Hanna Stein’s big break came in the form of Mindy Kaling’s new Netflix show, Never Have I Ever. As Shira, Ben Gross’s girlfriend, she is not the most likeable character — she’s meant as a foil to Devi, the protagonist — but you definitely won’t forget her. The 25-year-old Jewish actress gave us 18 things to know about her.
1. I was born and raised in Detroit, and grew up with my three siblings in Bloomfield Hills, MI. We were brought up in a Reform Jewish household. My father is a doctor and my mother is a lawyer.
2. When I was young, I wanted to be a professional figure skater. I skated for the majority of my childhood but had to stop after breaking my wrist snowboarding. Michelle Kwan was my idol.
3. I went to Hebrew school once a week until I graduated from high school. I was bat mitzvahed in Michigan and had a fiesta themed party.
4. I spent my summers on Pelee Island in Ontario, Canada, where I started to catch onto the locals’ vernacular. They said “eh” rather than “huh.” It was their version of a question mark. I loved it!
5. I was an outcast in high school — now I play a popular girl on TV. Shira is the opposite of who I was in high school. High school can be brutal for anyone who is even a little bit different. The one thing I admire about Shira is that she is confident in who she is; she reminds me you have to always have confidence in yourself and honestly, there is nothing interesting about being ordinary — something I wish I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self.
6. I moved to LA at 19. I lived in a one-bedroom with five people. I always knew I wanted to be in entertainment and I knew it wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t move to Los Angeles and get in the game.
7. Cookie butter is my guilty pleasure. Thank you, Trader Joe’s, for the new options!
8. I have white girl dance moves. ( You can see them on Never Have I Ever in episode 8.)
9. My agent got me the audition for Never Have I Ever. I had one callback and then got cast! (Best day ever!!)
10. I can eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting. Cherry Garcia or Chunky Monkey are my top flavors.
11. I try to travel or go on an adventure every couple months. I’m not great at staying put! Iceland has been my favorite adventure so far. Truly, it was like being on a different planet every day.
12. My nickname with my best friends is Bean. I really don’t know why, but I got it my senior year and it stuck. Everyone in our friend group at home still calls be Bean. Hanna is a foreign name to them!
13. I attended a horseback riding camp for seven years. I rode Western style; English style was an entirely different arena.
14. I wrote my first screenplay at 19, telling my papa’s immigration story, as a way to honor him and my great relatives, my aunts, uncles, and cousins.
15. I’m left-handed.
16. I love inspirational quotes. One of my favorite quotes is by Björk:
“After tragedies one has to invent a new world, knit it or embroider, make it up … you have to imagine something that doesn’t exist and dig a cave into the future and demand space” — Björk
17. My parents are my favorite people. Thank God for FaceTime because they still live in the Midwest.
18. I’m a dog person.
All images via Hanna Stein.