Ambassador Simone Lahbib is a Scottish actress, best known for her portrayal of idealistic Wing Governor Helen Stewart in ITV drama Bad Girls. Born in Stirling to a Scottish mother and a French Algerian father, Simone received her acting training at Queen Margaret College, after spending four years training at the Manor School of Ballet in Edinburgh.
Simone commenced her on-screen career in 1985 when she was cast in The Girl in the Picture. She soon established a prominent career in television. Following guest appearances on Taggart and Dangerfield, she received her first leading role when she was cast in the ITV soap London Bridge as Mary O’Connor. Her next roles came in the late nineties, when she appeared in the third series of drama Thief Takers and in Channel 4 comedy series The Young Person’s Guide to Becoming a Rock Star.
Simone became widely recognized for her leading role in the cult British prison drama series Bad Girls, establishing a loyal fan base throughout the world, especially among the LGBT community. Following her departure from Bad Girls, Simone appeared in several drama series, including Judge John Deed and Monarch of the Glen. She was again cast in a leading role on the crime drama series Wire in the Blood as D.I. Alex Fielding. Her other notable TV credits include guest appearances in New Tricks and the 2012 Christmas Special of Downton Abbey.
Simone appeared in the films Red Mercury, with Stockard Channing, and the BAFTA-winning Philomena, with Dame Judi Dench. She co-starred in her husband and fellow Mental Ideas Ambassador Raffaello DeGruttola’s 2014 comedy film Film: The Movie, which she also co-produced.
In 2013 Simone opened a performing arts school, 360 Arts, in North London, which teaches singing, dancing and acting to children aged 3-18 years. She married Raff in 2003 and the couple have a daughter, Skye Lucia DeGruttola, also an actress, who was recently seen in the live action Disney movie Beauty & The Beast and in BBC series Grantchester.
In 2010, Simone established the Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund in honor of her niece who died of cancer nine days before her 16th birthday. The charity fund benefits kids with cancer and their families. In 2018 she organized a Bad Girls reunion, which helped raise money for the memorial fund.