‘Never Have I Ever’: How Megan Suri Feels About Playing Aneesa: ‘We Don’t Ever See Cool Indian Girls in the Media’

Devi’s (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) school life again takes a turn in Season 2 of Netflix’s Never Have I Ever with the arrival of new student Aneesa Qureshi. Actor Magan Suri plays the new character who would unearth more of Devi’s insecurities in the show. Aneesa is an effortlessly cool Indian-American teen who seems to have the perfect image. She gets along with everyone, is academic, has a cool style, and takes over Devi’s role as the school’s Indian-American student. Suri explains that Aneesa and Devi showcase a new standard for brown women on television.

Megan Suri as Aneesa in 'Never Have I Ever' sitting next to Devi at school
Megan Suri as Aneesa and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi ‘Never Have I Ever’ | via Netflix

Aneesa has her own story to tell in ‘Never Have I Ever’

In Season 2, Devi’s life is not going so great. Her plan to date Paxton (Darren Barnet) and Ben (Jaren Lewison) at the same time bursts into flames. As she slowly rectifies her wrongs and regains her self-esteem, Aneesa makes her grand entrance and enchants the school. Devi starts to feel outnumbered as she was the only Indian-American student at school and her insecurities tenfold.

Aneesa is anything but a villain as she befriends Devi and the people around her. She goes out of her way to help Devi from being scolded by her mother. Her kind and unselfish demeanor win over the characters and viewers. Aneesa’s cool and suave persona Aneesa also hides her biggest personal struggle. In her past, Aneesa dealt with weight issues and her insecurities. Suri explains that Aneesa is an Indian character not often seen on the small-screen.

Magan Suri felt honored to play Aneesa

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In an interview with Teen Vogue, Suri talks about her journey into playing Aneesa in Never Have I Ever. Still making her mark in acting, she still does not have the luxury to turn away roles. The actor is conscious of the type of roles she auditions for, especially when regarding stereotypes. Suri started professionally acting when she was eight years old and has seen a change in the industry regarding Indian characters. “It has been beautiful to see the trajectory of how roles have changed for brown women and the roles that I’m often offered as opposed to what I was usually going out for,” said Suri.

Suri admits that some of the roles she has auditioned for are stereotypes of Indian people often seen in the media. Not only is Devi breaking away from the mold as the lead character with a romantic love interest, but Aneesa represents something entirely different. In Never Have I Ever, Aneesa is not shy, awkward, unattractive, or stereotyped as a nerd. Instead, Aneesa is vibrant, charming, and radiates warmth. Suri is proud to play a brown female character and explains, “we don’t ever see cool Indian girls in the media.”

‘Never Have I Ever’ returns for a third season

RELATED: ‘Never Have I Ever’ Star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Reveals If She’s Team Ben or Team Paxton

The Netflix teen drama will continue in a third season. After the success of the second season, Netflix renewed the series for a new installment with its main cast. Fans are eager to see where the new season will take Devi’s story. Many hope to see Devi focus on her worth instead of relying on others. Fans also wish Devi will rethink that having a romantic relationship is necessary.

There is no news on the series’s other characters and where their stories are headed. Fans on Reddit express what they hope to see in the new season. One user comments, “Aneesa should leave Ben, and there should be more info on her family and background. I love her character, and I hope to see more of her.” Another fan even hopes the season will dedicate one episode to Aneesa’s perspective.