Mindy Kaling raised the bar for comedians years ago when she wrote for and starred as Kelly Kapoor on “The Office.” But the hit show was only the beginning of her rise to fame, and quite frankly it has little to do with my love and appreciation for the star.
The truth is, I’ve only ever seen “The Office” when it has been on TV while I’m in the room as my roommate or family watch it. Don’t get me wrong, it makes me giggle; I’ve just never had the urge to binge it myself. I will say, however, that the scenes with Kelly Kapoor in them hit me right in the funny bone.
I first discovered Kaling through her Fox (and later, Hulu) sitcom, “The Mindy Project.” The show featured Kaling, who played a charming, intelligent yet whimsical Dr. Mindy Lahiri. Throughout the series, viewers get to see Kaling play a character who seemingly fits her real-life persona, which is perhaps why I grew so attached to the comedian herself. Not to mention — Kaling produced, wrote and starred in the hit series.
After falling in love with the star on-screen, I dove into an internet search for “Mindy Kaling.” There’s no one more inspiring to me than a woman of color who is funny as heck, driven beyond words and intelligent. Upon my research, I learned that she had written a few books about her life and the woes of being Mindy. I purchased “Why Not Me?” and adored her writing style. Kaling’s voice is vivid and exciting. The book is a compilation of stories from Kaling’s life, told in the most real and hilarious fashion. It reads more like a text from your BFF who is just dying to tell you what happened on their date last night. More recently, Kaling created the Netflix original, “Never Have I Ever,” which I started and finished in the blink of an eye. The show follows Devi through the trials of teenhood and high school and is based on Kaling’s young life. I highly recommend this show if you enjoy good TV. Not to mention, it’s loaded with Indian-American representation, LGBT+ representation and beautiful writing. I can’t recommend Kaling’s work enough.
Looking past Kaling’s impressive portfolio, she is an inspiration beyond words for independent women everywhere. Kaling is an Indian-American comedian, single mom of two and a total boss. Her decision to start a family without a co-parent is extremely admirable in a world where women are still pressured to “find a husband and settle down.” Seriously, if you search her name on Google, some of the related searches include, “Who is Mindy Kaling’s baby daddy?” and “Who is Mindy Kaling’s husband?” Eye roll. She has been adamant about keeping the identity of her children’s father private, and I respect her immensely for absolutely crushing motherhood. Feminism has never looked so good.
Kaling is an advocate for human rights, an ambassador for the pancreatic cancer research company PanCAN and an overall amplifier of hushed voices.
When I brainstorm inspiring women, Mindy Kaling is high on my list. She is so many of the things that I hope to be one day, and I thank her for setting the stage for women everywhere who aspire to take charge in all areas of life.