Maitreyi Ramakrishnan: The Journey of a Tamil Canadian Icon

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan: From Refugee Roots to Netflix Fame

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has become a beacon of inspiration for young actors around the world. Born on December 28, 2001, this Canadian actress gained international fame for her portrayal of Devi Vishwakumar in the Netflix teen comedy series “Never Have I Ever” (2020-2023). Her journey from a high school student in Mississauga, Ontario, to a globally recognized star is nothing short of remarkable.

Maitreyi’s rise to prominence is a testament to her talent, determination, and the changing landscape of Hollywood, where diverse voices are finally being heard.

Early Life and Education of Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was born to Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu parents who had immigrated to Canada as refugees during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Growing up in Mississauga, she identified strongly with her Tamil Canadian heritage.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan attended Lisgar Middle School for her early education and later graduated from Meadowvale Secondary School. It was during her final year at Meadowvale that she made the bold decision to pursue an acting career—a decision that would soon change her life.

Breakthrough Role in “Never Have I Ever”

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s breakthrough came when she was selected by Mindy Kaling from an open casting call that attracted 15,000 applicants. Despite having no prior professional acting experience, her raw talent shone through. She recorded her audition tape in a local library with her mother’s camera, a testament to her resourcefulness and determination.

After multiple audition rounds, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan landed the role of Devi Vishwakumar, an Indian-American Tamil high school student navigating the complexities of adolescence.

The series premiered on Netflix in April 2020 and was an immediate success, viewed by 40 million households globally in its first month. Maitreyi’s performance was widely praised, with critics lauding her ability to bring depth and nuance to her character.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s portrayal of Devi resonated with many viewers, particularly those from South Asian backgrounds, who saw themselves represented on screen in a way they hadn’t before.

Voice Roles and Continued Success

Following the success of “Never Have I Ever,” Maitreyi Ramakrishnan expanded her repertoire with voice roles in notable projects. She voiced Priya Mangal in the Pixar film “Turning Red” (2022), a role that showcased her versatility and ability to bring animated characters to life. Additionally, she voiced Zipp Storm in the “My Little Pony” franchise, further cementing her place in the entertainment industry.

Recognition and Awards

Maitreyi’s talent and hard work have not gone unnoticed. She has been nominated for several prestigious awards, including an Independent Spirit Award, a Canadian Screen Award, an MTV Movie & TV Award, and two People’s Choice Awards. In 2021, she was named Breakout Actor in Time’s Time 100 Next list, recognizing her as one of the next hundred rising influential people.

Activism and Philanthropy

Beyond her acting career, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is passionate about activism and philanthropy. In October 2020, she became a global ambassador for Plan International Canada, an organization dedicated to promoting girls’ and women’s rights and gender equality.

She also participated in Nobis’s #NoColdShoulder initiative, which focuses on collecting and donating used jackets to those in need every November.

Upcoming Projects

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s career continues to flourish with several exciting projects on the horizon. She is set to star in the satirical drama “Slanted,” alongside Shirley Chen, Mckenna Grace, Amelie Zilber, Vivian Wu, and Fang Du.

Production for this film will begin in June in Atlanta. Additionally, she will co-lead the Netflix romantic comedy “The Netherfield Girls,” a contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel “Pride and Prejudice.”

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