"NHIE" Stars Ramona Young And Lee Rodriguez Are Just As Precious IRL As They Are On Screen As Eleanor And Fabiola
"On the low? [We're both] #TeamPaxton."
Earlier this month, I had the honor and privilege of chatting with Ramona Young and Lee Rodriguez — who play Eleanor and Fabiola on Netflix's hit teen comedy Never Have I Ever. We discussed their favorite scenes to film with one another; their shenanigans on the Universal backlot; and we may or may not have played a lil' game of never have I ever. Here's everything we learned:
1. What was your first impression of each other?
My first impression of Ramona was thinking that she was so chill and so laid-back — she was very quiet, which I loved, because I'm naturally very quiet — so I just knew that we were going to get along. We just both had to come out of our respective shells.
Yes, that's true. I am very shy in person. My first impression of Lee was, "Dang, she's beautiful.'[Writer's note: Lee made an "aww" sound at this comment]
Two, she seems very grounded and chill; and three, I could just tell we could be goofy together, before I even spoke to her.
2. What was your favorite behind-the-scenes memory from the set of Never Have I Ever?
Ramona: [Giggles] My favorite [memories] are the ones that are super embarrassing, especially when Lee gets embarrassed, so I'm not going to say it...
Lee: Wait, no say it! I want to know what it is.
Ramona: You do? Alright, Lee, I'm about to put you on blast. So, there was this dance scene...
Lee: AHHH! Never mind, never mind, never mind. I take it back!
[Writer's note: The three of us went back and forth about this scene, but Lee ultimately decided that it was, in fact, too embarrassing.]
Ramona: OK, I have a different one. One time, we had a long break, and me, Lee, and Jaren (Lewison, who plays Ben Gross)...took a walk around the Universal lot.
Lee: Yeah, me and Ramona were afraid we were going to get in trouble.
Ramona: And it was scary! It was night time, so I couldn't see, and I tripped a lot...it was a whole thing. But it was a good time.
Lee: You know when you're on the tram tour, and there's the Jaws set? We walked through there, and it was around Christmastime, so there were lights everywhere. We took so many pictures.
Ramona: We also checked out the houses from Desperate Housewives, which was actually scary because they were dark and abandoned. But, we had a good time.
3. What was your favorite scene to film together?
Ramona: I had a scene with Devi (played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and Fabiola where I was mad at them and we were in a fight. That was really fun, because I'm never like that, and it was fun to pretend to be that upset.
Lee: My favorite scene was the investigation scene [Writer's note: The scene in question is in Episode 6, when Fabiola and Eleanor investigate who started the rumor about Aneesa's eating disorder.] We were just going crazy that night — it was a late night, and we were feeling loopy...we just got really into it. We were joking about Law & Order type stuff and trying to figure out what kind of cops we were: Good cop? Bad cop? Neurotic cop? Super-psycho cop? We were just having a ball.
4. What is your favorite thing about each other's character?
Ramona: My favorite thing about Fabiola is that she's just a really good friend. She's not toxic at all — she's super supportive and very loyal, and, on top of all that, she's super smart! I can't think of one negative thing about Fabiola as a friend.
Lee: I think Eleanor is the cutest, most precious character. She's so much fun, and I love how she has moments when she's a little clueless, but it's so cute — you can't help but be like, "Aw, Eleanor."
5. What is something YOU think the OTHER person has ~never done~?
Lee: I don't know! Ramona is so adventurous...OH! I know one thing. Ramona has never gone skydiving.
Ramona: I have no interest in skydiving. No, thank you. [Writer's note: Hard same.] I don't think Lee has skydived either!
Lee: I haven't.
Ramona: Well, there ya go.
6. What was your favorite episode to shoot?
Ramona: Episode 10.
Lee: Yeah, same. The winter dance — it was so fun to see everyone dressed up and be on that set.
Ramona: And Lee had such a great scene!
Lee: Yeah, even before the dance, when Fabiola is trying on dresses and she tries to hide her calculator up her skirt...it was so fun to shoot.
7. What is a surprising thing you've learned about one another?
Lee: Ramona knows archery! Like the bow and arrow! She took me along once, and it was so cool.
Ramona: Lee is one of the best singers I know and deserves her own record label. I get goosebumps every time I hear Lee sing.
[Writer's note: Lee ~hinted~ at releasing some music soon!!! So hopefully we'll all be able get goosebumps after hearing her sing.]
8. What was your first impression of Mindy Kaling?
Ramona: My first impression was, "Wow she's very quiet and kind of shy on the surface." It made her relatable. I've seen her characters on TV, and she's always been this extrovert, so it was a bit of a shock to see that she's actually pretty grounded and introverted.
Lee: Honestly, same. Mindy seemed very quiet, but also very grounded. It brought a sense of relief because I'm also that way. But she's also a powerhouse! It's great to see someone be so grounded, but also be a boss.
9. Last question...#TeamBen or #TeamPaxton?
Lee: Well, first and foremost, #TeamDevi, but on the low? Especially in Season 2...
BOTH: ...#Team Paxton!