The highly anticipated Season 2 of Never Have I Ever is finally here and we’re super excited that Gigi Hadid appears as a guest narrator in Episode 3. (Video at the end of the article).
Are you team Ben or Paxton? Maitreyi Ramakrihnan plays Devi Vishwakumar a Sophomore at Sherman Oaks High who is always landing herself in tricky situations, this season we hope she resolves her love triangle between Ben and Paxton.
BAZAAR interviewed the young star to find out more about her sudden rise to fame, representing a minority in Hollywood and her Covid-19 fundraiser for India.
1.You’ve had overwhelming success with 40 million households tuning in to watch Season One of Never Have I Ever? How does it feel like to be famous as such a young age?
It feels very surreal. I don’t think it’s fully hit me, because I don’t think anyone can take in that 40 million households, not people have watched you. I can’t imagine 40 million people watching the show. That’s crazy. But I’m taking it one day at a time.
2.How did you feel when u first got the role? What was the first reaction?
I only found out that I got selected out of 15,000 applicants after I got the role. But I think that’s a good thing because I would have been really nervous if I found out before. Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher called me to tell me that I got the role all I said was, That’s crazy. That’s it! At that time I didn’t know how my life would change, I don’t know anyone in my immediate life who is in Hollywood as an actor or even just in Hollywood. I had no idea what that life would be like. I was truly just like ok cool, this would be fun and I was excited. But I didn’t think all of this would happen.
3.Being a first-time actress, you seem like a real pro. How did you feel on the first day of the shoot and the entire process in general?
I can remember my first day of shooting so clearly, It was Devi telling Fabiola and Eleanor that she picked out boyfriends for them to date. I was so nervous, but not in a bad way. I was excited nervous, whenever I get nervous I like to channel that energy into whatever I’m doing. But there was a lot of it, so I was speaking fast, I was excited and I asked Ramona (Eleanor) so many questions, but she never ever complaint and answered all of my questions. It was a great first day. I remember going home and thinking, wow let’s do it again. After a month into filming Season One the Director of Photography Rhett Bear comes up to me and says, “ You’ve done good, I didn’t know if you would be back after the first week. But you’re still here.” I said yeah I am, this is awesome.
4. What’s in store for Season 2? The big question is, Did Devi choose Paxton or Ben?
First and foremost, I chose the best team. Which is Team Devi! In the love triangle there are 3 points, and Devi is the best point. It’s Team Devi all the way, and in Season 2 expect the unexpected. There is so much that is going to happen. It’s written so well because there’s so many times where we are telling you what’s going to happen without telling you what’s going to happen. Every line is truly important.
5.Was your high school crush more like Ben or Paxton?
My high school crush is neither. He’s just probably another lame guy that both Devi and I could do better with or better off without.
6. Are your parents traditional? What are the challenges you faced having to balance the life of a teenager living in Canada and your traditional upbringing?
The word traditional is interesting because tradition in itself is subjective. What’s traditional to some might not be traditional to others. But I would say my upbringing with my parents and how they raised my older brother and myself is very much about doing what you want but giving it your 100 %. They have always supported me going into the Arts because I cannot do math or science. They knew I was always going to go into Arts and they were very supportive of that and I can’t be more thankful.
7.There are many South Asian actors that have become more prominent in Hollywood including Oscar nominees Riz Ahmed, Kunail Nanjiani, Dev Patel, Hassan Minhaj and of course Mindy Kaling. How do you feel about this and what other ethnic groups would you like to see being represented more onscreen?
In my opinion there is still not enough. We need to get more shows and more projects, we are still able to take up space, play different roles and characters which allows the audience to relate to a lot more people. For other minority groups being represented, I think everyone deserves to represented equally and fairly. Every persons culture, background, ethnicity, sexuality and whatever you identify with proudly deserves to be a story. If you’re proud of that identity, it should be a story.
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8.Tell us about the Never Have I Ever fundraiser you set up for India? How is the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Canada?
We are fortunate enough to get vaccinated and that’s currently happening. We are slowly getting out of our stages which is nice. Hopefully, it remains to stay in a positive direction rather than turning back. With the Covid-19 fundraiser, it was me Poorna Jagannathan and Richa Moorjani saying hey we should do something and then going to the casting and asking them if they want to do something, then it went to Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher saying would you like to do something about this? Then it was getting Netflix, who is the best partner to work with to get that fundraiser going. We couldn’t have done it with everyone’s efforts and we raised a lot of money. It’s important to give back, we have soo many fans from India that support our show with such passion, so this is the least we can do. Covid-19 doesn’t see borders, people are dying. Not every country is blessed and privileged to get vaccines, that’s unfair. It’s not how it should be, hoarding vaccines in any country is not ok.
Here’s a recap of Season 1 to get you warmed up. Watch Season 2 of Never Have I Ever on Netflix here.
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Check out Gigi Hadid as the narrator in Episode 3
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