Never Have I Ever Season 2: Meet the Cast

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·8 min read
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Comedy fans rejoice: Never Have I Ever, Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher’s new Netflix series, just dropped its season 2. The Never Have I Ever cast features both newcomers and seasoned actors, coming together for a series loosely based on The Office alum's formative experiences as a first-generation Indian American teen.

The comedy centers on the experiences of Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a high-achieving student at Sherman Oaks High in the San Fernando Valley. Still grieving the sudden death of her father, she's navigating life with a short fuse that often lands her in difficult and awkward situations. The first teaser for NHIE dropped in March 2020 and opens with the lead character praying to Hindu gods to send her “a stone-cold hottie who can rock me all night long.”

“But not some nerd from one of my AP classes,” she says. “Like a guy from a sports team. He can be dumb, I don’t care.”

Get to know Maitreyi and the rest of the NHIE cast (including some exciting season 2 additions!) below.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi Vishwakumar

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This newcomer from Mississauga, Ontario, didn’t even have a headshot when she beat out 15,000 hopefuls to land the lead role of Devi. Having only acted in stage productions, Maitreyi learned of Mindy’s open call on social media in April 2019 and sent in an audition tape with the help of her best friend while preparing to star in her school’s production of Chicago. After two auditions in Los Angeles, she was cast in May and hasn’t looked back since. (“She literally dabbed after every take,” according to her on-screen mom, Poorna Jagannathan.)

She’s Tamil, just like Devi, which was important to Mindy in casting because “to see yourself in your own language, in your own country, with the nuances and specificities of that country.” She is all about the #browngirlcomeup on her Instagram, where she’s introduced fans to her character. “I want other Tamils all over the world to feel pride that Tamil people are making it,” she told NOW. Her family escaped war in Sri Lanka and Maitreyi has participated in protests about the dire situation her people face in their country. Her activism includes a school walkout to defend cuts to education spending, too.

Maitreyi eventually hopes to attend York University’s theatre program. In the meantime, starring in a highly-anticipated Netflix series will have to do.

Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar

Nalini, Devi’s mom, is played by actor Poorna Jagannathan, whose acting includes roles on HBO’s The Night Of and season two of Big Little Lies* along with Hulu’s Ramy. Her work in Bollywood, including a role as a journalist in the dark comedy Dehli Belly, is also highly acclaimed.

NHIE is much like the world she grew up in, she says, and her role as Devi’s mother is actually based on Mindy’s mom who passed away in 2011. She told Refinery29 that Nalini is “hilarious” and her character is a dream role where “brown folks can curse, have sex, and be a mess like everyone else on television.”

Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohan Vishwakumar

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Sendhil Ramamurthy portrays Devi’s dad Mohan, a “warm, caring” father with an adventurous side who owns a moped and only wants the best for his American-born daughter. He’s acted on NBC’S Heroes and The Office, on which he played Kaling’s character’s boyfriend in the show’s final seasons, and can also be seen in the CW’s The Flash.

Richa Moorjani as Kamala

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Kamala is Devi’s older cousin from India who is getting her PhD from Caltech and is played by actor and dancer Richa Moorjani. She too has worked with Mindy before as a guest star on The Mindy Project, and has also been seen on Fox’s 9-1-1. Her awesome dancing talents are on display on her YouTube channel and Instagram, including Bollywood dance covers.

Ramona Young as Eleanor

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Eleanor is one of Devi’s best friend at Sherman Oaks High and is brought to life by 20-year-old Ramona Young. Ramona currently plays Mona Wu in the CW's Legends of Tomorrow and has also starred in recurring roles including on Santa Clarita Diet, The Real O’Neils, and Z Nation. Ramona also appeared in the 2018 movie Blockers. Her Instagram is a must-follow — she has a pretty adorable style and considers herself a “professional clown.”

Lee Rodriguez as Fabiola

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Rounding out the trio of best friends is Fabiola, who is played by Lee Rodriguez. This is Lee's first major project, but appeared in a 2018 episode of Grown-ish and in several episodes of the Snap original series Class of Lies. She's also a singer – you can hear some of her music on Instagram.

Darren Barnet as Paxton Hall-Yoshida

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Paxton Hall-Yoshida is a popular upperclassman at Sherman Oaks High, who has caught the eye of Devi. The swimmer is depicted by Darren Barnet. If you're a fan of This is Us, you might recognize Darren as young Jack Pearson. He has also appeared on series including CBS's Criminal Minds, Netflix's Family Reunion, and a number of other gigs (including a Lifetime original movie called Instakiller). In Never Have I Ever, things get a bit steamy between Paxton and Devi… though he's not the only guy to draw her attention. Oh, and according to his Instagram, his birthday just so happens to be the same day the show premiered back in 2020.

Jaren Lewison as Ben Gross

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Ben Gross is Devi's longtime academic nemesis… and something more? They've gone to school together for years and are constantly trying to outdo each other, whether it's at the science fair or on exams. He's played by Jaren Lewison, who has a number of guest-starring roles over the years. Jaren also happened to be on four episodes of Barney & Friends along with the movie Barney: A Very Merry Christmas. He's currently a student at the University of Southern California.

Additional NHIE guest stars include Martin Martinez as Oliver, Christina Kartchner as Eve, and Benjamin Norris as Trent.

New Season 2 Cast Additions

Megan Suri as Aneesa Qureshi

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Aneesa Qureshi is the new kid at Sherman Oaks High. Like Devi, she’s also Indian-American, which Devi immediately sees as a threat since Aneesa is Very Cool. Aneesa, a soccer player, is described as extremely kind and smart, but she’s also fought her battles. When Aneesa first arrives at school, she’s not on the best of terms with Devi. (But, as Netflix has taught us multiple times, first impressions can change quickly!) 

Aneesa is portrayed by 22-year-old actor Megan Suri. News of her casting broke in November 2020. Though Aneesa is undoubtedly her biggest role yet, you might recognize Megan from other popular series such as Modern FamilyHow to Get Away with MurderAtypical, and Fresh Off the Boat. Film-wise, she had the titular role in 2019’s The Miseducation of Bindu and, per IMDb, will soon star in a TV Movie called Under the Bridge.

Tyler Alvarez as Malcolm Stone

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Malcolm Stone used to be part of Devi’s main friend circle until he was cast in a Disney Channel show, as NHIE explains. The teen actor makes his return to Sherman Oaks High during season two, while still pursuing his acting career on the side. While he and Eleanor have chemistry (and shared theatrical passions), will he become a full part of the group? As a stereotypical child actor and now the school’s certified beanie-wearing “bad boy,” Malcolm is described as arrogant and selfish. He’s also controlling in his relationship with Eleanor. (Also, just check out his tattoo…)

Malcolm is played by 23-year-old Tyler Alvarez. Hailing from the Bronx, Tyler has appeared in series like Veronica Mars, Orange Is the New Black, The Fosters, and American Vandal. Tyler is set to appear alongside Modern Family’s Ariel Winter and Love, Victor’s Mason Gooding in an upcoming indie project named Pools.

Common as Dr. Chris Jackson

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Dr. Chris Jackson is a dermatologist who works in the same building as Devi’s mom, Nalini. Described as cool, calm, and charming, he and Nalini go head to head a bit at the beginning of the season, since they see each other as competitors and polar opposites but, again, first impressions aren’t always what counts. Dr. Chris Jackson is played by actor and Academy Award-winning rapper Common – who, honestly, needs no introduction.

Utkarsh Ambudkar as Manish Kulkarni

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Manish Kulkarni, best known as Mr. Kulkarni or Mr. K to Devi, is Sherman Oaks High’s resident “cool teacher.” With plenty of advice to give, the English teacher (and football coach) falls pretty quickly for Kamala after she pays the school a visit. 

Mr. K is played by actor 37-year-old Utkarsh Ambudkar. Born in Baltimore to Indian parents, Utkarsh is an actor, rapper, and singer. He graduated from NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts in 2004. His work spans music, film, TV, and stage but you might recognize him from The Mindy Project. Next, Utkarsh is set to appear in the sci-fi action comedy Free Guy alongside Ryan Reynolds, Joe Keery, and Taika Waititi. He has also landed a role in the 2022 rom-com Marry Me, which will star Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Sarah Silverman, and Maluma – among others.

Related: "Never Have I Ever" Star Darren Barnet on Thirst Traps and How Paxton Hall-Yoshida Became Part Japanese

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue