Mindy Kaling may represent a different type of leading lady, but she's not the only one. So why is The Mindy Project star so often asked about her appearance? Covering the Sept. 29 issue of Parade, the 34-year-old TV writer explains why she's tired of talking about her looks.
"I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?' I think people are well meaning, but it's pretty insulting," the Office vet admits. "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?'"
Born in Massachusetts to Indian immigrants, Kaling says she's often asked how she manages to stand out in the white male-dominated world of comedy. "There are little Indian girls out there who look up to me, and I never want to belittle the honor of being an inspiration to them," she says. "But while I'm talking about why I'm so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art."
And boy, does Kaling love to talk about The Mindy Project. The half-hour comedy has featured a number of guest stars (James Franco, Seth Rogen) and earned raves from critics. It's especially rewarding for Kaling, given that Fox green-lighted the pilot on the same day her mother died of pancreatic cancer.
"It was like a gift from God or my mom," she tells Parade. "I think she was giving me something so I didn't have to get crushed under the weight of my grief."