Mindy Kaling: ‘White guys were the ones who hit on me, Indian men didn’t’

Late Night Premiere

Here are some photos of Mindy Kaling at the premiere event for her movie Late Night, which she wrote and stars in, alongside Emma Thompson. Mindy wore Valentino, and I wish this was a full-length gown rather than a cocktail dress, honestly. But she looks fine and I too enjoy the “fitted bodice with a sparkly/sheer overlay” look. Mindy happily posed with her costars, and with her BFF BJ Novak (ugh), who was there to support her. Mindy has been doing a lot to promote Late Night, and Vanity Fair finally noticed. VF gave Mindy a long interview and write-up about her career and just how groundbreaking she’s been as a writer/actress/lead/producer. You can read the full piece here.

Being an Indian-American pioneer: “I used to think it was more unfair, but now I realize it’s just what my job is. We are supposed to be and enjoy being the pioneers.” “We” means Kaling and her friend Ava DuVernay, whom she met through playing Mrs. Who in DuVernay’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Kaling has been inspired by DuVernay’s work in supporting other black creators. Kaling also worries that things haven’t changed as much as we want to think. “In terms of directors, we still haven’t seen that diversity,” she says. Furthermore, “I doubt anyone asks white men what they are doing for diversity on-screen.”

On the criticisms that she only cast white guys as her love interests: Kaling says she has grappled with these criticisms, and, looking back, says she might have cast those roles differently. But at the time these story lines simply felt true to her own experiences—“White guys were the ones who hit on me, Indian men didn’t.”

Her love of rom-coms: “I never saw myself in these movies, a chubby, nerdy Indian girl getting the guy at the end. They were a sort of wish fulfillment…. Not everyone who finds love is, like, a size six. They exist, you just don’t see it on TV.”

What happened when she was chosen as one of People’s Most Beautiful in 2011: They didn’t have a dress for her at the shoot. “I went to the bathroom and just cried,” she says. “It was just seen as this impossible thing to dress a woman who’s a size eight.” Today, Kaling demands better. An avid fashion junkie, if she walks into a shoot and they don’t have her size, she walks out. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to do the shoot. It’s not helping me that much.’”

On being a single mother: She also isn’t interested in the questions surrounding her choices in motherhood. Kaling is currently raising her daughter as a single mother. There has been much speculation about who the father of the baby might be, whether she used donor sperm, etc.—the sort of prying that is not really anybody’s business. She explains that she wants to talk to her daughter about these things first, before she tells anyone else.

On vacations: “I can’t just go to a beach resort and lie there, because I need stimulation too much. It doesn’t have to be work stimulation, but I can’t be still, I can’t be alone with my thoughts.”

[From Vanity Fair]

“I doubt anyone asks white men what they are doing for diversity on-screen…” This is so true, and Mindy always says it – it’s not enough that she’s breaking new ground as an Indian-American woman – a comedy writer, producer and actress – who develops her own sh-t and creates, but she’s held to the standard of “why aren’t you doing this and this and this for other people?” And white men in her position aren’t asked that. They just aren’t. Look no further than that Seth Rogen GQ interview, where GQ made him sound like a genius for producing a million comedies starring white bros, and there was no conversation about race or diversity. Also, I love what she says about rom-coms and wish fulfillment and representing different kinds of people who fall in love.

Late Night Premiere

Photos courtesy of Backgrid and WENN.

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28 Responses to “Mindy Kaling: ‘White guys were the ones who hit on me, Indian men didn’t’”

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  1. Meg says:

    I really love her. Both of her books I highly recommend, the second one I was laughing throughout an entire chapter while reading it in a coffee shop-got a few looks from people. Lol
    She spoke about focus groups with people referring to her as that woman who’s so in love with herself and she said it’s not that she can’t admit when she makes mistakes or does things that don’t work sometimes it’s just that she doesn’t beat herself up for those things and so many people seem uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves.
    When her TV show was on she’d get comments on social media about her character who was also a single mother on why she wasn’t constantly with her kid. She responded, my fictional child is with all the other fictional children on male sitcoms no one ever asks about.
    Even to a fictional character people were mommy shaming
    I too can relate to only certain demographics of men approaching me as well. The only white guys I’ve been on dates with I’ve approached, they never approach me

    • elimaeby says:

      I agree on the dating demographics, as well. I’m a white woman living in a very diverse city (Chicago) and I NEVER get asked out by/date white men. My roommate asked when I first moved in if I didn’t like white guys. I gave the same explanation: that’s not who asks me out.

  2. Tiffany27 says:

    She grates my nerves for some reason, but I feel her when she says only a certain male demographic approaches her. It’s the same for me.

  3. BANANIE says:

    I think Mindy is hilarious and I love all of her work that I’ve seen. I admit I didn’t go see A Wrinkle in Time because the visuals I saw in the trailer just didn’t work with how childhood me imagined they would look (not that I expect Hollywood to cater to that hahah).

    I will probably get in trouble for this, but I’ve noticed that actresses who are not classically “thin” or “small” default to say they are a size 6 or a size 8 generally (like Bebe rexha I think, maybe I’m wrong) when they often look they are several sizes up from 6 or 8. I could 100% be wrong. But it feels to me like they’re thinking oh I can speak out as someone on the outside but they still feel like they can’t go *too* far with it because they must still be seen as closer to traditionally desirable or whatever.

    • EM says:

      I’m as curvy as Mindy and I’m a size 18. But I’m also way taller than she is, and height totally changes sizing. Sizing is just weird and I try to be open minded when people state their size, because you just don’t know.

    • Mel M says:

      She may have been an 8 at one point when she was on The Office but yeah I don’t think she has been for a few years and for me it doesn’t matter but I’m not in the industry. I couldn’t care less what size she is and hate that she even feels the need to tell her size. I don’t think I’ve ever read a dude giving his pant size.

      I also hate that she messed with her face so much. I watch The Office pretty much every time I fold clothes and with four kids I’m folding a lot. She had such a cute face before.

      • Zwella Indrid says:

        This bothered me too. I doubt she is an 8 now, but your height does alter how you carry your weight. I would guess her at a size 16 or 18 to be honest. However, I don’t care what size she is, I love her. I would love it even more if she didn’t feel the need to talk about her size at all, but I get that she was making a point about how jacked up Hollywood is, upholding impossible, unrealistic female “ideals”. Also, I agree with Mel M. She was much prettier in the office before she jacked up her face. Such a shame. Plastic surgery is such an iffy thing. How many people actually look better after having it? Not that many.

    • Jb says:

      It’s fair to comment that because she’s the one who put it out there. She doesn’t appear to be anywhere near a size 8 and though I understand clarifying that not all actresses are a size 6 but then to put out a number as her size seems like she missed her own point?! She puts out this message of self love and acceptance but she’s done so much to her face and hasn’t come to terms to being a large than usual Hollywood woman that it all seems like a lie we’re supposed to believe

      • Catarina says:

        Yes, it’s not a big thing for me, but for her to persistently feel the compulsion to lie about being a size 8 (she looks much closer to an 18, in this pic) adds to my overall dislike of her. If she’s so self accepting and self promoting of her physical body, why does she so obviously loathe the way she looks? She just appears stuck and sad and rigid in her skin. To be fair, though, since I find her quite unfortunate looking, I don’t think that many men—either white or Indian, men of any ethnicity—pursue her romantically/sexually at all. Now that she’s famous, she still looks like herself, and so her whole schtick of true self esteem ((among the “beautiful people”) must have, very understandably, plummeted her self esteem even lower. She looks slightly wistful and misplaced among photos like this, and among other Hollywood actors…Lying overtly about her very clear clothing size only makes her, if not a figure of a mockery, then one of disdain. I feel sorry for her, but I kind of don’t like her either. (That is, I dislike her persona–of course I don’t know her.)

    • Georgie Girl says:

      I saw towards the end of last year and she was much smaller than I imagined. Maybe a UK size 14 (so US 10?) or even a 16 at a push. I think she’d just finished filming though, so she might’ve been at her ‘movie weight’ then and slightly bigger now. Who knows!

    • Wendy says:

      LOL, the commenter who says 16/18 is adorable. I’m a 16/18, and I’m 5 inches taller than Mindy Kaling (and easily 100 pounds heavier). I’d put her, absolute maximum, at a size 12 — she’s the same height as Beanie Feldstein, who wears a 12 but actually looks a little thicker than Mindy, so maybe Mindy is a 10/12.

      Also, y’all… context is important. She’s talking about having been a size 8 in 2011, when she was being dressed for a People mag shoot.

  4. Des says:

    As an Indian woman myself, I 100% believe her about Indian men.

    • Angry Bird says:

      co-signed. there is a prevailing contemptuous attitude (see Aziz Ansari) that indian men have towards indian women. there was an amazing article (maybe one or two years ago?), which of course i cannot find, written about this “phenomenon” around when Master of None came out.

      Edit 1: https://qz.com/india/1016554/aziz-ansari-hasan-minhaj-kumail-nanjiani-brown-actors-have-reduced-brown-women-to-a-punchline/

      • BlueSky says:

        As a black woman I totally relate to this too. I live in an area where the black guys are looking to hook up with white women. I remember being surprised the first time I went to Atlanta and having Black guys stare and speak to me. It’s sad but I wasn’t used to that.
        I also remember years ago being on a dating website and a majority of the men who were interested were white.

    • A says:

      Came here JUST to say this. Totally believe her on the way Indian men treat Indian women. Like, there’s an element to it where they almost see us as something to settle for, whereas you aspire for the attention of white women. It’s…eugh. But even when it’s white men, they’re often interested in you for the entirely wrong reasons. It’s like you can’t win.

      • Angry Bird says:

        100% you articulated the situation 100%
        I want to talk about the privilege too (“my parents brought this indian chick for me to meet…ugh”) and the hypocrisy of it all because he’s VERY LIKELY NO PRIZE, yet somehow he feels entitled to pass judgement. The entitlement, too.
        AGH. I want to get into this topic but I know that my blood pressure will spike and I will hit the f*cking roof if I get into it before bedtime.

        I wish I could commiserate with y’all IRL.

  5. Chimney says:

    BJ Novak is starting to look his age, he’s had a boyish face for years.

    I have to agree with Mindy about the dating point. You can’t please everyone so you might as well please yourself. If white men were the only ones interested then she should write what she knows. She’s been responding to this point in interviews for years now and it’s ridiculous. Men rarely get this kind of heat when they cast love interests of other races.

  6. Bella Bella says:

    I love Mindy and am happy for all her success! May she go on to make many more projects.

  7. Ummmm says:

    I love Mindy but she’s definitely not a size 8.

  8. Alexis says:

    She’s got a right to her preferences. Men of color in Hollywood, including pioneers (I’m looking at you Aziz Ansari), are allowed to prefer white women as on and off screen partners without needing to explain themselves. I am not questioning what her experiences have been, but all the same, I don’t see why she has to make it about who approaches her to be more “sympathetic.”

  9. Mindy_dopple says:

    I love that she said that. I’ve had conversations about minorities not doing ENOUGH or the right things to help champion their people. My friend said if Beyoncé really wanted to help out her community and highlight HBCU’s then she should have opened up a school or spend all those millions in scholarships. It’s not good enough that she put on a piece of art that everyone looks over. It’s not enough that she employed hundreds of POC musicians and dancers. It’s not enough that she gave them a higher platform and visibility that they’ll be able to take forward.

    I mentioned Ali Wong’s “Always be my Maybe” to my fiancé and he immediate reminded me that he just doesn’t connect with Asian movies because he assimilated so hard as a kid (he’s first gen Filipino). He said that because there is more than on lead Asian actor in the trailer. It automatically became an Asian movie in his mind. This is the mind set women minority creators have to face. Do they cast white/popular men to gain access to another demographic that would otherwise pass them over? Maybe. Is that fine because they’re still pioneers? Yes! They’re enough as they are. Women don’t have to be all things to everyone.


  10. SuperStef says:

    Love her, The Mindy Project was briliant and I enjoyed both her books.

    I think it’s cool that she’s kept private about her baby’s daddy, who I honestly think is BJ Novak…

    • K-Peace says:

      I too think the father might be BJ. I remember reading an article in US Weekly several months ago about BJ being out with Mindy & her daughter and it said that BJ was carrying the baby and kept cuddling & kissing her.

    • Yup, Me says:

      I suspect he could be, too, but I hope he isn’t. 1- he’s not donor cute. If you’re going to ask someone to help you make your baby, why not go for it and really make your designer baby? And 2 – they have such an entangled history that it could REALLY complicate things to have this added layer.

      I do appreciate, though, that Mindy has decided that she wants to talk to her daughter about her own creation story before putting her business in the streets for a bunch of judgmental internet randos (like me).

  11. Loca says:

    She is also guilty of not casting different people…all she is doing is pointing the finger the other way.

  12. Tara says:

    I love her, she’s bright, beautiful and a trailblazer. But..I cannot with her lips. She tweaked them too much in the past couple of years

  13. becoo says:

    I definitely get that we POC get the diversity question more. But just because she’s not single-handedly responsible for promoting diversity doesn’t mean she can get off the hook by saying she’s just writing/casting based on her own experiences.

    Isn’t this often the same excuse white people of influence in Hollywood use to justify non-diverse casting? “I write/cast based on my experiences…” Truly increasing representation calls for those who do have a seat at the table, like her, to move beyond those individual experiences by at the very least surrounding themselves with people who can help them shed light on people and experiences that are other to them.

    That said, I do appreciate that she acknowledged she hasn’t cast in the most diverse way in the past. I hope that when she said she “has been inspired by DuVernay’s work in supporting other black creators,” that she meant it.