Mindy Kaling - Neiman Marcus
Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Kristen Spaulding

June 24, 2015

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As we continue to celebrate bold women with bold voices, we turn the spotlight to actress, comedian and writer Mindy Kaling. After becoming a household name with the critically acclaimed television series The Office, Kaling has since turned her focus to writing and producing The Mindy Project, a romantic comedy television series on Hulu. We had a chance to catch up with Kaling at NM Beverly Hills where she shared the inspiration behind her creation and how being a woman has influenced her work as a comedy writer.

Mindy Kaling at NM Beverly Hills.
Mindy Kaling at NM Beverly Hills.

NM: Describe the inspiration behind The Mindy Project?
MK: Before The Mindy Project I was on a show called The Office. This is where I learned to write copy. The Mindy Project is almost a reaction to The Office. The shows are so different, besides both being comedies. The Mindy Project is a show about love and dating starring a single woman in her thirties living in Manhattan. It couldn’t be more different than the office in terms of set and subject matter, but I wanted to do something different and I love romance.

NM: The Mindy Project intelligently touches on work/life balance as well as image and gender issues. What is one cause that you feel is worth “Making Noise” about today?
MK: I think reproductive rights are so important, and obviously I think that most people would choose to agree with that. If you are a woman who is of means, living in Los Angeles, like I am, you are not someone who has to worry about your reproductive rights being injured or encroached upon. But if you are a 16-year-old girl who lives in an economically depressed area in the United States that’s not L.A., it is a plenty different story. My friend Lena Dunham is a big supporter of Planned Parenthood and so am I. That’s very important to me.

NM: Describe your character’s personal style.
MK: My character Mindy is a person who although isn’t a size zero, she’s not going to be told she can’t wear certain things. While she rarely talks about her clothing on the show, her clothes speak a language that evolves while you’re watching the story unfold. I think this is really fun and really aspirational for women watching it. Her style is very bold. Today I am wearing one of her costumes that Sal created for the show. I am a comedy writer, so I came to work wearing torn jeans, Adidas and a grey T-shirt. When I put this on I was like, “Oh, what a gift!” To be able to put this on and be in a real costume, not like so many other shows, this is an actual costume!

The Mindy Project's Mindy Kaling and costume designer Salvador Perez at NM Beverly Hills.
The Mindy Project’s Mindy Kaling and costume designer Salvador Perez at NM Beverly Hills.

NM: Describe your closet in three words.
MK: Messy, teeming and colorful.

NM: How much does being a woman influence your work?
MK: It’s hard to say. There are some aspects of my personality that are very straightforwardly traditionally “feminine,” but I also have aspects of my personality that are very traditionally “masculine.” I don’t know—it’s a great question. Overall, I think women tend to like romance, and I like writing about it.

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