Never Have I Ever – For Nerds of Colour Everywhere

Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever Comes To Netflix on April 27

Every day we wake up to a bombardment of news articles from all around the world about the global pandemic. Sometimes – we need a distraction, and a good one at that.

On April 27th, Never Have I Ever,a new Netflix series created by executive producer Mindy Kaling will be available to stream worldwide. The 10-episode comedy is a coming-of-age story about the complicated life of a modern-day first-generation Indian American teenage girl inspired from Kaling’s own childhood.

Newcomer starlet Maitreyi Ramakrishnan plays Devi, a confident and overachieving high school sophomore. “Nerds are not only the wallflowers and the quiet ones… We’re ambitious, we have obnoxious personalities sometimes, we want to have sex and dream like all the other kids”, says Kaling. Kaling wants to emphasize – Devi is not just a nerd, but a nerd of colour. “That’s what’s so puzzling to me because you don’t see nerds of colour on TV. But that is exactly what [highs school] was like. My Asian American and African American friends were nerds,” Kaling says.

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Kaling has always aimed to put more diverse representation both on screen and behind the scenes. “I think there’s such pressure when you’re creating a show to keep it on the air that people only hire those who they feel comfortable with, and for a lot of people that’s people who look exactly like them”, Kaling said in an interview with The Guardian. Kaling lets everyone know her writers’ rooms are ethnically diverse – even if that means spending extra time training people because they’ve never had the experience. It’s not shocking Kaling’s behind this new inspiring Netflix Original.

To cast Never Have I Ever, Kaling put out a casting search on her own social media platforms. “ATTENTION DESI LADIES! I’m holding OPEN casting calls for leads in my new Netflix show!” – and was seeking three lead South Asian parts. Along with young Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan (“Big Little Lies”, 2019, “The Night Of”, 2016) is set to play Nalini, Devi’s mother, and Richa Shukla (“The Mindy Project”, 2012) will play Kamala, Devi’s cousin from India.

Prior to her landing this lead, Ramakrishnan never had a paid acting gig – or even had a professional headshot (she used her prom photo for her audition). However, it’s clear Ramakrishnan definitely has the experience to relate to the character. “The experience of having immigrant parents but then being born and growing up here in the Western world and figuring out your own identity and your faith – that’s something I went through when I was Devi’s age”, says Ramakrishnan in a Refinery29 interview. “When I see my face on things, it feels like some other brown chick. I’m like, Oh, good for you! Brown girl, represent!”

We’re thrilled to see this long-overdue South Asian women representation and know we’ll be bingeing this one! Coming to Netflix on April 27th, take a look at the first teaser and “get ready for some steamy teen romance”….with some modern Desi flair.