How old is Devi Vishwakumar from Never Have I Ever in real life?

Bruno Cooke August 15, 2022
How old is Devi Vishwakumar from Never Have I Ever in real life?
Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

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The cliffhanger ending of Never Have I Ever season 3 has to do with whether or not its protagonist Devi Vishwakumar, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, loses her virginity – how old is the character, and what is the real life age of actor Maitreyi?

**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR NEVER HAVE I EVER**

Digital Spy spoke to Ramakrishnan about the growing number of shows that give South Asian culture an authentic voice among western audiences.

But they also spoke about the season 3 Devi and Ben cliffhanger. Why? “Because Zaaaaamn (if you know, you know).”

The show is a coming-of-age comedy-drama, which makes questions about how old the characters are all the more pertinent – so, here’s the lowdown on Devi Vishwakumar and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.

Never Have I Ever | Season 3 Official Trailer | Netflix India

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Never Have I Ever | Season 3 Official Trailer | Netflix India
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How old is Devi from Never Have I Ever in real life?

The actor who plays Devi in the Netflix series is Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. 

Born December 28, 2001, her age at time of writing is 20. She’ll turn 21 at the end of this year.

Devi, meanwhile, is 16 years old at the conclusion of season 3. She’s a high school sophomore. One of the important milestones in her life was the death of her father Molan, who has a heart attack and dies during one of her orchestra concerts. She’s 15 when this happens.

But the fact that she’s 16 in the show, and in real life the actor who plays her is 20, means the age difference between Devi and Maitreyi is about four years.

Where is Maitreyi from?

Born in Mississauga, Ontario, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is a Canadian actor and model. Despite being age 20 in real life, she portrays 16-year-old Devi Vishwakumar in the Netflix teen comedy series Never Have I Ever.

Her parents are Tamil. They emigrated from Sri Lanka as a result of the civil war there, and arrived in Canada as refugees. 

She self-identifies as Tamil Canadian rather than Sri Lankan. 

For context relating to the difference between the terms Tamil and Sri Lankan: the civil war that ravaged much of Sri Lanka between 1983 and 2009 was fought between the Sri Lankan state (and Sinhalese majority, with the support of the UK, Israel, the US, India, Pakistan, China, Iran, Ukraine, the EU, Russia, Australia and North Korea) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“Tamil” refers to ethnicity and culture; “Sri Lankan” refers to nationality.

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

What about Devi?

By contrast, Devi Vishwakumar is an Indian-American.

Her mother Nalini is a dermatologist in the San Fernando Valley; during traditional events she wears saris and Indian jewellery. Nalini’s late husband, and Devi’s late father, is called Mohan.

The actors who play Nalini and Mohan Vishwakumar are Poorna Jagannathan and Sendhil Ramamurthy respectively.

Poorna is of Indian descent. She was born in Tunisia but grew up in Pakistan, Ireland, India, Brazil and Argentina. She speaks Tamil, Hindi, English, Spanish and Portuguese. Listen to the Talk Easy podcast’s episode with her here.

Sendhil, meanwhile, was born in Chicago to a Hindu family from India. His father is a Kannadiga from the South Indian state of Karnataka, or nearby; his mother is Tamil.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

How does the real life age of Devi from Never Have I Ever compare to the ages of other characters?

Devi and her BFFs are 15 going on 16, but IRL, they’re much older – of Never Have I Ever’s main cast, Maitreyi is actually the closest to her character’s age.

Ramona Young, who plays Eleanor Wong, is 24 – eight years older than her character. Lee Rodriguez plays Fabiola Torres. She’s 22. And Darren Barnet, who plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida, is actually 31. That’s nearly a decade and a half than his character’s age – almost double.

As Seventeen notes, there are several reasons why producers prefer to employ older actors. For one, under-18s are subject to different – and more stringent – regulations when it comes to filming. Basically, they can’t legally work for as many hours in the day.

Older actors are also likely to be maturer, and more readily able to shoot certain types of content. 

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.