From Kelly Kapoor to Mindy Lahiri: The Rise of the Mesmerizing Mindy Kaling

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Mindy Kaling

Starting her acting career as the sassy and bubbly Kelly Kapoor in ‘The Office’, Mindy Kaling entered the dreamy American TV not just as an actor on the screen but the only woman writer in the show’s writing team. Fast forward to two decades later, Kaling has become the most recognisable faces on American Television and has recently produced a semi-autobiographical web series, ‘Never Have I Ever’ featured on Netflix! She is also an accomplished author, comedian, producer and single mother! Kaling has had a prolific career in the entertainment industry and has dabbled in every role imaginable. Let us look at the rise of the funniest and the talented Indian-American woman in popular culture.

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Mindy Kaling
Courtesy: Pinterest

Early Life and Education

Courtesy: The New York Times

Mindy Kaling was born to Avu Chokalingam, an architect, and Swati Chokalingam, an ob-gyn in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1979. Kaling in several interviews has defined herself as the caricature of an average, nerdy kid in school; she studied at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School. Her high school was a little painful for the actress but it also gave her a chance to explore her true passions: writing and comedy. Kaling was a performer from a young age; she actively took part in school plays and enjoyed watching Saturday Night Live.

At Dartmouth College, Kaling found her true calling and confidence. From studying playwriting, participating in improv to joining sororities; Mindy Kaling explored her opportunities fully and even bagged an internship with Late Nights with Conan O’Brien. After graduating, Mindy Kaling moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue her acting career. 

Courtesy: Huffpost

Fun Trivia: Mindy Kaling in college created and wrote a comic strip called the Badly Drawn Girl for the university paper.

Two Decades in Hollywood

Mindy Kaling took up many jobs when she moved to Brooklyn with her college friend, Brenda Withers. Kaling worked as a babysitter, production assistant at the John Edward psychic show and she took up standup comedy. Kaling with her friend, Withers wrote a play called Ben and Matt which was a surprise hit. Kaling’s exceptional talent and unique comedic style was immediately noticed by Greg Daniels, the creator of the American Office and she was offered a part as a writer on the show.  

Courtesy: Pinterest

Kaling worked on The Office for nearly 7 years as an actor, writer, producer and director. Kaling was the only woman writer in the writing room and when the show was nominated for the Emmys, the Academy even tried demise her contribution by wanting to cut her name off from the list of producers.

Courtesy: Pinterest

In 2012, Kaling went on to produce her show called The Mindy Project; Kaling was the lead actor, producer and creator of the show. Since her show ended, Kaling has starred in successful movies like A Wrinkle in Time, Ocean’s 8, Late Night and Inside Out. Her production company called the Kaling Internation has produced some of the greatest projects like The Champions, Netflix-original Never Have I Ever and Four Weddings and a Funeral.  

Kaling’s quick wit and charismatic personality make her extremely popular on social media. You can find her sharing quirky liners, inspirational stories and even recommending books on her Twitter or Instagram. Here are some of the bestselling books by Mindy Kaling herself:

Fun Trivia: Famous episodes like The Hot Girl, Diwali and Branch Wars in The Office were written by Mindy Kaling.  

Rocking Motherhood

Courtesy: Mindy Kaling/Instagram

Mindy Kaling is a proud single mother to her two gorgeous kids. In her memoir: Nothing Like I Imagined, she talks about work, motherhood and her life as a single mother. Kaling values her privacy and has been extremely protective of her children; she never shares personal details about her children. Kaling has been secretive about the father of her children because she hopes to talk to her children about it before revealing anything to the public. 

Fun Trivia: B.J Novak, the co-worker and ex-boyfriend of Mindy Kaling, is the godfather of her children. 

A Fashion Icon

Courtesy: MyGoodTimes

Mindy Kaling is not just a successful producer, comedian and actor but also a great fashion icon. From designer dresses to plain T-shirts; the woman can rock any style. Her outfits and dressing style is incredibly admirable and clonable.

Fun Trivia: Much like everyone else, Mindy Kaling loves shopping on Instagram!

Awards and Recognition

Courtesy: Rediff

Mindy Kaling is a rare gem; she is one of few successful women of colour in Hollywood and her contributions to the industry have continuously been acknowledged and rewarded.

  • In 2006, Mindy Kaling won the Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
  • In 2006, Kaling won the Comedy Series by Writers Guild of American Awards.
  • She won the Outstanding Producer – Entertainment Award at the Gracie Awards.
  • In 2015, Her bestselling book Why Not Me? won her the Readers Choice Award for Best Humor Book.
  • She won the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series at the Satellite Awards in 2015.
  • The Entertainment Weekly featured Kaling as one of the 50 Coolest and Most Creative Entertainers in Hollywood in 2013
  • Kaling was featured on the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

This was a just glimpse into the marvellous life and journey of Mindy Kaling and her rise to success especially in the world of comedy in the USA which is ruled dominantly by men! For more exciting content, follow Leverage Edu on Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and check out our latest series on ‘Her Vision’ saluting every inspiring woman and her inspirational story that stunned the world!

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