Named on the 2021 TIME100 Next, an annual list of individuals who are shaping the future of their fields and defining the next generation of leadership, listed as one of the best actors of 2020 by the New York Times, and ambassador of Plan International Canada — has won the hearts and minds of a global audience. Her natural talent in acting and comedy was revealed through her breakthrough starring role as Devi Vishwakumar in Mindy Kaling’s hit show Never Have I Ever. Captivating international audiences with fast-paced comedic and heart-wrenching dramatic skills, Ramakrishnan’s multifaceted acting talent has been recognized by the 2021 Gracies, awarding her Actress in a Breakthrough Role — Comedy. Additionally, she was recently recognized by the 2021 Annual Asian American Awards for Breakout in TV and was nominated for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series by the Independent Spirit Awards. Maitryei is also the recipient of the Radius Award, presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television for making waves globally. You can find Ramakrishnan’s latest work streaming on Disney+ in Pixar’s Turning Red, voicing the role of Priya. She is currently filming the third season of Never Have I Ever.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, made her series lead debut in Mindy Kaling’s Netflix dramedy, “Never Have I Ever.” After its premiere in 2020, the show immediately hit #1 around the world in the Netflix Top 10 and has been nominated for numerous awards including a TCA Award, People’s Choice Award, Independent Spirit Award, Hollywood Critics Associate Award and NAACP Image Award. Beating out somewhere between 15,000 applicants from a global casting call for the 3 South Asian leads, Richa won the hearts of an international and intergenerational audience with her portrayal of the brilliant, beautiful and stereotype-subverting ‘Kamala’. Raised in a family of performing artists, Richa began her acting career in middle school (performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during her tenure) before studying theater and dance at university. She is also a professionally trained Indian Classical (Kathak), Hip-Hop and Bollywood dancer who focuses on meaningful projects in film and television that push culture forward. Currently, Richa serves as an ambassador for the C.A.P.E. Short Film Grant Challenge for emerging AAPI women and non-binary filmmakers. Shining a light on the South Asian diaspora and fighting for inclusion/authentic representation behind and in front of the camera are Richa’s mission as an artist. Outside of acting, Richa is a passionate advocate for animal rights, environmental sustainability, mental health & racial/gender equity.
Is an actress and producer, best known for her portrayal of Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar in Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever, which premiered globally on Netflix in April 2020 to critical and fan acclaim and has just been renewed for a fourth season. She is also known for her role as Safar Khan in HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated show, The Night Of. Other recent television roles have included Dr. Lakshmi Chandra on Hulu’s Emmy-winning limited series The Act, Salma in the first season of Hulu’s Ramy – which has garnered nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice Awards – and Katie Richmond in the second season of HBO’s critically-acclaimed Big Little Lies. She also starred in HBO’s SHARE, by A24 and was in the Bollywood cult comedy, DELHI BELLY. Poorna will next be seen in upcoming Netflix feature The Out-Law.
Jagannathan has been a vocal advocate on behalf of survivors of sexual violence: she initiated, produced and acted in the play Nirbhaya, by Yael Farber, which dealt with breaking the silence around sexual violence. Nirbhaya won the 2013 Amnesty International Award and was hailed as “”One of the most powerful pieces of theater you’ll ever see” by The Telegraph.
Jagannathan has fought for diverse representation in the media and, in particular, more nuanced portrayals of South Asian women. In an interview with Vogue last year, she called for complexity in casting, saying “If it were left to Hollywood, more brown representation would mean a lot more doctors, scientists and terrorists. …when we only tell those stories, we deprive ourselves and our community of the real, human issues that are going on, including addiction, depression, and the feeling of not belonging. We don’t get to present ourselves as complex beings, ones who are yearning and struggling for what we want.”
Jagannathan was featured among the Top 10 in Femina Magazine’s “”India’s 50 Most Beautiful Women”” in 2012, and among the 50 Most Powerful Women in India in 2014. In May 2021, she was named to the Gold House A100 List, which annually honors the most impactful Asians and Asian American & Pacific Islanders in culture.
Jagannathan was born in Tunis, Tunisia, and grew up in Pakistan, Ireland, India, Brazil and Argentina. She speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi and Tamil. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, son and mutt.