Streaming king Netflix is always dropping new shows constantly. But, one of my favorite things to do as of late is search the popular platform for some of their best-underrated shows, which is what lead me and plenty of other people to Never Have I Ever. Netflix TV shows frequently end up becoming very popular, like the fantasy series The Witcher, or the massive worldwide hit, Bridgerton. However, Never Have I Ever has only continued its popularity through Season 2, which came out in July 2021.
From comedic actress/writer Mindy Kaling, the show talks about everything, from grief and loss, to love, with a cast of new and more recognizable talent. Who exactly are these faces that we’ve seen on TV, and where might we have seen them before, such as lead Maitreyi Ramakrishnan? Hold onto your hats, because we’re going to go over where you might have seen the Never Have I Ever cast prior to their Netflix hit.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi Vishwakumar)
Devi is the high schooler I know all of us knew. The one who wanted to be cool, but in the end, really just wanted to improve their lives. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the young woman behind Devi in Never Have I Ever, has portrayed the high schooler since the series began, and believe it or not, this is her first legit acting role.
While she did have a guest appearance on the television show Sidewalks Entertainment, the Netflix original is actually her first step into Hollywood, and what a step it has been, landing a main role. She does, however, have a new movie coming out, titled The Netherfield Sex, with an unknown release date, so it’s nice to see that this young actress will, hopefully, be going places after this series.
Richa Moorjani (Kamala Nandiwadal)
I believe we all need to strive to be as hardworking as Kamala is on Never Have I Ever -minus the whole Ph.D. part. Regardless, Richa Moorjani plays Kamala, the hardworking cousin of Devi who is staying with her family while she finishes school.
Moorjani has been in the business a bit longer than her younger co-star, with a couple of appearances in small films. She’s also had several guest roles on sitcoms and dramas, such as the Nickelodeon boy band show, Big Time Rush, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Mindy Project (alongside Never Have I Ever creator, Mindy Kaling), and 9-1-1. But, like Ramakrishnan, this is Richa Moorjani’s first major role, and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
Jaren Lewison (Benjamin “Ben” Gross)
Look, man, there’s always going to be a nemesis in every single teen comedy, but Ben is one of the best ones out there. Jaren Lewison brings Ben’s character to life. Lewison has been in the business for quite a while, with a recurring role on the children’s program Barney & Friends in 2008, and a guest role on Lone Star.
Lewison has also had a couple more film roles than his previous co-stars on this list, with minor roles in Men, Women & Children, and Beyond the Farthest Star. However, his biggest role thus far was in Tag, where he played the 18-year-old version of Ed Helms' character, Hoagie. Hopefully, with his role in Never Have I Ever, will be able to see more of this actor soon.
Darren Barnet (Paxton Hall-Yoshida)
You remember what it was like to be young and have a crush, and hearing Devi talk about Paxton in the show is, honestly, one of the highlights. Darren Barnet portrays Paxton in Never Have I Ever, and he brings a great amount of chemistry to the series.
Darren Barnet, in the last year, has been pretty busy. In 2020, he played the role of Grant in American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules, and had a role in both the comedic horror film, Untitled Horror Movie, and will be in the upcoming romantic comedy, Love Hard. He’s also had several guest appearances on television. This includes portraying young Jack on This Is Us, a guest appearance on Criminal Minds, and others. Barnet also appeared as Hot Seth on Turnt (another teen drama series) for a recurring role, and in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
John McEnroe (Himself)
John McEnroe is, of course, not an actor, originally. He's best known for being a tennis player who has won several Wimbledon and U.S. Open championships. However, since his competitive tennis days are behind him, he’s been appearing in TV and films, usually in a cameo as himself. He is the narrator of Never Have I Ever, and Devi’s idol.
Besides his amazing tennis career, McEnroe has had a lot of fun through his television appearances, such as several guest appearances on the sitcom 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and popped up on Saturday Night Live a couple of times. He truly seems to be a jack of all trades.
Poorna Jagannathan (Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar)
Can I just say that Nalini has literally given me some of the best skin tips of my life? Regardless, Poorna Jagannathan portrays Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar, Devi’s dermatologist mother who’s been taking care of her alone since Devi's father passed away.
Poorna Jagannathan has been in plenty of films prior to her role in Never Have I Ever, with many of them taking place in India. However, a couple of hers have come out in the United States, such as the Mark Wahlberg-led film, Mile 22, and the 2017 adaptation, The Circle, starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. She’s also appeared on several television shows like Law and Order, House of Cards, and more.
Jagannathan has also had recurring roles in other shows, such as The Night Of, Gypsy, and Big Little Lies. She also had a role on the Apple TV+ miniseries, Defending Jacob, which starred Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery.
Lee Rodriguez (Fabiola Torres)
Best friends make the world go round, but Fabiola is one of the best ones I’ve seen on Netflix, period. Played by Lee Rodriguez, Fabiola is an amazing best friend who is struggling with her sexuality while in high school, but always makes sure to be there for Devi.
Like some of her castmates, Rodriguez has not done much on TV or film thus far. She had a recurring role in a series called Class of Lies and a guest role on the long-running comedy, Black-ish. But, Never Have I Ever is her first main role (recurring Season 1, but later turned into a main cast member in Season 2), so here's hoping we get to see her in more projects soon.
Ramona Young (Eleanor Wong)
Another amazing best friend to Devi, Eleanor Wong is a drama queen and we love her for it. Ramona Young, who plays Eleanor Wong, has been in television for some time. While she has done a couple of popular films, such as the comedy Blockers in 2018, and the HBO Max original movie, Unpregnant in 2020, TV is where it’s at for her.
From 2016-2018, she starred as Kaya in Z Nation in a main role, before getting a recurring role in The Real O’Neals as Allison Adler-Wong. She also had a recurring role in the Netflix original series, Santa Clarita Diet as Ramona, alongside the amazing Santa Clarita Diet cast, and a lead role in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as Mona Wu. With another main role in Never Have I Ever, I for one can’t wait to see where her talents will take her next.
Niecy Nash (Dr. Jamie Ryan)
To be honest, we all need a therapist sometimes, and Devi’s therapist is Dr. Jamie Ryan, a great woman who doesn’t appear super often in the show, but enough where she leaves an impact. Dr. Jamie Ryan is portrayed by Niecy Nash, an actress who’s been in the industry for a long time now.
In regards to film and TV, Nash has done so much, in all different genres. For starters, she was in the Academy-Award-nominated film, Selma, and later would have a role in the science-fiction film Downsizing, and the Netflix original film, Uncorked. But, television, in my opinion, is where she truly shines. Besides several guest appearances on shows like NYPD Blue and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Nash also has series regular roles as well, beginning in 2003, when she started playing Deputy Raineesha Williams in Reno 911!.
Afterward, she would go on to do plenty of other shows, such as become the host of Clean House, for nine seasons, and play Lolli Ballentine on The Soul Man for five seasons. She also received two Emmy nods for playing Didi Ortley on the comedy Getting On, and is a current lead in the comedy-drama Claws. She also had a part as Delores Wise in the miniseries When They See Us, and portrayed Flo Kennedy in Mrs. America.
Talk about a packed resume! It’s no surprise that Never Have I Ever signed a woman with a resume like this. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohan Vishwakumar)
While he’s not actually there in person, Mohan Vishwakumar is always there in spirit in Never Have I Ever, and played by the wonderful Sendhil Ramamurthy. While he hasn’t been in anything big movie-wise, Ramamurthy has done plenty in the TV world, including a lead role as Mohinder Suresh on Heroes. He also had a recurring role on The Office as Ravi.
In 2013-2014, he portrayed Gabriel Lowen in Beauty and the Beast, a Canadian-American police procedural/science fiction series. He also had a main role in Reverie as Paul Hammond and a recurring role on The Flash. He also currently voices a recurring role on Peacock's animated Cleopatra in Space.
Who did you recognize from the cast first? Regardless of where they’ve been before Never Have I Ever, I’m going to have to check the 2021 TV schedule to see if any of them will be premiering in anything else coming up. With this much talent, it deserves to be shared.