If you don’t know Maitreyi Ramakrishnan by name, you definitely know her face. She was most likely the highlight of one of your many shelter-in-place phases. The 18-year-old actress made her grand introduction in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever as a charismatic teen named Devi grappling with the loss of her father as she deals with the trials and tribulations of a high schooler. I devoured the whole season in one day, and you probably did, too. (If not, you should.)
As she patiently awaits filming season two, Ramakrishnan teamed up with Gilette Venus to make her favorite video game more inclusive, particularly for skin conditions and adornments. With her help, you can now customize your Animal Crossing character to have acne, vitiligo, tattoos, psoriasis, and prosthetics with a wide range of skin tones. In an interview with Allure, Ramakrishnan shared why these options are crucial, as well as the body hair-related one her Animal Crossing character is currently fitted with.
ALLURE: What is it like to see such amazing skin representation in a video game, especially since they’ve historically been limited?
MR: It’s honestly really awesome — especially with a game like Animal Crossing where you are that avatar. That avatar is supposed to be you in the game. It’s great to have all these different designs available for people to use. It just makes it that much more personal. It’s the difference between being able to have no skin choices and no customization options for your avatar and then suddenly, you’re allowed to maybe pick your clothes, and then suddenly, you’re allowed to pick your skin tones. But even just that, that’s still not enough. It’s definitely steps forward, but now, with all these designs and a bunch of different skin tones, as well, between back tattoos, leg scars, arm hair, which is the one I’m personally using. There are so many different options with all these designs that make it right to play. It’s a nice little inclusion, and you feel seen.
ALLURE: How does your Animal Crossing character represent you?
MR: Right now with the whole workbook of designs that Gillette, myself, the designer, and everybody on the team is putting out there to the world, I’m using the arm hair design. It has a really nice, cute dress. Other times, I put my Animal Crossing character in funky, random clothes, whether it’s a frog or a sheep costume.