‘Never Have I Ever’: Lee Rodriguez on Fabiola’s Season 2 Struggles, Plus Is She Team Paxton or Ben?
Season 1 of Never Have I Ever left us on a major cliffhanger with Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). In the second season, we see Devi grapple with the weight of all her decisions that come after. Many characters have their own interpersonal relationships they attempt to navigate, which boasts a larger cast as well. Some of the newcomers include rapper Common and Megan Suri.
Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) tries to find and be comfortable with who she is post-coming-out while also maintaining her new relationship with Eve (Christina Kartchner). At times, it’s not easy as Fabiola gets caught up in trying to be “queer enough.”
We caught up with Rodriguez to dive deeper into what her character is going through and hear what it was like to film with a bigger cast.
Preview Fabiola’s storyline and what can we expect from her in Season 2.
Lee Rodriguez: Season 1, she comes out. In Season 2, she has more questions about herself and trying to navigate her relationship with Eve and also has this big ordeal with having Eve meet her mom. She struggles a lot with trying to fit in with her friends and trying to navigate a relationship with Eve. You’ll see a lot of awkward avoidant moments with Fabiola.
How is Fabiola handling her struggles with herself and being true to herself this season?
I think Fabiola tends to push things in and go with the flow of things at her own expense sometimes. She builds and builds up her emotions and then eventually, she lets it all out — like we saw in Season 1, she just came out in front of everybody. That’s just Fabiola, where she holds things in, tries to make everything work. She gets in situations where she’s not like herself and you’ll see that in Season 2. She’s making all these weird decisions and doing all these things that just aren’t her, and the audience can tell.
At times, she feels forced to do and be something she’s not. Is there any prep you did when you were trying to portray and convey those feelings for your character?
Yeah, I always try to make sure it comes from a real place, especially when Fabiola was trying to not have Eve meet her mom. I took it as my mom because my mom says things that are really out there. She’s a funny gal, but especially when I was younger — “Oh, mom, don’t say anything” — so I really pulled that from my experience with my own mom. I just try to go in with every emotion she has and pull from myself and think about what she’s going through, background kind of work.
What do you want fans, especially fans going through struggles similar to those Fabiola is going through this season, to take away from this?
It’s OK to continue to discover who you are after coming out because that’s a part of life. You’re going to constantly figure out who you are. Just always stay true to what is close to you in the end.
How do the events of this season affect her relationship with her girlfriend Eve?
I feel like Eve doesn’t really understand why Fabiola is being the way that she is. Eve is trying to be very supportive and as you can see, Fabiola is very avoidant. I think it’s because she doesn’t entirely understand her own thoughts up until she just explodes and comes to this realization that who she’s trying to be isn’t who she is and it’s not working. They have a little bit of difficulty in their relationship throughout the season as well.
Fabiola struggles with being around Eve’s friends. How does that make Fabiola feel?
I think Fabiola’s very intimated to be around people who already know who they are and are very bold and courageous as she’s none of those things. She likes to go to robotics practice, but she tries to be more involved, and she tries to fit in. Fabiola is very intimidated by Eve’s friends. But Donielle Mikel Nash, who plays Sasha, is amazing and hilarious. I loved working with Donielle this season; she’s so funny.
What’s some advice you would want to give Fabiola about her situation in Season 2?
I just want to tell her to just breathe. Just breathe, take a second to think to herself, “Am I being true to myself? Am I doing the things I want to do?” and to just have more open communication with Eve.
Do you have any favorite scenes or moments that you’re looking forward to fans seeing?
Yeah, I’m really excited for people to see the new love interests that come in for a lot of the characters. I really love Eleanor’s storyline with Malcolm. I feel like a lot of people would be interested in that storyline as well as Kamala and Nalini with Christopher [Common]. There’s a lot of new characters that I’m really excited about for other people to see.
What was it like to be filming with the new cast members on set?
It was so fun to meet everybody. We all have different personalities. That was cool to see; everybody added to that. We all had a really fun time. I felt like there were a lot of different people which we were all super excited about because it adds to the story [and] it adds to the fun on set. It was really cool.
What do you hope to see in the future for Fabiola and Eve’s relationship? Or for Fabiola?
I hope to see Fabiola more grounded and be a little bit more in her element and comfortable where she’s at and not in such a frantic, panicky state. And just really see her in her relationship with Eve, where she’s comfortable and [she’s not] in a state of panic constantly.
Are you Team Paxton or Ben?
That’s so interesting because I feel like I’m really back and forth. Season 1, I was definitely Team Ben, but now Season 2, I don’t know, I think I’m Team Paxton. It’s so crazy.
Never Have I Ever, Season 2, Thursday, July 15, Netflix