With the second, highly anticipated season of Never Have I Ever debuting this week, stars Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi), Lee Rodriguez (Fabiola) and Ramona Young (Eleanor) teamed up for the cover of Seventeen and shared that they are very much best friends in real life, inside jokes, Zoom sessions and all. In fact, the latter two even live together (while Ramakrishnan is back home in Mississauga).
When it comes to the show, created by Mindy Kaling, exploding overnight, Rodriguez said, "It was pretty crazy. I thought it was kind of crazy to see our faces on a billboard. I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty tripped out by that. I was like, 'Those are my freaking friends.'"
The point that really clinched that bond is super relatable and came when the trio were filming the sleepover scene in the first season. As Ramakrishnan tells it, "Lee did something really stupid. And that's the thing: it doesn't matter what she did. Just know it was dumb. And me, without any single hesitation, just turned and was like 'you dumb bitch.' And that's what we call it — when you reach dumb bitch level of friendship. We're not dumb, we're just dumb bitches together. That was a moment. I genuinely don't know what Lee did. But it really warranted it, and it felt like back in Canada hanging out with my homies."
In fact, their favourite part of the show and what's made Never Have I Ever so special is the female friendship at its core. As Ramakrishnan shared, "One of my favourite parts of Never Have I Ever, in my opinion, and an important aspect of what makes the show great and why people love it so much, is the friendship between these three girls. It’s the story of these three girls that have been friends since kindergarten. They obviously aren't peaches and cream all the time, like Devi's a mess, but Fabiola and Eleanor are still there for her. They're not backstabbing each other for a guy. They sometimes cannot be there for each other like Devi wasn't in season 1, but they still come together in the end, which I think is amazing. In a lot of TV shows and film, we don't depict female friendships in that positive of light, especially young and healthy female friendships. I think that is something that I'm very proud that we showcase. I think about my little cousin watching the show and I'm like, 'Yes! Female friendships. Look at that!'"
The other special thing about the series is its effortless diversity, not just in its three leads, but the entire cast, and the narrative, which explores everything from cultural customs to religion.
"It sucks that this is still like a shocking thing in Hollywood," said Ramakrishnan. "Never Have I Ever definitely is trying to change it up and to just have realistic representation rather than tokenism. But, at the end of the day, it's still only one show. I'm very grateful that there is this diversity with these three girls as the main friends. I think that resonates with a lot of people. This is what my friend group looks like at school. This is how I grew up." Young added, "I love that our race isn't our personality. We're human beings first, and that's clearly how it is in real life."
Rodriguez, too, has received other kinds of messages of support from fans: "I actually got a lot of messages about how Fabiola coming out inspired them to come out. So I got those DMs and I was really moved that my character did that for a lot of young people watching. That really meant a lot to me."
For more of this off-screen and on-screen friendship, check out the Seventeen profile, and Never Have I Ever, which returns to Netflix on July 15.
Oh and when it comes to Team Paxton versus Team Ben? They're all Team Devi, obvi.
[video_embed id='2181735']BEFORE YOU GO: Common joins season two of ‘Never Have I Ever’[/video_embed]