5 Reasons Mindy Kaling Is Unique in Hollywood
Mindy Kaling is everywhere these days, and that’s a good thing. Whether she’s bringing comedy and class to the White House Correspondents Dinner’s weekend pre-party, interviewing Billy Crystal for Entertainment Weekly, or starring in the season finale of her hit show, The Mindy Project, Kaling keeps us entertained and on our toes.
With that said, here are five reasons Kaling is one of the coolest people in Hollywood.
1. She’s best friends with B.J. Novak
Fans of The Office know Kaling and Novak better as Kelly Kapoor and Ryan Howard — a relationship in all its forms that kept audiences laughing season after season. In real life, the duo met as writers for the show and began dating shortly thereafter “and kind of fell in love through doing that, and then dated on and off for a couple of years, and now we are just, like, best friends,” Kaling has said in the past. “Like, real best friends. It’s the kind of friendship you have when you are embedded with someone, that you can only get by putting in that insane amount of time with people.”
We don’t doubt it. With Kaling recently saying her “dream date” for the White House Correspondents Dinner would be Novak and their constant banter on Twitter and Instagram, it seems the two are rarely out of sync. Fans are longing to see them as more than friends, though, and there’s even a Tumblr devoted to their relationship. “The main reason I’m reluctant to get married to Mindy is that every single person in our lives and Twitter feeds would say, ‘I knew it,’ said Novak. “I just couldn’t f—-ing deal with that. But we know. We know what’s there.”
2. She wrote a New York Times bestseller
In 2012, Kaling released “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” of which The New York Times wrote: “She’s like Tina Fey’s cool little sister. Or perhaps … the next Nora Ephron.” Kaling seemed to know this comparison was coming – two women in comedy both with TV shows and both writing a series of comedic essays — so she addresses it right away in her book. “Unfortunately, I can’t be Tina, because it’s very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday-type situation where we could switch bodies, even though in the movies they make it look so easy. Believe me, I’ve tried,” she wrote in her book.
Luckily for us, Kaling doesn’t try to be Fey. Instead, Kaling’s series of vignettes are filled with her trademark self-deprecation and humor, which often sound a lot like things people think but don’t actually say. Maybe that’s why she’s so likable.
3. She is outspoken about weight, gender, and race
I love my @ELLEmagazine cover. It made me feel glamorous & cool. And if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me.
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) January 7, 2014
Kaling writes and stars in The Mindy Project, which is filled with repeated mentions of her character’s weight – in Hollywood and in much of Kaling’s world, a “so-called atypical size.” Her own life experiences with weight loss and weight gain have thus far seemed the perfect fodder for her show, and Kaling has repeatedly said she’s proud to help foster a positive body image mentality through the hit comedy. After telling Vogue she doesn’t “want” to be skinny and graciously deflecting criticism for her Elle cover, Kaling is a refreshing testament to authenticity in the industry.
Kaling has also been outspoken about race and gender, and said she refuses to let expectations about what women in Hollywood should look like affect her sense of self-worth. “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’” Kaling told Parade magazine. “I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”
4. She has middle school-age views on kissing and dating
Kaling and her character on her namesake TV show may share the same name, but Kaling says that’s about it. While TV Mindy is known for lots of drinking, dating, partying, and being somewhat promiscuous, real-life Mindy says she’d be “dead” if she lived the life of her character.
Kaling has said, too, that she’s an old-fashioned romantic and takes things slower when it comes to dating: “The problem with kissing, when you’re older than 16, you can’t kiss a guy for like two hours, which is like what I would want to do, because at a certain point, they’re like, ‘What is this leading to?’” she told Chelsea Handler. “And I’m like, ‘That’s it! I could kiss a guy for 90 minutes and be like, ‘That was great!’”
5. She’s (more than) a triple threat
Kaling first joined The Office when she was 24 and was the only woman on a staff of eight. In addition to acting as Kelly Kapoor, Kaling worked behind the scenes as a writer, producer, and director. From 2008 to 2012, she was involved in a variety of production roles and wrote some of the show’s most memorable episodes, including “Golden Ticket,” “The Injury,” “Niagara,” “Classy Christmas,” and “Diwali,” which even featured a cameo by her parents. By the time she left The Office, she’d written 24 episodes, gotten an Emmy nomination for “Niagara,” and been promoted steadily from staff writer to executive producer.
Kaling currently holds triple billing on The Mindy Project, where she acts in a leading role, is the executive producer, and is a lead writer.