Growing up, there were little to no Indian girls on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon that weren't riddled with stereotypes or personalities that I just couldn't relate to. Don't get me wrong, Selena Gomez and Hillary Duff were still great role models for little Me. That doesn't stop how disheartening it was, at times, to feel as though there was no way for me to relate on a deeper level, skin deep, to these women that I constantly watched on my TV.
But that was then, and I'm older now. I'm proud to be Indian and I'm proud to be an American. Wizards of Waverly Place and Lizzy McGuire were great shows to grow up watching; however, this past Summer of 2018 I came across this show called The Mindy Project. Front and center on the cover was Mindy Kaling. I admired her from afar for years, I mean, people that don't know much about her probably do understand that she's an HBIC, and also that she was that annoying girl Kelly on The Office. I figured I would give the show a chance and I was baffled by how much this comedic series hit me. It spoke to me on such an emotional level because I was able to deeply relate to it; it was skin deep.
Here was this woman, her parents were from India but she was raised in America. The series showed what brown women do and face all the time. Things that my sister and I talk about and joke around about were being exposed right there on this show, and it felt amazing. For the first time, I truly felt represented as someone who is Indian but is also American. This show is just one of the many things that Mindy Kaling has brought into the world that makes her my spirit animal, patronus, soul sister, etc.
After I started and finished The Mindy Project, I became more interested in seeing interviews of Mindy as well as seeing the work and movies that she has been doing recently. I came to admire her more but I also began to really become motivated by her and her attitude about the world.
Here are some of the things she's done that have stuck with me:
1. When she spilt the motivational tea...
For someone who constantly feels unworthy and struggles with passivity, this is something that I remind myself of everyday.
On TV all you see are women who have 0% body fat and all muscles, which is great! They're beautiful women; however, it gets hard to constantly see when you know your body will never look like that no matter how much you try. She killed that message here, being both hilarious and super real. She embodies that you can also be healthy and STUNNING while not being an extra small or size 0-2.
3. She shows us that we're all works-in-progress...and that's okay!
We all feel the need to put ourselves down when we're not the person that we constantly strive to be. But that's the thing, we're never going to be that person unless we work. And when we reach that level, there are new things that we want to be and want to do and that is okay.
4. She hilariously cracked the code to confidence...
Even though what she's saying is witty and comedic, I think it's such an important thing to hear. She has killed it in all aspects in an industry that has many sexist undertones that we as a public don't see. By saying she was "raised with the entitlement of a tall, blond, white man", she speaks to the power of believing in yourself because, when it comes to your own self-confidence, demographics mean nothing unless you let them.**
**Side note: I understand and empathize with the struggles that come with being judged, attacked and oppressed by things like race, age, size, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc., and I am not and will not ever going to diminish those struggles with this article. I am speaking specifically to the confidence that a person acquires in themselves and not from the outside world, which is what I think she's speaking to as well!
5. She was honest about the stigma of confident women.
As women, we have witnessed it time and time again about how when women are bossy they're all of a sudden "bitches" and when women focus on their career, they've "lost sight of family". These double standards need to stop, and this quote is a reminder of how rare and powerful it is to be a woman who knows what she's worth and fiercely demands that respect rather than passively accepting what they get.
I try not to be someone who gets caught up in the lives of celebrities (but I'll be honest, it's really hard for me not to); however, with a woman like Mindy Kaling in the celebrity world, I feel motivated to be able to jump through the hurdles and work hard to own everything I do. I hope that whoever is reading this can find some inspiration in her as well.