Mindy Kaling thinks it’s ‘pretty insulting’ when you ask her why she’s so confident

Some of you people were hating on Mindy Kaling at the Emmys. While she didn’t look that cute on Sunday, I always root for Mindy and it upsets me to see how easily some people dismiss her and her show. Emmy voters dismiss her too – I just don’t see how some of the stalwart “comedy” nominees (ugh, Laura Dern) can cycle through the awards season year after year and it never occurs to anyone to take a second look at The Mindy Project. Like, I dislike Girls, but I don’t waste my time writing dissertations for why Girls sucks, nor do I enjoy reading lengthy pieces for why this cult-like hate-watch is The Best Thing Ever. I’m too busy enjoying The Mindy Project, which in my opinion, is often better/more enjoyable than New Girl. The premiere episodes of New Girl and TMP were especially stark – New Girl’s premiere sucked hard and TMP delivered.

Anyway, Mindy covers this week’s issue of Parade Mag. You can see Parade’s interview video here – she let Parade come to her house and she talks a lot about her tchotchkes. She also had some other awesome stuff to say:

On the importance of knowing how to cook:
“You go to someone’s house for a home-cooked meal and you think, ‘Oh, I get it—the most attractive you can be, male or female, is if you cook.’ If I had a boyfriend who cooked for me, that’d be it. I would never stray.”

On Fox green-lighting her show’s pilot on the same day her mother died of pancreatic cancer:
“It was like a gift from God or my mom. I think she was giving me something so I didn’t have to get crushed under the weight of my grief.”

On standing out in the white male-dominated comedy world:
“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. But while I’m talking about why I’m so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art.”

On the attention paid to her appearance:
“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. 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?’”

On having a TV show to produce and a staff to manage:
“I love being the boss, but it’s lonelier because you know that everyone at some point has huge complaints about you. And I like to be part of the gang, you know?”

[From Parade]

“But while I’m talking about why I’m so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art” = I love her. Talk about your art, Mindy! I also love the “Where do you get your confidence?” part because I’ve wondered about that too, but not because she doesn’t have the right to be confident. She just seems to approach the world with an “I’m awesome!” mentality, which is incredibly refreshing. She’s not smug or condescending, she just believes in herself. I read her book too and it’s pretty clear where she gets her confidence – she had two loving, supportive parents who prioritized education and gave her the freedom to make mistakes and learn about life. Plus, she grew up in a very affluent, progressive, educated area of Massachusetts. She’s so confident because she’s a product of all of that, plus I think she’s just one of those naturally positive and optimistic people.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Parade.

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61 Responses to “Mindy Kaling thinks it’s ‘pretty insulting’ when you ask her why she’s so confident”

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  1. ella says:

    I love her so much. Thanks for covering Mindy, I don’t think she gets the attention she deserves!

    • Shaz says:

      I know! And I don’t think the confidence question is meant to be insulting – her confidence is unusual for anyone – she clearly comes from a remarkably supportive and healthy family.

    • anet says:

      I think her show is a bit too flippant and over acted….but I appreciate any “unconventional” gal being offended when asked why she’s so UBER confident. That is very insulting. She should have just told the d bag to go fuck themselves for asking her in the first place. She rocks like that and I respect her for it. Good on her.

      • gefeylich says:

        I don’t like her show either (I think it’s largely unfunny), but she’s right to be annoyed by those who question the origin of her confidence. It comes from being smart and ambitious and fearless, kids. Why should she be constrained by her looks or ethnicity? No one would dare to ask any successful man of color such a question. And no one would dare to ask white women such as Amy Poehler or Tina Fey that question either (mainly because they’d get a [probably figurative] sock on the jaw).

      • jennipurrr says:

        I’m a white woman and I get asked that question. My favourite was, “you’ve got a lot of confidence for a bigger girl.” Number one, what’s wrong with not being skinny and liking yourself? Number two, I was a size 12 at the time. Seriously?

        Honestly, people really don’t get why I’m so happy and enjoy life so much. In the grand scheme of things it has to do with appreciating little things: the smell of rain or fresh-cut grass, sunshine, good music, whatever. I think I look fine, why anyone is surprised is beyond me and definitely very insulting.

    • anet says:

      I think her show is a bit too flippant and over acted….but I appreciate any “unconventional” gal being offended when asked why she’s so UBER confident. That is very insulting. She should have just told the d bag to go fuck themselves for asking her in the first place. She rocks like that and I respect her for it. Good on her.

  2. Josephine says:

    She’s absolutely correct — it is insulting. It bums me out that we give so much more attention to women who get naked and act like idiots than smart, funny, interesting women with a healthy self-esteem.

  3. NerdMomma says:

    I agree, the season premiere of the mindy project was hilarious and really strong! I absolutely love mindy and her show. Thanks for a mindy post!

  4. Amelia says:

    I love TMP! Strangely, I was just watching the episode where her brother wants to become a rapper about 20 minutes ago.
    She’s so awesome. I want to invite her to my Halloween party.

  5. LB says:

    I like her answers. she always comes off as intelligent and thoughtful. Her book is hilarious,

    I have noticed how she often discusses that she would prefer to talk about her work over diversity, but I think there’s time for both. Its just reporters, looking for a unique angle, and in her case, the angle is race (for Tina Fey, it was gender). I can see how that’s annoying.

    I just wish her show was better. I still watch but its disappointing. And I thought what happened to Franco’s character this week was a bit much.

  6. Lucy2 says:

    Great responses- she’s a very smart woman, and I love that she isn’t afraid to say such things.
    Her show keeps getting better and better, I think.

  7. missmerry says:

    they certainly lightened her skin, huh? She’s beautiful no matter what shade, but seeing the photoshopped cover image next to the red carpet image…I wonder if that bothers her, if she doesn’t notice, if it’s just makeup or what she thinks…

    • Bex says:

      I’m not saying they didn’t brighten the cover image but I have brown skin and it is tricky to light for photographs. In a processional studio they’re going to bring out all the lights to get good detail. Red carpets are usually at night and don’t have the same lighting so they’re tough to compare.

      Anyway, I am loving TMP this year!

  8. Kiddo says:

    I love her, hated her show in the first season, never went back.

    • Patricia says:

      Same here. She was so great on the office and I had high hopes for the show but found it vapid, all the plot lines are silly, and the characters totally ridiculous. But I still support her and wish her the best, just can’t stomach her dumb show.

    • Merricat says:

      YES. I tried to get into her show, I watched quite a few episodes but it was just sooooo awful and unfunny.

      and I can’t believe everyone’s gushing about how normal she is, not skinny as a stick, etc, when on her show the character Danny makes cracks about her weight (I saw at least 2 jokes he makes about her weight in the first few episodes) and we’re supposed to buy it as flirting and find him charming and roguish and root for them to get together. ugh. I’m kind of disgusted with myself that I even kept on watching after that, but I like HER so much I wanted to like the show.

  9. Falula says:

    I think it’s fine for people to come hate on the show if they don’t like it – it’s subjective! I think TMP is terrible but I can say that and still acknowledge that everything she says here is spot-on. I think she is a part of an important conversation, and in other places/times I have found her hilarious, I just don’t like her show.

  10. Kate says:

    I’ve really, really tried to get into the Mindy Project, but I’m just not feeling it. I watched the whole first season and it just seemed so all over the place, like every few episodes they did a complete overhaul. I expect that to happen once, maybe twice in a first season, but with Mindy every third episode I’d wonder if I watching the eps completely out of order because it just felt off somehow (I wasn’t, I checked about 10 times).

    Plus it features a lot of standard rom-com tropes that really bug me. Especially the ‘Professionally Successful Woman Who’s Personal Life is a Complete and Utter Trainwreck’. I just can’t buy into Mindy’s character as a partner in a OBGYN practice, not when almost every episode has her flailing around about silly dating drama’s while she’s actually at work. Say what you want about Girls, Hannah and co. are a much more realistic portrayal of what people like that actually achieve in life.

    I loved the episodes the wrote for The Office though (the earlier ones anyway).

  11. Lucy says:

    I absolutely love her and TMP. She is adorable on so many levels!

  12. Esti says:

    Agree she’s awesome, disagree about the Emmys. I love TMP because it’s hilarious and she and Chris Messina are great in it, but it’s still kind of a mess — she hasn’t really figured out what to do with the supporting characters or whether it’s a workplace comedy vs. about her personal life. I would love love love to see her nominated for an Emmy, but the first season didn’t deserve one.

    (And other you picked the wrong person to shade, Laura Dern was *fantastic* on Enlightened and her only other comedy nomination was for a guest actress on Ellen back in the 90s. Which was also really deserved, she was the love interest in the big episode where Ellen realized she was gay.)

  13. Mia 4S says:

    Phenomenal answer, love her!

  14. Stef Leppard says:

    Wow, hmmm. I have always found her to be really annoying, but I kinda love her interview responses! She seems intelligent, humble, and refreshing. Now I can’t hate on her anymore, I guess.

  15. LadyL says:

    Bravo, Mindy. You can teach the sob sisters that decry the patriarchy from their gilded cages a thing or two.

  16. Meow Mix says:

    I just love her and the show.

  17. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Cambridge native :)

    She’s awesome. Finally, an interview where a celeb has something interesting, thought-provoking to say. Love her.

  18. lamamu says:

    Such a smart, cute girl. Love her. I just don’t think there’s any comparison between Kaling and Dunham though. Dunham’s show really captured the zeitgeist of a moment in time, whereas Kaling is more of a Tina Fey-type: hard worker AND the smartest girl in the room. That’s not to say Dunham won’t continue to have a career, but I can’t imagine it will be anything near as successful as Girls.

  19. NorthernGirl_20 says:

    I love Mindy, I think she’s funny and witty and The Mindy Show is one of my fav shows. I think she’s awesome..

  20. Cel says:

    I live how she considers it an honor to be an inspiration to others without sounding full of herself. Sounds like an awesome person.

  21. Samtha says:

    I love her and really want to love her show, but it has made me laugh maybe three times in its entire run.

    And don’t even get me started on that last episode with James Franco, where he was passed out drunk to the point where he couldn’t even get into his apartment, and Chloe Sevigny’s character had sex with him. If the situation had been reversed–a woman had been half-naked and passing out drunk, and a man had had sex with her–no one would have called that “situational comedy.”

    It made me really uncomfortable to the point where I don’t think I can watch again.

  22. vv007 says:

    I love her. And her show! My kids and I get a good laugh out of her show.

    Also, James Franco! He was great as the new “Doctor L” haha. Oh and Morgan. Morgan totally makes that show for me:


  23. Nancy says:

    I love Mindy and The Mindy Project. It really is hilarious I wish more people would give it a chance.

    • Algernon says:

      I watched the entire first season and started the second and finally gave up after the second episode with Franco. As someone pointed out above, the sex with Chloe Sevigny moment was extremely shady.

      I gave it a year of chances and could never get into it. It’s just not that good.

  24. Megan says:

    love her and love her show. Think it is the funniest show on TV now that Happy Endings is over.

    She is great and yes the awards need to look around more to many great shows and actors get over looked. Mindy, Amy etc.

  25. emmie_a says:

    LOVE her!!! I was just watching her at PaleyFest and I had already loved her but after seeing that video I love her even more. I wish we were friends!

  26. umyeah says:

    Mindy rocks. Love her, her writing, her show, and hope she sticks around for a long time. She deserves it.

  27. Algernon says:

    I loved Mindy on The Office, and I enjoyed her book and I love to read/see interviews with her because she comes off so well and is so likeable and funny. Yet none of that translates to her show. I wish they would scrap this concept and try something completely different. It’s called “The Mindy Project”, not “The Dr. L Show”. I think it could be cool, and maybe good for future television, if she just said, “This isn’t working. We’re starting over. It’ll be something else when you tune back in.”

  28. zaza says:

    I love Mindy, and I hope more and more non-skinny women like her, Melissa McCarthy, Lena Dunham, etc keep making amazing stuff without compromising on their size.

    That said, TMP has a lot of rough edges. The jokes are awesome, the actors are among the best in comedy doing tv right now, but it’s lacking heart. There’s no cohesive reason to care about any of the characters (particularly Mindy) or invest in them. That’s fine for Seinfeld, 30 Rock, and other shows like that but TMP is written in a way where she clearly wants you to care.

    Hopefully she and her writers will figure that out – because it really does have a ton of potential.

  29. bettyrose says:

    I’m not familiar with her work but she makes some really good points here. Also, she’s adorable but I don’t mean that in a patronizing way. I have a special fondness for petite, curvy funny/outspoken women. I mean, doesn’t everyone? ?

  30. I Choose Me says:

    I’ve never checked out the show but I’m going to have to do that. Love what she had to say.

  31. hiddlesgirl85 says:

    Mindy Kaling is awesome! She is intelligent, witty, charming, confident and pretty. Her show is super funny and refreshing. I love that her character is real. It is great to see a female lead that is authentic and unafraid to be unlikable (which I guess is a complete about her character from some viewers). I understand that character and a lot of the things she does (except in her romantic relationships), I have done, so I understand that character so well. The show is well written, the characters are interesting, and the actors have superb chemistry. My entire family watches her show every Tuesday and we laugh from nonstop throughout each episode.

    Here is a link to an article from the Atlantic Wire that discusses the “unlikeable[ness]” of Mindy’s character on her show: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/09/mindy-on-i-the-mindy-project-i-needs-to-stay-unlikable-for-the-good-of-tv/278832/

  32. Melissa says:

    She is so great, such a talented writer as well.

  33. diva says:

    Love that quote on her confidence! That’s how it feels in this world sometimes, if you aren’t a white male or a cookie cutter blonde women then you aren’t important.

  34. Lux says:

    Love Mindy. I agree that the premiere of New Girl was not very good, but I vastly prefer NG over TMP. I gave up on TMP a few episodes in…I found it grating and boring despite having a very strong start.

    I think she is a wonderful comedian and a very smart person, and I wish her all the best. I just can’t get behind TMP :/

  35. Original Me says:

    Can someone ask her why she’s not funny?
    Sorry, I just don’t think she’s funny.

  36. dj says:

    I love Mindy! I love her show too. It is so great to see a woman who is a confident and professional be so goofy in her “personal” life. It’s like this is what women are really like. Oh, I love, love Danny & Morgan too. I don’t get the Mindy hate, at all.

  37. Jess says:

    I love Mindy so much. I officially have a girl crush triumvirate: Mindy, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. And I love that she’s so confident. Meanwhile, I love her show so much and feel like I’m a little like her character (I even have my own Danny in my office)!

  38. ohiogirl says:

    In my opinion, she is pretty/sexy enough to do those gross mens magazines but she’s been smart enough not to so far. I thoroughly enjoy her show. I love the girly escapism it allows me.

  39. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I love Mindy and love the show. I think she’s such an intelligent, admirable person. I also like the blog about her clothes on the show and where you can buy them.
    I tried to like New Girl but found it to be a lot of burping and other bodily function humor, which is not appealing or funny to me since about 6th grade.

  40. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Good interview, but here’s the thing: where in the hell is the woman who wrote some of the best episodes of The Office? Also, no amount of guilt-tripping will turn me on to a show that I tried and didn’t end up liking (save the pilot), dissertation or not. I couldn’t care less about Cumby or Hiddles, or whoever, that’s just how some things go.

  41. Calabar says:

    i Love mindy. I love her effortless comedy, she is so funny and it comes off so natural. Am with you, how can you nominate laura dern and not mindy. Laura dern is not that funny.

  42. Nikki says:

    I LOVE Mindy and The Mindy Project. It’s the funniest show on TV.