Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the way-cooler-than-you-were-in-high-school star of Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, describes the series’ fourth and final season in three words: “Closure, chaotic, crying.” Why the alliteration? “Because Cs get degrees.” Maitreyi says that despite the show’s Twilight-level fans — Team Paxton vs. Team Ben — everyone will be happy with her character Devi’s ending: “People have been saying like, oh, half of them will be happy, half of them will not be with the ending. And I’m like, okay, well that’s dumb, because I know not everyone watches the show for the love triangle … you’re still team Devi, so I think people all around are going to be happy because she wins for sure.”
Throughout the series, Devi goes through the trials and tribulations that come with being a living, breathing high school girl: love, loss, breakups, makeups, and makeouts. She gets through it with the help of her friends, her strict-but-soft mom, played by Poorna Jagannathan, and her “perfect” cousin Kamala, played by Richa Moorjani.
Maitreyi, Poorna, and Richa came into the Betches office with Sweetgreen salads in hand and sat down for what was technically an interview, but felt more like a conversation during the last 30 minutes of a happy hour with your friend’s friends — there’s a level of comfortability, but you’re still trying to prove that you’re interesting and cool enough to not make this a one-time thing.
We gave them a shot at redeeming their high school yearbook persona, because unless you’re Troy Bolton, no one actually wants to relive their high school days.
HALL OF BETCHES INDUCTION:
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, and Richa Moorjani
What was your go-to lunch when you were a kid?
MR: Yo, it was a good day if I had a pizza pocket. Oh my God.
RM: Oh, just plain white bread with turkey, no vegetables, no condiments. Just turkey and white bread. Just give me carbs and turkey, that’s it.
PJ: My mom wasn’t a great cook, but she made a great spaghetti sauce.
Pizza pockets are a flex. Did you have a special comfort object or toy or blanket that you couldn’t live or sleep without?
MR: When I was born, my godmother gave me this stuffed toy. It was a little baby doll, but it was a plushy. And I always loved plushies, and I would take it around with me everywhere. I still have it.
PJ: Oh, I had a Monchichi. A little monkey.
RM: I had a Furbie that I was obsessed with. But then one day I was trying to sleep and he wouldn’t shut up. So this is really dark. But there’s like a basement thing in my room… and I went in there and I smashed it.
Oh… Cool. Cool. Cool… What’s your biggest fashion regret as a kid?
MR: I would say [my bowl cut], except that wasn’t my choice. I was forced to have it against my will because of my mother. Choice that I made? A blue hair extension with a really deep side part. I’m not talking side part. I’m talking like… *makes intense side part gesture*
RM: Wearing Abercrombie and Fitch.
PJ: No regrets.
Okay, noted. And are there any wild fashion trends from your childhood that you really hope never make a comeback or do you want the kids of today to suffer too?
MR: Galaxy print anything, disgusting. Or mustache things. Remember when everyone’s obsessed with giant mustaches on their fingers and stuff? Disgusting.
RM: No. I hope they all make a comeback.
PJ: For me, it was a collar up. It means dick to me. Yeah, you’re a dick.
Popped collars are nauseating. What was the most mortifying moment from your childhood that still haunts you to this day and why?
MR: Honestly, my dad always raised me to never get embarrassed. And if you fall down, get up and take a bow. That’s always been my vibe and it still is. I don’t think there’s anything that really embarrassed me.
RM: I was not very popular in middle school. I had a lot of bullies, but there was a moment where we were all at lunch. You know how everyone has lunch in the school quad? And a bird shat on my head. And when something happens, the whole school just finds out. Right? And I had to go to the bathroom and clean it off and everything. And I remember I walked into class late because I had to do that. And when I came in, everyone was making bird noises and flapping their arms like wings and laughing.
PJ: I peed my pants.
Normalize peeing in your pants! What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done to impress someone you had a crush on?
MR: Nothing. I stick by my choices.
PJ: Not embarrassing, but this really happened. There was a guy called Justin Something in my middle school. He’s a jock and doesn’t care. Never talked to me, whatever. And then one day he was peeling an ice cream cone and he peeled it and he threw it at me. He was, like, “Happy Monday!” or something. And I was like… *googly eyes* And I put it in my diary. I was like, “Justin threw something at me.”
RM: Oh God. I’ve done so many embarrassing things. One time for Valentine’s Day, I think it was the same week as the bird shit thing. I bought a little teddy bear that said, “I love you,” and I put it on my crush’s desk. And then, during class, the teacher gave us time to do our work and everyone started crowding over his desk and laughing. And I was like, “Oh my God, they’re laughing at me.” And then at the end of the class, the teddy bear went flying out of that crowd of people to me. I know. It’s so dark. And then everyone was laughing, and I left. I had a horrible middle school experience.
Well that sounds like a villain origin story. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one celebrity with you, who would it be and why?
MR: My dog. Because my dog is a celebrity to me, and all my fans like my dog. And they say that Melody is the better Ramakrishnan, which I agree with.
PJ and RM: *point to each other*
I feel like Michael B. Jordan would be a great companion… but I digress. Do you get nervous around any famous people? If so, who and why?
MR: No. My publicist hates when I say this, but everyone has diarrhea. This is my philosophy: we all have diarrhea, so there’s no reason to be intimidated. Beyoncé has had some crazy shits.
RM: I still get nervous around Mindy [Kaling]. And she’s our good friend.
PJ: Oh, I just worked with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. I shat my pants every day.
So everyone has diarrhea, including Poorna. In her pants. With Brad and George. What’s the last thing you searched for on the internet?
MR: I’m an honest gal: horoscope birth chart. My hairstylist here, Laura, wanted to know my moon and sun rising. But I feel like this is the most uncharacteristic thing for me to search.
RM: Oh. I looked up, what was the color to… A color that would compliment the outfit that I’m wearing today for my eyeshadow.
PJ: I just hit menopause. So I’m just all over it.
Your combined Google searches really cover all the basics of being a woman. Do you have a group chat with your friends? If so, what’s it called and who’s in it?
MR: Oh, I don’t have any friends. I’m kidding, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I have a lot. Actually, I have a lot of group chats because I don’t have one big group chat. Well, actually, I have one with my Canadian glam team, because they’re also my pals. It’s just Team Dingus.
RM: Oh yeah. We have a, oh my god, what is it called? With Maitreyi, we have a group chat called Spicy Dosas, which is our favorite Indian food.
PJ: I have Bagel Bitches. My friend owns a bagel shop.
Bagel Bitches? Come on. Bagel Betches. Was this a fun interview or are you bored with me?
MR: I’m having a great time. My voice sounds like I’m bored, but I’m actually having a great time, I promise. I swear.
RM: No, this was like anything but boring.
PJ: So fun.
Thank you, even if you’re lying. What should we make the headline of this article?
MR: I’m not creative. That’s why they write. That’s why I say, “WGA strong.” That’s why you get writers to write. Don’t ask actors to write anything!
RM: Furbie smashing Betches.
Photography by Laura Valencia