Mindy Kaling Was ‘Vindicated’ By ‘The Office’ Success After Facing Rejection

Mindy Kaling is a comedian, actor, and writer who has been a part of many successful projects over the past decade. From The Mindy Project to The Sex Lives of College Girls, she has received acclaim for her witty performances and sharp writing. However, long before either of those shows, Kaling made waves on the iconic comedy The Office. As she revealed in a 2014 interview, the show changed her life in many ways. It helped her to feel “vindicated” after being told by many that she would never succeed in the entertainment industry.

Mindy Kaling starred and wrote on ‘The Office’

mindy kaling the office
THE OFFICE — “Customer Survey” Episode 6 — Pictured: Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Kaling knew from an early age that she wanted to be involved in entertainment. As a college student, she worked as an intern on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. There, she learned the ins and outs of the comedy business, according to IMDb. Once she graduated from Dartmouth, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in television. 

After working on a few writing projects, Kaling got her big break in 2004. She was hired as a writer-performer on the all-new NBC series The Office. Kaling was not only responsible for helping to craft storylines and situations on the show, but, as fan-favorite character Kelly Kapoor, she gained an enthusiastic fan base who couldn’t wait to see what she would do next.

Why did Mindy Kaling feel ‘vindicated’ by ‘The Office’s success?

Mindy Kaling became a star thanks to her tenure on The Office. She launched her own TV show, The Mindy Project. She also embarked on a successful film career, appearing in comedy films such as No Strings Attached. Kaling has been open about her love for the show. But she’s also discussed the challenges that she has faced as a woman in comedy.

In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Kaling talked about how hard it has been for her to face up to some of her insecurities as a “not thin woman” in entertainment. Discussing her tryout for a sketch comedy series before The Office, Kaling said she and her co-star “were not considered attractive or funny enough to play ourselves.” But it all worked out in the end.

“That network is no longer on the air, and The Office went on to be one of NBC’s most hit shows in years,” Kaling explained. “I feel like karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time it felt terrible.” 

The Office gave her the creative environment she craved. But Kaling still had to deal with issues from those who discounted her for her weight. In fact, she once admitted a fellow writer on the show suggested a joke centered on her weight

“I had a reckoning where I’m like, ‘People are scrutinizing (me), and not only are they scrutinizing (me), they’re verbalizing their displeasure with how I look because I don’t look a certain way,” she told Good Morning America

Kaling is focused on health, not size

Since becoming a star, Kaling hasn’t stopped talking about body positivity. In 2020, Kaling welcomed her second child. Not long after, she spoke about her post-baby workouts. The actor noted she was able to slow down during that time and focus on her newborn son. All while incorporating fun Peloton workouts and treadmill exercises.

In a 2022 interview with Today, Kaling explained she’s “refocused.” Now, she cares more about her overall health, not a specific number on the scale. “I’m never going to stop being a foodie,” she noted, discussing past diets. She continued. “I just am really for the first time in my life, trying moderation, and I love it,” said Kaling. She also revealed she used to view exercise as a form of “punishment.” Now, Kaling’s embraced a mindset shift that allows her to be her healthiest, happiest self.

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