635685174558718456-Why-Not-Me-FinalBefore her character on The Mindy Project even declared, “Its hard being my own role model” or that her Spirit Warrior is named, “Beyoncé Pad Thai,” I was a huge Mindy Kaling fan. For starters, her involvement on The Office is highly undervalued. Sure, she played the crazy fun Kelly Kapoor. But did you know she co-wrote the Niagara episode? People, that’s the stuff of American television legends.

I know a few people who do not like Mindy Kaling. They complain about her voice being too high pitched (is that a reason to not like people now?) or that her humor is too bawdy (these people are talking to me, mind you). And if you count yourself among the 3 people I know who aren’t Mindy fans, then stop reading my article and think about adding #hater to your CV, because you are totally missing out. Mindy Kaling is the BIZNESS. And she’s not going anywhere.

I think too much of the Mindy conversation is about her weight. There are plenty of people out there that want to delve into Mindy Kaling being a beautiful actress (for being so curvy!) and an outrageously funny actress (and not super skinny!); I’m over that conversation. Mindy Kaling is a brilliant writer and a born rule breaker and that’s why we love her. In her latest book, Why Not Me?, Mindy just keeps holding up the little laws of life and laughing at them over and over again. Nothing the world finds sacred ever really is:

Not sororities: “But it took me twelve weeks to realize that I don’t’ really like organizations where people are ‘deemed’ things.”

Not juice cleanses: “I lost my mind. I lunged at him and inhaled all of his fries standing up a foot away from the trash can. No food is as delicious as food you eat standing a foot away from the trash can. Ask any possum.

Not even Hollywood glamour:

That’s why when actresses are asked in interviews about their obvious, face-altering plastic surgery, they say things like “Oh, I would never get any work done. Then how do I look like this? I’m just getting a lot of rest, meditation, and staying hydrated.” One of the great things about women’s magazines is that they accept that drinking water and sitting quietly will make your breasts huge and lips plump up to the size of two bratwursts.

But of course, you cannot stand on the sidelines of life confidently yelling jokes at everyone’s “most important things” without getting some pushback. Kaling herself admits, “The truth is, it’s hard to get people to like you, but it’s even harder to keep people liking you.” And so I think Kaling has given up on that whole exercise beautifully:


People’s reaction to me is sometimes ‘Ugh, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.’ But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.

Actresses are supposed to be thin and white. Especially if they are funny. Women are supposed to dislike at least 80% of what they look like and apologize for the other 20% that they don’t find radically offensive. And all of these little laws of the world are made to be unexamined and sacrosanct.

But that’s the mad genius of Mindy Kaling. She runs screaming across whatever lines in the sand we’ve ridiculously drawn and looks up only to tell us that the rules we’ve made are so ludicrous, so outrageous, that she will turn them into jokes that almost everyone thinks are funny. I certainly do.