It’s time once again to get our squee on over our fave celebs! Now, this may be preaching to the choir here, but this lady is far too awesome to go un-swimfanned on FYA.
Fake Girlfriend Name: Vera Mindy Chokalingam
Name says: Classy and cute — just like Mindy herself! She’s always been one of those goes-by-her-middle-name people, and the last name truncation probably means less butchering of it. And it’s so fitting that the name she goes by was inspired by a TV show (of Mork and fame).
Date of Birth: June 24, 1979
Age says: Mindy’s formative teenage years were spent in the ’90s, so she can wax poetic on the Church Lady and Friends with the best of ’em. And it also means she has ADORABLE childhood photos from the ’80s.
The haircut! The glasses! The hearts! The gopher(?)! That face! I DIE.
Place of Birth: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Birthplace says: Colleges! Architecture! Matt Damon and Ben Affleck!* By all accounts from my five-minute Google search, Cambridge seems like a lovely quaint town to grow up in, and I can’t remember anything from Mindy’s memoir that suggested otherwise (or, at least, nothing super negative).
*This will become important later.
Educational Background: Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a PreK-12 private school; Bachelors of Playwriting from Dartmouth
Education says: Smarty pants! Mindy downplays the smartness of those pants (“I was a pretty good student […], but I was by no means the best in my class, or even near the top.”), but her alma maters are super prestigious.
BB&N has been a top-ranked private school in the greater Boston area, and rated as one of the best schools in the world for preparing students for American universities. Its alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and — perhaps the only person to best Mindy for importance to pop culture — the founder of Netflix. So BB&N, keep doing what y’all are doing.
Dartmouth, of course, is Dartmouth; the list of its alumni is as impressive as it is extensive. On the entertainment side, Mindy is among names like Connie Britton, Shonda Rhimes, and Meryl Freaking Streep**, i.e. ‘NUFF SAID (and omg someone please make that movie happen).
**Because I take my fangirling biographer duties v. seriously: Meryl actually went to Vassar and spent a term at Dartmouth as an exchange student, as one of the first women to attend the then all-male Dartmouth in 1970; Meryl would later receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Dartmouth in 1981. So if you’re ever a contestant on Jeopardy! and this is your clue, YOU’RE WELCOME.
Where You Have Seen Her
While still at Dartmouth, Mindy created a comic strip for the school’s newspaper called Badly Drawn Girl. Her Dartmouth ties were also crucial for her first big break, when she and Brenda Withers, her best friend from college, wrote and starred in Matt & Ben, a play about that Matt and Ben. Naturally, Mindy played Ben.
But obvs, it was her involvement with The Office as an actress and a writer that really caught Hollywood’s attention.
And CUTENESS ALERT: Kelly’s parents were played by Mindy’s actual parents in the episode “Diwali”.
The Office led to supporting roles for Mindy in movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin, License to Wed, No Strings Attached, The Five-Year Engagement, and This Is the End. Mindy also released the best-selling Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) — a memoir that I’ve bookmarked entire chapters from, so thank baby cheeses that she’s working on another one.
And last but so not least, there’s The Mindy Project. Inspired by Mindy’s OB/GYN mother, the show was picked up on the very day that Mindy’s mom passed away (cue waterworks). The Mindy Project is a swoony and endlessly quotable love letter to romantic comedies.
Where You’ll See Her Next
And tomorrow night, The Mindy Project finally returns from its winter hiatus! (EEEEK MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.) The show’s already been renewed for a third season (yay!), but y’all still need to WATCH IT, WATCH IT, WATCH IT. Even if you’ve yet to watch a single episode, catching up with a 38-episode marathon over a day is totally reasonable and doable, right? Right.
In addition to her next book, Mindy’s also working on a Pixar movie scheduled for next year, Inside Out, with Amy Poehler and Bill Hader, aka FAVE MOVIE ALREADY.
Why You’ll Adore Her
If her being a successful and hilarious writer/actress/human being isn’t enough for you, then direct your attention to Mindy’s impeccable fashion sense. Like, seriously — there’s an entire blog dedicated to her outfits. (She can even rock a Great Gazoo helmet and look good doing it!)
Mindy likes what she likes, and she doesn’t care who knows it.
On the subject of The Mindy Project: for real, y’all — this post could have easily just been Your New Favourite Show. Mindy just knows us (ok, me) SO WELL.
Speaking of imaginary husbands (for me): Mindy made this Danny Castellano moment possible, for which I’ll be forever grateful.
Speaking of imaginary husbands (for Mindy, as suggested by the internets): whatever she has going on with BJ Novak. They’re best friends and so cute together, but Twitter-stalking their convos will inevitably lead you down a Tumblr-esque spiral of shipping real-life people together.
While everything in this post so far has shown off Mindy’s fun side, I also love it when she gets serious. ‘Cause this lady? Gets REAL.
On guys being intimidated by women (#25, although the rest of ’em are pretty great, too):
I’m supposed to appear less successful than I am? Yeah, it’s total crap. Even if you were able to con somebody into not being intimidated by you, eventually your true self would emerge, who’s successful and self-sufficient, and then they would be turned off by it.
On being her show being a lightning rod for single-handedly bearing TV’s onus to have ALL TEH DIVERSITY:
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 or of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things. And I’ll answer them, I will. But I know what’s going on here. It is a little insulting because, I’m like, God, what can I—oh, I’m sitting in it. I have 75 percent of the lines on the show.
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?’
Not to say that Mindy doesn’t understand the significance of being ‘different’. But can it just not, like, be the ONLY thing anyone wants to talk to her about?
I’m not one of these people that’s like, ‘I didn’t get into this to be a role model.’ . . . We’re all role models to a certain extent. You have that responsibility to not do things or say things that you wouldn’t want to perpetuate. But at the same time it’s like I didn’t go into politics, I came out to Hollywood to write and act in earnest. I feel it’s a balance.
And while we’re at it, can everyone stop telling this smart, funny, and beautiful lady what she can’t do?
My biggest challenge is being frequently underestimated. Underestimated for not actually being truly funny, not actually being the lead or the credible love interest.
Or, you know what? Go ahead with those antiquated ‘rules’, because they can’t hold back Mindy’s awesomeness anyway.
…write your own part. It is the only way I’ve gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you.