Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or maybe just not watching TV – you probably know who Mindy Kaling is, or at least recognize her face. Mindy cut her teeth writing and acting on the show The Office and now she’s the star of her own television sitcom: The Mindy Project. Let’s not forget the she is also one of America’s (far too) few women of color to achieve this status; the only others to have done so are Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho. She also has a bestselling book under her belt. Ms. Kaling is funny, and smart, and driven, and funny, and wise, and relatable… and really funny. Just take this line from her book: What’s that? You’ve never heard of the freshman thirty-five? That’s funny, because neither had my parents, who welcomed me home on spring vacation with mild horror. I was a vaguely familiar food monster who had eaten their daughter. See what I mean? HILARIOUS!
One of her best qualities is that she is normal. And not like normal-for-Hollywood-normal; no, she seems like a completely normal human being. She is touted as being the answer to a world bored with waifish-thin models and actresses who haven’t seen the inside of cheeseburger in far too many summers! She is the new generation’s “hero” for daring to challenge the traditional standards of beauty! Except that she’s not. Ms. Kaling herself has talked about how these “compliments” are actually anything but complimentary; most candidly on her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live (also here). She is described as not caring, when she truly does. She wants to look good. She has not decided to be anti-skinny, or anti-glamour, or (as she describes the comments about her): “They’re like it’s so refreshing that Mindy… feels comfortable enough to like, let herself go and be a fat sea-monster!” Aren’t people nice? As she points out, “It takes a lot to look like a normal/chubby woman!”
Her greatest quality is that she is just like everyone else. She is concerned about the same things, and she is lucky enough to be famous. She is refreshing because of her wit and her talent, not because of her size. She is to be commended for working to break down barriers because of her cultural heritage and her identity as a person of color, not because of her size. Everywhere people are losing sight of what is actually important, but thankfully Mindy Kaling is more than happy to remind folks.
Let’s all agree to be more like Mindy.