Netflix’s Never Have I Ever is one of the most charming comedy series in recent years—and Richa Moorjani, who plays a hot Caltech Ph.D. student Kamala, one of its most charming stars. Moorjani’s character is an unusually beautiful, smart, and kind older cousin of the bumbling teenaged protagonist Devi. But despite her perfection, Kamala is impossible to dislike—and similarly, Moorjani is impossible not to root for in real life, thanks to her sincerity, intelligence, and inner and outer beauty.
The actress was born and grew up in California, but moved to Mumbai to pursue her dreams of acting in Bollywood. Eventually, she moved back to LA and won the role of Kamala in the Mindy-Kaling-produced show, beating out around 15,000 other actresses in the process. Alongside acting, she has also been a lifelong dancer practicing Indian classical dance as well as modern styles. But her latest passion for veganism and environmentalism is what makes her shine even more.
“Being Indian, the food we cook and eat at home is primarily vegan, so it wasn’t really something new to me. I became vegan overnight after watching a documentary and never looked back,” Moorjani tells Byrdie. That documentary was Cowspiracy, which she says “changed [her] life” in early 2020.
When she isn’t speaking up publicly for animal rights, Moorjani likes to practice peace on the plate at home. Her favorite foods are vegan chocolate chip cookies (“I have a huge sweet tooth, and I will say that I make the best vegan chocolate chip cookies”) and vegan brownies (“I will eat a good vegan brownie if I’ve had a long day and want to eat a brownie—that’s part of my self-care, actually”). Honestly, these are two of our favorite foods too, Richa, so we support your choco addiction! It’s clear though that Moorjani takes great care of herself—just take a look at her out-of-this-world gorgeous locks. And so, she likes to make kitchari, an Ayurvedic lentils and rice dish, in an instant pot during the week. It’s about balance, everyone.
As so often does with vegans, Moorjani’s sustainable and cruelty-free lifestyle started with diet and extended to other parts of her life, including beauty and style. While she doesn’t use a lot of makeup when she isn’t working, Moorjani loves to indulge in all-vegan skincare. It starts with cleansing and exfoliating with Smoothing Facial Polish from Ranavat, an Ayurvedic and vegan skincare line. She likes to hydrate with cult-favorite Caudalie Beauty Elixir throughout the day, and considers Ranavat Brightening Saffron Serum as the “gamechanger product” in her routine. Finally, she uses Osea’s algae sea mask to clarify her skin.
And here she is, killing it in a sustainable dress by Mara Hoffman and vegan platform sandals by Loeffler Randall. I didn’t know that Loeffler Randall made any vegan shoes, and it turns out they do—and also limit their use of plastic, and implement other ethical practices. Good to know!!
Even someone who is well-versed in vegan foods, skincare, and ethical fashion needs mental wellness routines. Moorjani says she does it all. “I go to therapy, I journal, I exercise, I meditate, I have a breathing practice, I have a yoga practice.” Taking care of your whole being is necessary if you are to speak your truth loud and clear!
Okay, we are fully sold on Richa Moorjani being one of the most lovely role models around. Here’s hoping her activism and acting career both rise higher and higher.
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Photo: Richa Moorjani via Instagram