Netflix 'Never Have I Ever' star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan named one of TIME's most influential people in the world

Elisabetta Bianchini
·5-min read
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan TIME100 Next cover (Photograph by Lindsay Ellary for TIME)
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan TIME100 Next cover (Photograph by Lindsay Ellary for TIME)

Mississauga, Ont., native and Netflix's Never Have I Ever star, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, will be on the cover of TIME magazine as part of 2021 TIME100 Next, an annual list of the next 100 most influential people in the world.

"When you’re a minority woman with your own show, you gotta represent…. People come up to you at the airport or online and say those three magic words: ‘I feel seen.’ It’s a huge responsibility—and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is exactly the kind of talented young woman who is up to the task," co-creator of the Netflix series, Mindy Kaling, said in a statement about Ramakrishnan.

Ramakrishnan rose to fame as Devi Vishwakumar in Netflix's Never Have I Ever, celebrated for its smart writing, engaging acting, that also puts South Asian actors and characters at the forefront of the story. Ramakrishnan quickly used her public platform to stand up for gender equality and she is now an ambassador for Plan International Canada, bring awareness to girls' rights.

“I have a lot of friends that, if they had the platform that I have, they would be just as vocal,” the 19-year-old told Yahoo Canada last year. “It is a privilege to have such a huge following...so with that privilege comes responsibility.”

“If I can use that privilege for good, I’m going to.”

"Amid a global pandemic, deepening inequality, systemic injustice and existential questions about truth, democracy and the planet itself, the individuals on this year’s list provide 'clear-eyed hope,' as actor, composer and director Lin-Manuel Miranda puts it in his tribute to poet and TIME100 Next honoree Amanda Gorman," Edward Felsenthal Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TIME writes about the list.

"They are doctors and scientists fighting COVID-19, advocates pushing for equality and justice, journalists standing up for truth, and artists sharing their visions of present and future."

TIME100 Next cover Brit Bennett
TIME100 Next cover Brit Bennett

Ramakrishnan is one of the six people being celebrated on the cover of TIME as part of the TIME100 Next list. Other influential individuals readers will see on the cover includes Brit Bennett, the author of the novel "The Vanishing Half."

"Racial passing, the ­phenomenon at the core of her astonishing novel The Vanishing Half, is as familiar to American literature as ‘Lush Life’ is to the American songbook. Yet Bennett is informed and inspired by the intensities and complexities of our present moment," author Tayari Jones writes about Bennett.

"If race is a construct, what about gender? What are the limits of self-­definition? How can one delineate its wages and costs? In jazz, many artists sing the standards, but in literature only the most gifted can re-voice the classics, rendering them recognizable yet, well, novel. Brit Bennett, take a bow.”

TIME100 Next cover Telfar Clemens
TIME100 Next cover Telfar Clemens

Telfar Clemens, the fashion designer, who founded TELFAR, a unisex fashion label, has been recognized as an innovator in the TIME100 Next list.

"Through his namesake line, he has created a universe of his own that transcends fashion. Where the industry restricts identity with outdated expressions of presentation, correctness and exclusivity, Telfar has created a new language of truth, through design….Telfar’s approach to business and art is an affirmation of how we can fully and confidently show up in the world while uplifting those who have made us who we are," a statement from Solange Knowles on Clemens reads.

TIME100 Next cover Dua Lipa
TIME100 Next cover Dua Lipa

U.K. raised singer, songwriter Dua Lipa is also gracing the TIME cover, with a profile from another legendary music icon Kylie Minogue.

"Dua Lipa is a shining star, blazing a dazzling trail through the pop cosmos. Just under four years ago, she released the first of her two albums. Today, she is dancing hand in hand with the zeitgeist, having carved with laser-like precision her place in the cultural landscape," Minogue says about Lipa.

TIME100 Next cover Sanna Marin
TIME100 Next cover Sanna Marin

Sanna Marin became the Prime Minister of Finland in 2019, the youngest prime minister who is now 35. Marin managed the COVID-19 pandemic while still flighting issues like climate change, gender equality, and diversity in international leadership and decision making tables.

“Times of crisis show us what people are made of. She’s an important part of a strong team of women political leaders in the Nordic-Baltic region. I look forward to our cooperation in the future. And being able to meet," Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, writes about Marin.

TIME100 Next cover Marcus Rashford
TIME100 Next cover Marcus Rashford

Professional Premier League soccer player, Marcus Rashford, has been recognized as an advocate in the TIME100 Next list. In tandem with his soccer skills, Rashford is known for his food poverty campaign and called on the U.K. government to guarantee a meal for students in families who are struggling financially, particularly during COVID-19.

"In 2020, Marcus Rashford took his many talents beyond the football field… to respond to a national crisis: child hunger…. In a year that showed us the power of working together toward a common goal, he was a galvanizing force behind uniting people across the U.K. in the effort to ensure that no child goes hungry," a statement from U.K. racing driver Lewis Hamilton on Rashford reads.