Never Have I Ever’s Maitreyi Ramakrishnan says Twitch will give her chill ‘creative control’

Never Have I Ever’s Maitreyi Ramakrishnan says Twitch will give her chill ‘creative control’

Away from the buzz of Hollywood sets and the fervor that comes with being a breakout Netflix star, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan enjoys playing video games in her basement.

Best known for playing Devi Vishwakumar, the lead role in the Netflix sitcom Never Have I Ever, Ramakrishnan has shown off her own personality over the years through posts on TikTok and Instagram. And video games are part of it, whether she’s posting from Super Nintendo World or cosplaying as Lisa from Genshin Impact. On Friday evening, the actor will take that interest in a new direction by hosting her first-ever official livestream on Twitch. Polygon caught up with Ramakrishnan to talk about her decision to stream on Twitch, her content creation hopes for the platform, and most importantly, her favorite Mario Kart character.

“[Streaming] is one of those things that I never dreamed of doing when I was younger, before Never Have I Ever and everything,” Ramakrishnan tells Polygon. “But now it’s like, wait, I have friends who do this. And like, maybe I could do this too. And it’s truly just for my own enjoyment. It’s something that I have my creative control over. It’s a kind of your own little self-produced one-man show. But also it’s something that I love to do.”

Ramakrishnan regularly posts on social media, but hopes that livestreaming on Twitch will give viewers a way to see a new side of her personality.

“I think that any social media platform, there’s that layer of, you don’t really know a person — like, you can’t get their full personality, right? But I think with Twitch streaming and streaming video games that I like and enjoy, and even just chatting in the beginning of games and talking, I think it’s a nice way of putting myself out there in an authentic way that I have control over. It shows, OK, yeah, this is who Maitreyi is, who was literally just dwelling in her basement streaming from her PC.”

Ramakrishnan told Polygon she’s a “Nintendo girlie first and foremost.” In her TikTok teasing the stream, her background was lit with the pink hue of a neon light shaped to look like Kirby. She reveals that her plan is to dip into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch — this way, she’ll get a “chill game” to play on her first stream. Her go-to Mario Kart character? She has a soft spot for one of Bowser’s special little grunts.

“My favorite Mario Kart, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! for the GameCube, would be the red Paratroopa. I miss the red Paratroopa every day. I miss that little guy. But now, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, just Dry Bones. For I am now dead inside. I aged and I am now dead, one of Bowser’s dead goons.”

Although she loves Nintendo games, Ramakrishnan plans to branch out for future streams. She doesn’t have a solid schedule set yet, but she doesn’t want her debut to Twitch to be a stand-alone event. Down the line, the actor mentioned wanting to play games like the horror/slapstick comedy game Lethal Company. She might try streaming Valorant as well.

“With Valorant, I’m deathly afraid about playing any competitive game. My friends clown me for the fact that I only ever play unranked. I played one competitive game because my little cousin suckered me into it. He was like, Please, and I was like, Oh, God, and I was, like, crying. But my streamer pal came with a good idea to make it a sub goal. To, you know, get me to play my first rated game. So hopefully that doesn’t happen for a while, because I really don’t want to, man. I’m scared. I can’t be yelled at — like, I’m so sensitive.”

Overall, the culture around streaming can feel a lot more relaxed when compared to all the apparatuses that can surround a typical Hollywood star. Ramakrishnan won’t be fielding questions from press while on a set, but strangers from the comfort of her basement. Given the more casual nature of Twitch, Polygon asked Ramakrishnan if her team had any concerns with her starting to livestream.

“My publicist, she’s quite busy. And I said, ‘That’s great. Because I’m just gonna say nonsense on my stream, and, you know, you can figure that out later.’ She just gave me a look, just a deadpan look. I do think I may contribute to some blood pressure problems. I know I do for my mother, but it’s OK. You know, I don’t think I do anything bad. I’m not that cool. I just say shit.”

All in all, it’s looking like Ramakrishnan plans to have a pretty relaxed and friendly stream.

“The vibes I don’t want is some toxic shit. I don’t want that. That’s bad. I would not like to have that. So no, thank you. […] I just want to have a cool community of people who are fans of video games, but also just wanting to appreciate video games and enjoy watching something, even if it’s not their thing to actually play. And have it be a nice space where people can just talk and chat. And it’s just chill. Like, we can make fun of me when I’m absolutely failing and whiffing every single shot in Valorant, and it’s still just me playing unrated.”

To catch her stream, watch Maitreyi Ramakrishnan live on her Twitch channel on Friday, April 26, at 9 p.m. EDT.