‘Never Have I Ever’ Cast Reflects on Hollywood’s Treatment of Women of Color

Never Have I Ever Season 2 is finally out and receiving the love it definitely deserves. The series picks up after the first season with Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) being thrown in a love triangle between Ben (Jaren Lewison) and Paxton (Darren Barnet). Although the trailer focuses on Devi’s love life, the story behind the second season is much deeper than just teenage love and lust. Still dealing with the grief of losing her father, Devi deals with school, her mother’s potential love life, and the idea of the new Indian girl in school taking her spot in the all-white school.

Anessa (Megan Suri) is introduced in the second season as the new ‘cool’ girl who everyone gets along with — including Devi’s mother. Devi feels threatened by Anessa’s presence as she is easily able to win over her classmates with her laid-back attitude. Devi is so used to being the only South Asian in the school that she feels she has a niche that makes her different. One classmate even says, “Aneesa’s like Devi 2.0… No offense, Devi 1.0.” Devi’s insecurity over Anessa’s arrival had caused her to do the most brash and irresponsible things that ended up hurting Anessa.

NEVER HAVE I EVER (L to R) MAITREYI RAMAKRISHNAN as DEVI VISHWAKUMAR, MEGAN SURI as ANEESA, and, DARREN BARNET as PAXTON-HALL YOSHIDA in episode 204 of NEVER HAVE I EVER Cr. ISABELLA B. VOSMIKOVA/NETFLIX © 2021

Like Hollywood, where casting seems to be exclusively white, women of color have had to fight for roles that end up tokenizing the characters in an overwhelmingly white cast. It also causes some competition among women of color to “be the IT WOC girl” rather than working together to create more spaces for each other. The Nerds of Color got to chat with the cast of Never Have I Ever and wanted to know more about their thoughts on this storyline and how it reflects Hollywood today.

“Yup, I’m not going to say something happy and cushy answer,” said Ramakrishnan. “It sucks too, because why does it have to be that way? Why can’t we just write more roles or just cast without having to say ‘this character has to be white.’ Like, wait, why? If the character doesn’t have to specifically be any race, let’s just cast appropriately. Not to say that all white characters should be of color. No, that’s not what we’re trying to say. We’re just trying to say make room for us.”

Check out the full interviews below with Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Lee Rodriguez, and Megan Suri:

Never Have I Ever Season 2 is out now on Netflix.

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