How Kaling got her chance
Mindy Kaling used to hate explaining how she broke into Hollywood, said Hadley Freeman in The Guardian (U.K.). At age 24, the Indian-American woman was accepted into NBC’s diversity writing program, joining the writing staff of The Office while also co-starring on the hit comedy for eight years. “For a long time I was really embarrassed about that,” says Kaling, now 39. “It took me a while to realize I was just getting the access other people had because of who they knew.” The child of Indian immigrants, Kaling was driven by the realization that people like her were rare on writing staffs and on screen. Yet her brother, Vijay, has argued against diversity hiring, posing as a black man on medical school applications in order to prove that affirmative action is “hypocritical.” The stunt annoyed Kaling, who wrote her new movie, Late Night, about the importance of a network talk show hiring minority women writers like herself. Ironically, she is still asked if she feels “surprised” that she was hired to write a film. “I actually don’t,” she says. “I’ve really put in the time.” Though she’s breastfeeding her first child, she is taking on all the writing assignments she can get. “You can’t be busy when you’re young and waiting for people to give you opportunities,” she says.