Dear Mindy Kaling,
We salute you.
That “we” is women like myself. Women from cultural backgrounds generally deemed “Other” here in the United States: Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, East African, etc. You’re one of few faces from our ragtag crew who’s not only mainstream accepted, you’re authentic, unapologetic and simply, brave.
You’ve managed to rise to the top of your field by being yourself, no easy feat in an era where everyone’s physical appearance is digitally (and surgery) enhanced complete with easily-bought souls. Plus you’ve done it with humor. During a text message session with InStyle‘s editorial director Ariel Foxman (who wrote your history-making current June cover story) he made mention that you’re “the first Indian-American Woman on our cover” to which you replied, “And I insist on being the last.” How could we not love you?
You’re unafraid to voice critical objection when needed, too. During an episode of The Mindy Project (recently cancelled by Fox but hopefully will be picked up next by Hulu) you tackled the recent wave of “women can have it all” talk—no shade, Sheryl Sandberg.
“There was one joke that I’m surprised was not flagged,” you tell InStyle in your cover feature. “The character Danny doesn’t want Mindy to go back to San Francisco to start a fertility clinic; he wants her to stay in New York, stop working, and take care of their family … She’s like, ‘It’s the 20th century, Danny. A woman can work and have a baby with no problem. I mean, rich women can.’
“It was such a risky joke, but I find it utterly true. The only people writing those articles [about having it all] are women who are doing very well or come from money. But we make it sound like it’s a totally universal thing.” Amen, girl.
InStyle‘s June 2015 issue is available in print and for download today.