Never Have I Ever's breakout star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is basking in the glow of success and newfound attention following the late April debut of her critically acclaimed series. But the Canadian newcomer admits the entire experience has been "pretty surreal." "All I'm seeing is screenshots of 'No. 1 here, No. 1 there,' and obviously like the follower count going up," she recently told ET Live's Melicia Johnson.
While this is the 18-year-old actress' first credit, Ramakrishnan has captured the world's attention with her larger-than-life personality and realistic portrayal of an Indian American teenage girl, Devi, trying to move on following the sudden death of her father and doing so by refocusing her attention on boys. While the first season ended on a bittersweet, but hopeful, note, with Devi, alongside her mother, Nalini, and cousin, Kamala, scattering Mohan's ashes into the ocean, there's a lot of Devi's story still left to tell.
"I hope it focuses on the idea of self-love and being your own best friend because that's something a lot of people can relate to, not just teens but adults as well," Ramakrishnan told ET of her hopes for Devi in a potential season 2. "It's something I think is really sad to hear when people don't actually love themselves. But you should be your own best friend. You're stuck with yourself from the moment you're born to the day you die. Why wouldn't you want to be your own best friend?"
Though Netflix hasn't renewed Never Have I Ever for a second season, it seems inevitable. Several looming finale questions were left unanswered, one of the biggest ones being whether Nalini will move the family to India. Ramakrishnan revealed that an original version of the script had Nalini deciding not to make the move.
"In one of the first drafts of that script, it was written that Devi says, 'I'll come back home if we don't move to India. And Nalini responds back, 'I don't think Mohan would have wanted that anyways. We're not gonna move.' In the first draft, it was definitive. We're not moving. But then they decided to take that out," Ramakrishnan revealed. "But that would be amazing if Devi does because it would be obviously a culture shock to her because it's totally different. But at the same time, she could gain a whole appreciation for her culture because there's more to it than she thinks because she's only seeing one little piece of her culture versus what it actually is. I think that would be a really cool experience for her."
But has Devi moved on from the death of her father after that touching beach scene in the finale? Ramakrishnan believes "it's the beginning" of Devi's journey to self-healing.
"Which is part of the big reason why I'm Team Devi," she explained. "The three things she needs to do is 1) realize that she's being rude to her family and friends, the people that love her, 2) embrace her culture and really accept that and 3) confront her grief over her father. She still has a lot of unpacking to do and I don't think scattering the ashes and being with her mom and being with her cousin this one time is going to help that. There's a lot more to it. But I think it's a good start for her. She's got some ways to go."
As for the Team Paxton versus Team Ben of it all, figuring out which guy is best for Devi romantically is very messy. Both have things going for them, but both also have shortcomings, Ramakrishnan notes.
"Ben cheated on his girlfriend. Paxton literally knows nothing about Devi, probably doesn't even know she plays the harp because he cut her off and only likes her because she sees him as a person rather than he sees her," the actress said. "Ben has no friends and his family doesn't care about him. So, this is the first time somebody in his life has given him attention and he's probably blurring the lines of friendship and a relationship. Devi's a hot mess!"
Never Have I Ever is now streaming on Netflix.
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