Fabiola is a proudly gay teenager, captain of her high school robotics team, and one of the lead characters in Mindy Kaling’s Netflix series “Never Have I Ever.” The success of the series has put Afro-Latina actress Lee Rodriguez, who plays Fabiola, center stage.
“In high school, I was this shy, tall girl with a big afro. Playing Fabiola, that’s how she feels too,” Rodriguez told ET‘s Melicia Johnson about the similarities between herself and her character. “She’s an [Afro-Latina], tall, [with] dorky clothes. She’s figuring herself out and trying things; some things don’t work, and she learns more about herself. And that’s a perfect example of growing up.”
Lee Rodriguez was born in Fresno, California, and grew up in Hesperia. Her love for acting began in eighth grade while attending Encore Jr./Sr. High School, a school specializing in the arts.
After enrolling in a talent agency, Rodriguez soon landed her first break playing Bea in “Class of Lies” in 2018. In the same year, she portrayed Naomi in “Grown-ish” in 2018. In 2020, Rodriguez joined the cast of “Never Have I Ever” and set the tone with her performance and Fabiola‘s afro.
Lee Rodriguez claimed to be proud of her Latina and black culture and shared how she has “the best of both worlds.”
“I’m thankful to be close with both sides,” she says of her family, adding that while her paternal grandmother doesn’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Spanish, they’re always “finding a way to connect” amid the language barrier.
The young actress has used her platform to share her concern and activism for climate change, starting an Instagram Live series “Learning With Lee: The Climate Crisis,” where she addresses issues such as fast fashion.
Lee Rodriguez will continue to play Fabiola in the upcoming third season of “Never Have I Ever” and hopes to make the leap to her true passion: music.