Mindy Kaling hates vacationing, has no hobbies & all she does is work constantly

Gwyneth Paltrow at the Grand opening of the JVP International Cyber Center

Mindy Kaling is 41 years old (42 in June) and I doubt even she believed that this era of her life would be her busiest. That’s what happens when everyone second-guesses your place in the industry and you just start writing and producing your own stuff: suddenly, you’re everywhere and doing everything. That’s what Mindy’s Variety cover story is about. She’s one of Variety’s “Women in Comedy” covers, and the focus is very much on the wide variety of projects she acts in, writes and produces. She’s the executive producer on The Sex Lives of College Girls and Never Have I Ever. She’s co-writing Legally Blonde 3 and a Priyanka Chopra rom-com. She’s about to produce a Scooby Doo spinoff series, she writes memoirs/comedy books, and she’s also still in-demand as a for-hire actress and voice actress. On top of all that, she’s a mom of two young children. You can read her Variety piece here. Some highlights:

Her production company: At the moment, her Kaling International is but a small company of women, as she describes it, with former Hulu development executive Jessica Kumai Scott as president plus a couple of assistants and three shows in production. But the actor-writer-producer has visions of expansion. “There’s so many great production companies out there that have all these shows in the air. So they need a head of production, and they have lots of executives. That’s my dream, to get a lot of people eventually.”

Why she feels the need to be so hands-on: “I do think that my voice is so specific, and the things I like are so specific. So right at the beginning, I want to make sure that there’s something really common to all of them.”

She loves to work: She doesn’t like vacationing, she has no hobbies and her daily schedule is intense. “First I’ll wake up, drop my kid off at school, come back, work on one of two features,” she says. Kaling and Goor alternate days, penning “Legally Blonde 3” on Mondays, the wedding comedy on Tuesdays, and so on. “In the early afternoon, after Dan and I work on features, I turn over to looking at an episode that we’re about to shoot for ‘College Girls,’ giving notes on it, popping into the writers’ room on that. Then I’ll turn over to post and start editing on one of the two different shows.”

She also stays up late to work: “Sometimes if I’m up late anyway with my baby, I will spend two to three hours editing on my computer, just sending notes.”

She’s still calibrating how to be a good boss: “I sign off on every writer on every single one of my shows, but I trust [Scott] to cull down the list of like, 200 writers to 20, which is something I never would have done three years ago. I would [have been] in there reading every single script. … I’m not able to do all of it anymore. A big part of my managerial style has been really emboldening and empowering the people who work for my company to make their own creative decisions.”

She also makes time to speak to the youths: “One of my big responsibilities is speaking to other people who have questions about how to get here, particularly young women and women of color. I think I’ve learned in the past six or seven years that this job is only as enjoyable as I’m able to impart wisdom on younger people. I don’t want to be that person that is keeping this knowledge to myself. And I’ve learned so much, I think, the hard way.”

[From Variety]

She’s said before that she didn’t enjoy the pandemic because she was just working from home full-time, but it sort of sounds like she does that anyway? I’m sure her production office is an actual office, but she is running everything anyway, from wherever she is. I also appreciate that she’s very much the typical immigrants’ daughter with that work ethic. We really don’t know what to do with ourselves if we go on vacation or have “time off.”

Mindy & the Never Have I Ever stars & creators also did a live table read over two weekends ago to benefit GiveIndia, in support of India’s Covid-19 relief. John McEnroe made a special appearance! He narrates the series and he’s great at it.

Cover and IG courtesy of Variety.

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14 Responses to “Mindy Kaling hates vacationing, has no hobbies & all she does is work constantly”

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  1. ItReallyIsYou,NotMe k8 says:

    I didn’t know about any of these projects but I love Mindy Kaling so I am going to check them out. I loved her book “Is everyone hanging out without me.”

    Also, when I read the title of this article I laughed to myself that I didn’t realize that I had married Mindy Kaling. My husband is also an immigrant with an intense work ethic. His family were refugees from the Vietnam war and almost didn’t make it out so that adds an extra layer of drive to succeed.

  2. dina says:

    I love Mindy! She is so wonderful.

  3. mariahlee says:

    she’s so talented. i love her success.

  4. STRIPE says:

    I just…cannot relate to wanting to work all the time lol but I guess if you really, truly love you work, it doesn’t feel like “work” so good for her!

  5. teecee says:

    She does have hobbies. She likes to shop – remember she used to have that shopping blog? – and she’s fond of fashion*. They’re not “socially acceptable” hobbies, so that’s why she doesn’t mention them in industry publications like Variety. She reads literary fiction, too, because I can recall her commenting about how much she liked Franzen, but perhaps she thinks that’s too related to her work as a writer to count.

    *I bet if she were thinner, she’d be more beloved by fashion twitter.

    • North of Boston says:

      I think you might be on to something
      Wasn’t there a post here last week about how things that appeal to women are belittled or dismissed.

      I’m painting with broad brush strokes here, but imagine if women walked around every day cosplaying the people who excel at or are professionals in things they are interested in the way some adult men cosplay their favorite football, basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball players, NASCAR drivers (because what is wearing a sports jersey will some other person’s name, player number if not cosplay?)
      Stereotypical Men’s interests are typically viewed as normal and acceptable by society at large. If it appeals to women (or even less sporty men) it’s talked down, dismissed or viewed as weird.

      Though in her case maybe it’s just that she views fashion as an extension of work.

    • projectmindy says:

      Omg I loved her “things I’ve bought that I love” blog! I’ve never seen anyone else mention it. I recent searched for it and a lot of the posts are still online. It’s fun to read her voice as an up and coming writer now that she’s so famous.

  6. Mimi says:

    During the pandemic i watched Mindy project over as over and just started the office and I absolutely love her she’s so funny I’m so happy for her success 🙂

  7. Marie says:

    Mindy is in so many different tv ads right now. To which I say, get that money girl.

  8. projectmindy says:

    I love Mindy! She’s always been inspirational to me as a fellow dark skinned South Asian woman. I do see her all the time in Hello Fresh and other ads also. Shameless plug: I have podcast recapping The Mindy Project and Never Have I Ever called Project Mindy if anyone else is a super fan 😉

  9. lucy2 says:

    She’s becoming quite a powerhouse in terms of producing and writing, which is awesome, and I’m glad she’s out there for young girls to see as an example. I bet most people working at that level don’t have much time for hobbies, and she’s also a single mom to 2 young kids.

  10. LadySwampwitchGivsneauFux says:

    awesome show never have I ever. I love Mindy Kaling

  11. Meg says:

    She is a great example of not waiting and hoping others will see your talent and hire you, in other words letting others have all the power, she created opportunities for herself. She did that after college too, wrote and put on her own play with her friend.
    It would be easy to take the message of no ones hiring me as oh maybe people dont want to see me do this so maybe this isnt for me? But mindy produced her own stuff and let the audience speak for themselves. Such confidence and guts i love love that 😁

  12. Kittycat says:

    If she’s up late with her baby, she just uses the time to multitask and edit for a few hours? Haha, uh, no.