Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Calls “Never Have I Ever”‘s “Steamy Dream Sequences” Her Favorite to Film
Image Source: Getty / Michael Tran
Making Devi’s dreams a reality has never been more fun for Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. The actor is back as California teenager Devi Vishwakumar in the fourth and final season of Netflix’s hugely popular comedy series “Never Have I Ever,” now a bit more comfortable in her skin, on screen and off, since the show’s 2020 debut.
“I definitely have grown alongside [Devi] for sure. That’s without a doubt. I went on this roller coaster ride that I never thought I would be on,” Ramakrishnan, 21, tells POPSUGAR as season four starts streaming on Netflix on June 8. “I’ve had to do a lot of self-growth. Like of course as an actor, I’ve gotten better. But as a human being, I’ve had to mature and learn how to really be my own best friend and have a thick skin.”
“But as a human being, I’ve had to mature and learn how to really be my own best friend and have a thick skin.”
There’s an ease Ramakrishnan feels with this final installment of Devi’s journey through high school after the sudden death of the character’s father upends her life. And that extends to filming scenes that used to be uncomfortable for the actor: the frequent dream sequences Devi experiences surrounding romantic encounters with her various paramours, often her on-again-off-again boyfriends Paxton and Ben (played by Darren Barnet and Jaren Lewison, respectively).
“I feel like when I was a young little gremlin that was working through all of her insecurities and stuff, doing dream sequences was way more anxiety-inducing,” Ramakrishnan says. “I was way more like, ‘Oh f*ck. I gotta be sexy or I gotta look hot or gotta make it perfect and dreamy.’ But for season four, all the dream sequences were kind of fun. I can’t even lie.”
Image Source: Netflix
Ramakrishnan says it’s “absolutely a blast” to laugh through those scenes – which feature a subtle smoky haze – which are written in the vein of grocery-store romance novels and almost always include one-handed shirt removal. “To just be able to like laugh and make it fun and have my self-confidence of being able to be like, ‘Let’s give it our best shot,’ I do love all those sexy, steamy dream sequences. As weird as that is to say.”
Ending Devi’s story wasn’t easy. On that final day on set last August, “time felt kind of slow,” she says. Ramakrishnan was soaking up every moment but admittedly “bawling” when it came time for her to give a wrap speech – delivered from the heart. The reunions with Barnet, Lewison, Lee Rodriguez (Fabiola), and Ramona Young (Eleanor), among others, for the press tour have been very welcomed.
“I think the thing that I’m gonna miss the most isn’t the show as a story – because I personally do think we end the story in such a beautiful way and feel like you go out with a bang rather than drag it along – the thing I’ll miss the most is actually knowing that there’s never gonna be an opportunity where I get every single one of these guys in the same room again,” Ramakrishnan tells POPSUGAR. “Of course, I’ll stay in touch with so many people, but all of us together at the same time.”
“Devi has grown up and she has truly learned the meaning of gratitude.”
While the final episode does wrap things up for Devi romantically, the actor is just glad our heroine is happy with herself. “The last words that are said by Devi, that is the ending for me,” says Ramakrishnan. “Anything that happened after that I would’ve been fine, just because Devi has grown up and she has truly learned the meaning of gratitude.”
Ramakrishnan, too, has been reminding herself how “lucky and fortunate” she is to have had this experience. Mostly, she appreciates that her career highlight (so far) was a project “with people who share that desire to feature a South Asian family, a brown girl who’s living her life trying to just find romance, and really be with her friends. It’s just a dream.” No smoke machine required.