my carry-on are an assortment of snacks that I have compiled walking through the airport. Usually something sweet—I love Haribo goldbears. They're my absolute favorite. Welch's fruit snacks, but you can only get them in America, and then something salty, usually a lentil chip situation. And there’s always three books that I probably don't even crack open over the course of the flight.
Her 1-2-3 flight routine:
If I find myself in the air during the day, it usually means that I've stayed up all night so that I could sleep through that flight, which is—now, thinking about it—not really a good idea. I have a playlist on Spotify so that I can go to sleep, and it just keeps me in a really meditative, zen place. It's mostly Otis Redding. I usually download a couple of podcasts that sound like friends chatting. Then I love watching the [in-flight] movies. I cycle through all three [stages] again and again.
The place she’d like to spend more time in: