So like all normal people, I believe Mindy Kaling is awe. some. I laugh so hard that I can’t breathe when I watch her show and I think she is a perfect role model for my kids, teenagers, women, men, babies, humans, aliens, just anyone/thing really. So what would I tell my kids about all the reasons everyone should love her?
Well, it took me approximately 8.7 years to write this and I am now full of regret because I’ve limited myself to a Top Ten list about her. I know I’m setting myself up for failure here but if I hadn’t limited myself to a few top reasons to love her, I would have still been writing. I hope my children can forgive me for all the awesomeness I had to leave off the list and just embrace what I’ve included. So here are the Top Ten Reasons (for my kids) To Love Mindy Kaling:
- She’s South Asian
So Mindy herself, rightly, refuses to limit herself to being the funniest Asian comedienne because she’s funnier than funny people of all races. But I want my children to have positive Asian role models and Mindy is absolutely at the top of that list. She is normalizing South Asian success in the entertainment industry and because of her, my children won’t think twice about seeing an Asian play the lead in a top-rated sitcom. While a lot of times this position as one of the first successful South Asians on TV is her burden to bear (seriously people, you’re going to try and pin a lack of minority roles on TV on her?), she is absolutely a trailblazer for others.
- She Says What The Rest Of Us Are Thinking (And It’s Like A Life Lesson)
Have you ever read anything by Mindy Kaling? Something as simple as a tweet just makes you feel like she could be you and vice versa. She’s not afraid to admit that some things don’t change, even if you’re a celeb (a bad playlist at a party perhaps or pestering someone you have a crush on until they die). I love that. It makes her even more relatable and real, allowing us to see celebrities we admire as similar to us and not some god-like, flawless creatures (although I will concede that I only rarely write top 10 lists of things I love about my friends). That’s not to say she’s some overly flawed human, but merely to highlight that she admits that, like everybody else in the world, she’s a work in progress. My kids will be bombarded with all sorts of messages from the entertainment industry, and Mindy Kaling’s willingness to share both her ‘work’ and her ‘progress’ with the world is a great message for young people to receive.
- She’s Happy And Positive And Optimistic
Ok so her life is pretty cool but she completely admits it. Her celebrity is not this burden that she’s unable to handle. She’s not one of those whiney celebs that complains about how awful the paparazzi and the fame and whatever else is, while they rake in millions. She projects an image of someone who’s so grateful for her success and her fans. I want my kids to know this because if you work hard and achieve your dream, you should be grateful for that, even if it comes with some warts. Very little in life is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be grateful for and happy about it.
- She’s Into Her Family
In her book, she talks fondly and lovingly about her family. Her show draws upon her family life too and it’s clearly a strong and consistent influence in her life. Obviously, this something I want to impress upon my kids because I want them to be into their family too.
- She’s Humble
Every time she makes a public appearance or is on a show, she is just so darn cute when she’s complimented for being smart or funny or talented. It is so endearing and just seems to speak volumes about her personality and her approach to her work. If anyone should be an egomaniacal ahole, it should be her but she’s so gracious whenever she’s complimented.
- The Mindy Project – It’s Just Too Much
Why, why, why is it so funny and so witty and so quick and so sharp? How does she write, produce, and star in it? Why is the cast so great and why and how do they all work so well together? Granted, I’ll wait until my kids are a little older to let them watch it, but still, every episode is like Christmas come early! I could do an entire blog post on just this, but I’ll move on.
- Her Dress Sense
So forget the fact that she ‘embraces her body’ (her body is fine, get over it) I LOVE her dress sense and will tell my kids about it because she is so styling without being gross (again this could be a post on it’s own. In fact, I feel it needs to be). She can be fun, flirty, sexy, chic, suited and booted, whatever and she’s never slutty. Again, that is great role model material for growing children and grownups! For my boys, it shows them that women can be beautiful without being naked all the time and for my nieces (and if I ever have girls of my own) it shows that a) polka dots are appropriate at any age and b) you can be sexy and have fabric on. You can be appealing while still wearing clothes; what a novel idea!
- She Refuses To Put Limits On Herself As A Woman (Or An Ethnic Minority)
Mindy is constantly asked questions about her success as a female or her trailblazing ways and her responses are great. She calls people out about why they would ask her a certain question but not her male peers.
“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?’”
Or like at SXSW when she stood up to the idiots trying to pin all the world’s problems on her. I’m sure Mindy is a little tired of hearing her speech repeated but it bears mentioning.
“I have four series regulars that are women on my show, and no one asks any of the shows I adore — and I won’t name them because they’re my friends — why no leads on their shows are women of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things.”
Good for her for defending herself. Just another reason for me and my kids to love her!
- She Doesn’t Put Others Down To Be Funny
So obviously her sense of humor is unrivaled but one of the things that makes her so funny is that she’s not nasty to others to be funny. Some comedians, while funny, really kind of make you want to not be alive because their humor is hurtful or degrading. Mindy, on the other hand, uses the perfect combination of wit, oddball antics, self-deprecation, and slapstick humor to keep her audience chuckling constantly. This is definitely one of her most appealing qualities and really speaks to her talent as a writer and actress. It’s possible to be loveable and hilarious at the same time.
- She’s Smart
And I don’t just mean because she picked a dream, stuck with it, and made it work. She is smart-smart. She did well in high school, went to Dartmouth (hello genius), and worked her bum off while at university to be involved in numerous writing and improv groups. Her hard work earned her an internship with Conan O’Brien. She was only 24 when she joined the writing staff of The Office and quickly proved both her on and off screen talents there. I will tell my kids that Mindy Kaling is clever because she was born gifted but what makes her so smart is that she always worked hard regardless of her talents. That’s a lesson we can all learn.
Oh my, this list is over and now I’m sad. I’d like to write it all over again with 10 new things. Maybe that’s what this blog can be. I just reinvent this list once a week and read it to my children. Surely that’s a form a parenting too? There are just so many reasons for my kids to love Mindy Kaling!