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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Mindy Kaling Video Interview

Mindy Kaling and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Compare Their Hilarious — and Awkward — Teen Moments

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan can sum up her feelings about meeting Mindy Kaling for the first time in a singular word: "whoa." Which also happens to perfectly describe the whirlwind story that led to Ramakrishnan being cast as the lead in Kaling's Netflix comedy series, Never Have I Ever. It all started with a tweet — Kaling announcing her open-call auditions for the upcoming series — which led to the then 17-year-old recording her audition with a friend and sending it in for fun. With zero television experience under her belt, she beat out 15,000 others to take on the role of a lifetime, all with the guidance of the queen of comedy herself, Kaling.

We caught up with the talented duo to learn more about their inspiring relationship while they were in New York last week to celebrate the premiere of the hit show's second season — which is now streaming on Netflix. “My first impression of [Ramakrishnan], because I met her at the audition, was I couldn't believe that someone so young was just so comfortable in her skin — and she was obviously hilarious, which is why she is the star of the show," Kaling told POPSUGAR.
The coming-of-age dramedy is loosely based on Kaling’s own adolescence, centered on a first-generation Indian American teen navigating high school and all of the experiences that come with that — from first crushes and friendships to family drama. But it’s not just Kaling’s life story; it’s also Ramakrishnan’s. After being encouraged to bring her own experiences to the character, Ramakrishnan shared that the number-one way she relates to Devi is her hilarious one-liners. “I feel like, honestly, just the sass and the wit — the quick, like, zings that Devi gives.” As for Kaling? “I think her sense of outrage resonates with me [most].”

After the global success of the first season, fans now get to dive back into Devi’s world with season two of Never Have I Ever. Because we can’t get enough of the powerful mentor and mentee duo, we sat down with Kaling and Ramakrishnan to compare their very own real-life coming-of-age moments — from their experiences driving in their very first cars to music that makes them feel 16 again.

Photography: Monica Schipper / Getty Images For Netflix