3 Reasons to Love Mindy Kaling
16 May 2015
Whenever I read something about Mindy Kaling, it makes me happy. Not just her show (which just got picked up by Hulu — YESSS). Not just her hilarious book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Mindy Kaling as a human who exists in the world brings me joy.
I fully recognize that anything akin to Lisztomania is problematic. I’ve never met Mindy Kaling. I don’t think she’s flawless or someone to idolize. However, I’m grateful to live in a world where someone like Mindy Kaling (and Tina Fey and Amy Schumer and so many other powerhouse female comedians) is a household name.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. She gets (and talks about) female friendship.
The above gifs? Totally how I feel about my best friends, affectionately called my “soul sisters.” A best friend is a beautiful thing, and not something that is exclusive. I remember the downtrodden feeling as a teenager of befriending someone new, getting excited about my new blossoming friendship, and suddenly hearing that person mention her “best friend.” In those moments, I felt as if I could never be good enough. If she already had a best friend, I could never be anything but second-class.
Ridiculous, in retrospect, but that’s exactly the sort of thought over which a 15-year-old girl agonizes. I wish I had realized at 15 what I know now: every friendship is different and having one “best friend” does NOT mean you don’t have room in your heart (and life) for a second.
Mindy Kaling doesn’t just get the beauty and importance of female friendship. She talks about it. The ‘Best Friend Code of Conduct‘ from her first book is completely worth a read. Regarding the part about being 100% honest about how I look, but kind… here’s a sentence that one of the soul sisters said to me recently: “you look like a disco hipster, which is a good thing, but I want to make sure you realize the style choice you made today.” The perfect blend of “I love you” and “you look kind of ridiculous.”
2. She fights for what’s important.
Namely, feminism. I remember reading an article that Vulture posted in 2012, telling a story of how Kaling inspired Jenna Fischer to fight for the storylines that she thought Pam should or shouldn’t have (in The Office). Fischer said,
I remember her saying, ‘If you can get [the writers] to yell at you, then you know that they’re treating you like an equal and not like a girl.’ That made me feel brave.”
Getting yelled at is a terrifying prospect. I hardly ever feel like an equal when someone is bellowing at me. It’s belittling by nature, but it’s also a testament to your worth. You are worth yelling at. Your opinion matters enough to infuriate someone. There’s bravery in that recognition.
3. She’s happily single.
In a world where romantic relationships are revered and women (especially) are judged harshly if they can’t “keep a man,” Mindy’s voice is refreshing. That’s another thing I wish I could tell 15-year-old Taylor: you don’t have to date all of those boys. Just be you.
In an interview with Flare, Kaling said,
“In my 20s, I was not only boy crazy, but marriage and relationship crazy … Now it’s almost the opposite. My work is so rewarding and I’m so self-centered about it that I’m kind of excited about not having to go home and ask someone about their day.”
As an introvert, I feel you on that last bit, Mindy.
Mindy Kaling has a new book out in September, available for pre-order now. Here are the details:
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
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