Lia Beck
April 16, 2020 12:25 pm
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Playing a teenage version of Mindy Kaling would be one of the most exciting roles out there for a young actor. So it’s no surprise that when that part was cast for Kaling’s new Netflix show, Never Have I Ever, 15,000 hopefuls threw their hat in the ring. Ultimately, the part went to Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and now we can all see her in action in the first trailer for the series.

Never Have I Ever will hit Netflix on Monday, April 27th, and is described as a “coming-of-age comedy about the complicated life of a modern-day, first-generation Indian American teenage girl.”

Ramakrishnan plays Devi, a high school sophomore, who is on a mission to make her friend group more popular and to have sex for the first time. It looks like a similar vibe to Blockers or Booksmart.

The show is based in part on series creator Kaling’s own life, but as the trailer shows, it’s set in 2020. Devi and her friends film what looks like a TikTok dance video and look up “Kegel exercise” on Wikipedia. Classmates film Devi on their iPhones when she, apparently, tries to befriend a wolf. According to Netflix’s description, Devi “has a short fuse that gets her into difficult situations,” so I guess that last part checks out.

Ramakrishnan was cast back in July 2019 after beating out thousands of other young actors as part of an open call, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Canadian actor explained to Today that her best friend encouraged her to audition.

“And I was like, ‘Hey, why not?’ I fit the description of a South Asian female teen, so why not me? So I took a chance and I gave it my all,” Ramakrishnan said.

First, she sent in an audition video, then started the in-person audition process. Now that she’s been cast, Ramakrishnan takes her role seriously—not just in playing a teen inspired by Kaling, but also when it comes to representation of South Asian women on TV.

“One thing that’s really important to me is just representation in the media in general, of people from all walks of life,” she told Today. “It’s really important to see on-screen people that they can identify with and relate to.”

Now, Ramakrishnan is one of those people herself.