Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the lead character in Mindy Kaling’s coming-of-age Netflix comedy drama, Never Have I Ever, plays a “modern-day first-generation Indian-American girl” named Devi. She’s an overachieving high school sophomore at Sherman Oaks High in San Fernando Valley. As she copes with the death of her father, Devi is determined to have a typical and sexy high school experience. Never Have I Ever was inspired by Kaling’s childhood experience in suburban Massachusetts. Get to know 18-year-old Maitreyi, how she landed the role and impressed Kaling and why she’s primed for success: 6 Netflix travel series to binge-watch during self-isolation She bested 15,000 hopefuls When Kaling announced on Instagram that she was looking for someone to portray a character loosely based on her and co-writer Lang Fisher, 15,000 auditions poured in. View this post on Instagram ATTENTION DESI LADIES! I’m holding OPEN casting calls for leads in my new @netflix show! I’m THRILLED to have the opportunity to do this. The parts are so juicy and funny, and I’m SO excited to meet you! Full info is above! GOOD LUCK! A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on Apr 11, 2019 at 6:30pm PDT Maitreyi’s audition tape stood out despite the fact she didn’t have a proper headshot and had very little acting experience. She received a callback from Kaling’s team, and after two auditions in Los Angeles, Maitreyi snagged the role. 6 things to know about Bollywood film star Ayushmann Khurrana Remember that open casting call for me and @loulielang ’s upcoming @netflix series!? WELL everyone…meet Maitreyi Ramakrishnan! She was cast out of 15,000 people, you guys Thank you to every single one of you that auditioned ️ https://t.co/9mbbhnKJNN — Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) July 10, 2019 Maitreyi even asked Kaling why she picked her. “Mindy said: ‘You’re cool, we love your sassiness, we want you to make it you.’” She has strong ties with her culture and heritage View this post on Instagram Is it highlight or sweat? We'll never know. Happy Thai Pongal! (Late as always, I know)️ A post shared by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (@maitreyiramakrishnan) on Jan 16, 2020 at 8:40am PST In an interview with Now Magazine , a Canadian publication, Maitreyi made sure that her ethnicity and nationality – Tamil-Canadian – was correct in the Netflix announcement. “My identity isn’t Sri Lankan,” she says. “That’s not my country. My country is Canada. But my culture is definitely Tamil.” 5 reasons why you should watch Triad Princess – quick She wants to properly represent South Asians View this post on Instagram Forever grateful to my two fairy god mothers. 2020 can't come any sooner♀️ #nhie #neverhaveIever A post shared by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (@maitreyiramakrishnan) on Oct 13, 2019 at 6:39pm PDT Maitreyi is making history as the first Tamil-Canadian to star in a Hollywood series. She told Refinery29: “I’m going to keep trying to get more roles that truly represent the South Asian community, women in general and kids my age.” She’s civic-minded View this post on Instagram We may not be able to vote right now, but we are still doing something and that’s what matters #studentssayno ( @zoe.p1 ) A post shared by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (@maitreyiramakrishnan) on Apr 5, 2019 at 4:26pm PDT Maitreyi’s family escaped war in Sri Lanka. Ever since, alongside the Tamil community in Canada, she has taken part in protests to raise awareness about the dire situation in her home country. Just recently, she joined a student walkout to protest budget cuts to education spending. 3 of K-drama’s best supporting men in uniform She’s a creative person View this post on Instagram Went back to my elementary school to talk to kids about dreaming big and how I got a job off of social media️ #kidsarethefuture A post shared by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (@maitreyiramakrishnan) on Dec 2, 2019 at 12:30pm PST Maitreyi is a creative spirit (she likes to sing and has played piano for years). However, she wasn’t interested in acting until her drama teacher coaxed her to join the theatre department and soon realised her potential. She plans to attend York University, but in the meantime, starring in Never Have I Ever will do. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .