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‘Never Have I Ever’ cast discusses the opportunity for growth and authenticity in their coming-of-age comedy-drama

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Courtesy of Netflix

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan says she’s still navigating the “pressures” and success of her hit coming-of-age series Never Have I Ever even in its second season.

“It’s funny when people say, ‘Oh, you’re a pro now. Season two you’re a pro,” Ramakrishnan tells ABC Audio. “But reality is… I still only have done a season… So there’s still a huge part of me that’s learning. Every day is a new day on set and I’m learning something that I didn’t know before. Whether it’s behind the camera or in front.”

While the series — which follows Ramakrishnan as Devi, a 15-year-old Indian-American girl looking to improve her social status — is still new for Maitreyi, some of her co-stars see the show as a rare opportunity to “embrace” their culture.

“[It’s] the character that I brought most of myself to,” says Poorna Jagannathan, who portrays Devi’s mom Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar. “There’s a sense of a continuous self. So who I am outside of the set is also who I am on set. And that’s the first time that I’ve experienced that fluidity, even though I’m not Nilini at all in real life.”

Richa Moorjani, who plays Devi’s cousin Kamala Nandiwadal agrees, noting that she too has been able to bring “most” of herself to Kamala without “feel[ing] like [Richa has] to change.”

“I didn’t have to hide away from my Indian-ness,” Moorjani explains. “That was just so rare and such a blessing for me as a South Asian actor. It’s just been an incredible experience.”

Jagannathan concurs, calling it a “privilege” to “immerse” herself into her character. 

“I’ve never felt that before,” she says. “Now that I have it, I’m not going back.”

Season 2 of Never Have I Ever is now available on Netflix.

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