Let’s Take a Moment to Appreciate Mindy Kaling — the Writer, Producer, Actor and Activist.
We just really need to take a second to appreciate all things Mindy Kaling.
As if we needed more reasons to love Mindy Kaling. From her Netflix show to her new flick with Priyanka Chopra, she’s the definition of pure #browngirlmagic.
Kaling’s been adored by many since her incomparable portrayals of Kelly Kapoor in The Office, and Mindy Lahiri in The Mindy Project. But, it wasn’t until more recently when Kaling starred in feature films like Oceans 8, that more and more people began to fall in love with the comedic gem. And while fans have always loved Kaling for her comedy writing and performances, it is important to note that Kaling is also intending to fill blank spaces revolving around representation and diversity in mainstream media. In March, Kaling made headlines when she announced her brand new Netflix show about a modern-day first generation Indian American teenage girl. In an interview with Variety, she described how the series came to be. “Netflix approached me about doing a series on young Mindy,” she said. “I wasn’t as interested in telling a period piece about an Indian girl growing up in the ’80s, but I told them I’d love to do a show about a 15 year old Indian girl now.” The 10 episode series of the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy will be co-created by Kaling and Lang Fisher, with Fisher also set to serve as show-runner. One of the most recen developments around Kaling and Fisher’s new Netflix show is the open casting call Kaling blasted out on Twitter.
“ATTENTION DESI LADIES! I’m holding OPEN casting calls for leads in my new @netflix show! I’m THRILLED to have the opportunity to do this,” Kaling tweeted on Thursday. “The parts are so juicy and funny, and I’m SO excited to meet you! Full info is here! GOOD LUCK!”
Kaling and Fisher are looking to fill three main roles for the 10-episode series:
• Role of 15-18 year old South Asian American female
• Role of South Asian American female, mid 40s with Indian accent
• Role of South Asian American female, mid 20s with Indian accent
Kaling is creating opportunities to actors of colour and for real people.
Apart from her newest Netflix venture, Kaling is about to strike gold in the film industry, and on multiple occasions no less. Late Night, which hits theatres June 7th, is a comedy about a diversity hire in the writers’ room of a late-night talk show. Kaling wrote, produced and stars in the film, alongside Emma Thompson. Think of it as The Devil Wears Prada meets The Mindy Project. Thompson portrays the character of Katherine Newbury, a late-night talk show host who’s battling both bad ratings and accusations that she’s a “woman who hates women.” In an effort to save her show, Katherine taps Kaling’s character Molly as a diversity hire to break up the monotony of her otherwise all-male writing staff. Late Night made headlines when Amazon bought it after its premiere at Sundance Film Festival for a whopping $13 million. It is one of the largest pacts in Sundance history, falling short of the $17.5 million pact that Fox Searchlight made for The Birth of a Nation. In another interview with Variety, it was noted that Late Night is more than just a comedy, “it’s also a deeply personal reflection on the Indian-American Kaling’s own barrier-breaking rise in an industry dominated by white men.” On The Office, Kaling’s first major gig, she was the only female writer of colour, and it seems as if since then, Kaling has utilized her power and platform to hire a diverse cast and crew in every other major project she’s been a part of.
Another major film Kaling will be part of is the wedding comedy that Universal Pictures is developing after winning an auction for a pitch (beating out Sony and Netflix) by Kaling, Priyanka Chopra and Dan Goor. If Mindy Kaling and Priyanka Chopra aren’t the definition of ‘a dream team,’ we don’t know what is. Details of the pitch are being kept under wraps other than the fact that it revolves around a big wedding in India, there are culture clashes, and it’s being described as Crazy Rich Asians meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Going off the wedding theme, Kaling is also spearheading a Hulu remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Throughout the successes of her career, Kaling is also raising her daughter, Katherine. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she got real about how motherhood has shaped her approach to activism. “When you have a kid, I realize how much easier her life is because of my disposable income and I have one child — [whereas] in the developing world, people have more than one — and how simple and happy my life is with her because every single one of her needs is met,” the multi-hyphenate tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The one downside about having a child that you love is you give birth and you start to empathize more with children around the world. But it’s good because it’s made me more charitable.” Most recently, Kaling has lent her support to the “Pour it Forward” campaign by Stella Artois and Water.org, co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White. “I’m Indian, and to think of the millions of babies who look exactly like my daughter, who don’t have the same advantages that she does, it is very chilling to me and it’s very personal to me now that I see her face every single morning,”
Mindy Kaling is doing it all. And we couldn’t be prouder.