In all honesty, I’m not sure how my admiration for Mindy Kaling began. I knew her as Kelly Kapoor from The Office but soon I realized she’d gone from being just a background character in one of my favorite TV shows to oh-my-god-I-love-her-I-want-to-be-her-when-I-grow-up Mindy Kaling. Maybe it began when I read the first chapter of her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and I realized
how down-to-earth and hilarious she actually is.
I was pretty sad to see her leave The Office, but excited to see her new show, The Mindy Project. I followed their Twitter account as soon as it was created, and I waited eagerly for the season premiere–which, admittedly, I had to watch a day late on Hulu because I’m terrible at actually watching live television.
I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t a fan of The Mindy Project. I was expecting a lot out of Mindy, especially after having read her fantastic book and with the knowledge that many of the greatest moments on The Office were the result of her comedic talent. The Mindy Project seemed to be taking a route I hadn’t expected, seeming more and more like an odd cross between New Girl and some revamp of the Kelly Kapoor character. But, with all my hope, I continued to watch.
While I waited for the show to warm up a bit more and improve, I began to notice something about Mindy that I’d never really seen before. The girl was curvy. Like, really, incredibly curvy. Not, oh, she’s just a step above rail-thin. No. This girl had hips. She was clearly not a size zero, and I thought it was awesome.
She’d made mention of this in her book, but it wasn’t until I watched The Mindy Project, where her OB/GYN character Mindy Lahiri obviously got way more screen time then Kelly Kapoor did, that I got to really see what she looked like. And she wasn’t donning big chunky sweaters and flowy tops a la pregnant Billie Piper in Secret Diary of a Call Girl (and that’s my obscure reference of the day). She was wearing figure-flaunting skirts and dresses that clearly screamed, LOOK AT MY CURVES! LOOK AT THEM!!!
So maybe I shouldn’t be focusing on her physical appearance alone. That’s shallow, I know. But in a way, that’s part of–part of–what made me admire Mindy Kaling so much. For starters, she’s incredibly talented, making a name for herself in a field where, even after the success of women like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, it’s still pretty tough for a woman to make it to the big leagues. She not only helped bring a huge show like The Office to greatness–both on-screen and off–but she was able to split off when she knew the time was right and start doing her own thing. And seriously, good on her for leaving The Office when she did. Rather than having to sit around waiting for her next project once The Office called it quits, she was already out there keeping busy. Awesome move. And finally, regarding her physical appearance: she’s genuine. She isn’t trying to hide her figure, nor did she take up some crazy crash diet to become this stick-thin sitcom protagonist. She’s an authentic, curvy brown girl and she is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, seriously, Kim Kardashian. Take a page out of Mindy Kaling’s book. This girl actually knows how to work her curves.
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, got it. She’s a curvy woman. Why do we care so much?”
I’m a size eight. I’m 5’1, weigh 127lbs, and was blessed/cursed with hips that will spend the entire day resisting the skinny jeans I try to fit them in. I’ve had to learn to wear high-rise jeans and tummy-flattening tops and dresses that cinch in just the right places to try and smooth out all the weird lumps and bumps that tend to flourish from the clothes made for Forever 21 models with protruding collarbones. When a girl like me grows up seeing only thin women everywhere she goes, it’s hard to embrace that different body image. I’ll never see my hipbones jutting out under my skin or be able to count my ribs one by one just by looking at them. (Not that I want that. My ribs can stay hidden as they are, thanks.)
So when I saw Mindy Kaling, this intelligent, hilarious, and successful woman going out in the world with her “not skinny” body decked out in a rockstar wardrobe, all I could think was, thank goodness you exist, Mindy. If you can be this fantastic, I can learn to be too.
So, on behalf of the rest of us curvy brown girls (of all backgrounds), I just want to say thanks, Mindy Kaling. Thanks for being an inspiration and for being simply incredible.
You go girl.
(P.S. The Mindy Project is a fantastic show. I can freely admit it now that the season’s progressed. It’s spectacular. Go watch it.)