Vera Mindy Chokalingam (born June 24, 1979), known professionally as Mindy Kaling , is an American actress, comedian, screenwriter and producer. She first gained recognition starring as Kelly Kapoor in the NBC sitcom The Office (2005-2013), for which she also served as a writer, executive producer, and director. For her work on the series, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and five times for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Kaling gained wider attention for creating, producing and starring in the Fox comedy series The Mindy Project (2012-2017). She created the NBC sitcom +moreS. _TV_series)'>Champions (2018), also appearing in five episodes, the Hulu miniseries Four Weddings and a Funeral (2019), the Netflix comedy-drama series Never Have I Ever (2020-present), and the HBO Max comedy-drama series The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021-present).
Kaling's film career includes voiceover work in Despicable Me (2010), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), and Inside Out (2015). She had roles in comedy films, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), No Strings Attached (2011), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), The Night Before (2015), A Wrinkle in Time and Ocean's 8 (both 2018), and Late Night (2019), the last of which she also wrote and produced. +more Her memoirs, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (2011) and Why Not Me? (2015), reached The New York Times Best Seller list. She also received a Tony Award for Best Musical as a producer for the musical A Strange Loop.
Vera Mindy Chokalingam was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to father Avudaiappan Chokalingam (ஆவுடையப்பன் சொக்கலிங்கம்); an architect, and mother Swati Chokalingam (স্বাতি চোকলনিগম রয়িসকেয়ার; née Roysircar), an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN). She has an elder brother, Vijay. +more Kaling’s parents are from India and met while working at the same hospital in Nigeria. Her father, a Tamil raised in Chennai (Madras), was overseeing the building of a wing of the hospital. Her mother, a Bengali from Mumbai (Bombay), was working as an OB/GYN. The family immigrated to the United States in 1979, the same year Kaling was born. Kaling's mother died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.
Kaling has said she has never been called Vera, her first name, but has been referred to as Mindy since her mother was pregnant with her while her parents were living in Bengal. They were already planning to move to the United States and wanted, Kaling said, a "cute American name" for their daughter, and liked the name Mindy from the TV show Mork & Mindy. +more The name Vera is, according to Kaling, the name of the "incarnation of a Hindu goddess. " Kaling graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private school in Cambridge, in 1997. The following year, she entered Dartmouth College, where she was a member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Dog Day Players and the a cappella group The Rockapellas, was the creator of the comic strip Badly Drawn Girl in The Dartmouth (the college's daily newspaper), and was a writer for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern (the college's humor magazine).
Kaling graduated from Dartmouth College in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in playwriting. She was a classics major for much of college and studied Latin, a subject she had been learning since the seventh grade. +more Kaling lists the comedy series Dr. Katz, Saturday Night Live, Frasier and Cheers as early influences on her comedy.
2002-2004: Career beginnings
While a 19-year-old sophomore at Dartmouth, Kaling was an intern on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Kaling has said that she never saw a family like hers on TV, which gave her a dual perspective she uses in her writing. +more She thinks the "everyone against me" mentality is what she learned as a child of immigrants. She named her Mindy Project character Mindy Lahiri after author Jhumpa Lahiri.
After college, Kaling moved to Brooklyn, New York. Kaling said one of her worst job experiences was as a production assistant for three months on the Crossing Over With John Edward psychic show. +more She described it as "depressing. " During this same time, Kaling performed stand-up comedy.
Kaling devised her stage name after discovering while doing stand-up comedy that emcees would have trouble pronouncing her last name, Chokalingam, and sometimes made jokes about it. She toured solo as well as with Craig Robinson before he was on The Office.
In August 2002, Kaling portrayed Ben Affleck in an off-Broadway play called Matt & Ben, which she co-wrote with her best friend from college, Brenda Withers-who played Matt Damon. The play was named one of Time magazine's "Top Ten Theatrical Events of The Year" and was "a surprise hit" at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. +more Initially, Withers and Kaling had, "for their own entertainment, mockingly pretended to be the best friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck; that pretending spawned Matt & Ben, the goofy play that reimagined how Damon and Affleck came to write the movie Good Will Hunting. ".
Kaling wrote a blog, Things I've Bought That I Love, which reemerged on her website on September 29, 2011. The blog was written under the name Mindy Ephron, "a name Kaling chose because she was amused by the idea of her 20-something Indian-American self as a long-lost Ephron sister. +more".
2004-2011: Breakthrough and The Office
In 2004, when The Office producer Greg Daniels was working to adapt The Office from the BBC TV series of the same name, he hired Kaling as a writer-performer after reading a spec script she wrote. He said, "She's very original . +more If anything feels phony or lazy or passé, she'll pounce on it. " When Kaling joined The Office, she was 24 years old and was the only woman on a staff of eight. She took on the role of character Kelly Kapoor, debuting in the series' second episode, "Diversity Day". Kaling's TV appearances include a 2005 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing Richard Lewis's assistant. She is featured on the CD Comedy Death-Ray and guest-wrote parts of an episode of Saturday Night Live in April 2006. After her film debut in The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell, Kaling appeared in the film Unaccompanied Minors as a waitress.
In an interview with +more_Club'>The A. V. Club, she stated that Kelly is "an exaggerated version of what I think the upper-level writers believe my personality is. " Kaling directed The Office webisode The 3rd Floor. She directed the Season 6 episode "Body Language," which marked her television directorial debut. In 2007, she had a small part in License to Wed alongside fellow Office actors John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey, and Brian Baumgartner. Kaling starred in the 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian as a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum tour guide.
Her contract was set to expire at the end of Season 7. On September 15, 2011, she signed a new contract to stay with the show for Season 8 and was promoted to full executive producer. +more Her Universal Television contract included a development deal for a new show (eventually titled The Mindy Project), in which she appeared as an actress and contributed as a writer. Kaling left The Office after the ninth-season episode "New Guys". However, she returned to guest-star in the final episode of the series. In 2011, Kaling published a memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), which appeared on the New York Times best-seller list. Her second book, Why Not Me?, covers the events that have happened in her life since 2011, and was published on September 15, 2015. Why Not Me? launched at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. She published a third memoir, Nothing Like I Imagined (Except For Sometimes), with Amazon Original Stories in 2020.
Kaling and her fellow writers and producers of The Office were nominated five consecutive times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 2010, she received a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series with Daniels for the episode "Niagara. +more" However, in a 2019 interview with Elle Magazine, Kaling spoke about the sexism faced by the Television Academy, because Kaling had to go through great lengths to prove her contribution as a producer after being informed by the television academy she was going to be cut from the producer list, because there were too many producers. To receive her rightful producing credit when the Office was nominated for an Emmy for an Outstanding Comedy Series, she stated, “They made me, not any of the other producers, fill out a whole form and write an essay about all my contributions as a writer and a producer,” Kaling told Elle of how her name ultimately got put on the Emmys list. “I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself. ” The Emmys rebutted Kaling’s statement in an interview with Refinery 29, but Kaling clarified in a series of tweets of choosing to make that statement during the Elle interview, as necessary, because it was part of her story, of the sexism faced during her tenure at The Office, before Kaling’s star power grew, honoring the challenges faced as she reflected on her career success to Elle.
In 2011, she played the role of Shira, a doctor who is a roommate and colleague of the main character Emma (played by Natalie Portman) in No Strings Attached. Kaling also made an appearance as Vanetha in The Five-Year Engagement in 2012. +more Her success on The Office ultimately resulted in her being recognized by Nickolas Hummert: "is that Mindy Kaling?".
2012-present: Producing and film work
In 2012, Kaling pitched a single-camera comedy to Fox called The Mindy Project, which Kaling wrote, produced and starred in. Fox began airing the series in 2012. +more In 2013, Time magazine named her on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Kaling notes that she is sometimes described as a pioneer, as there are not yet very many Indian-American women on television. Fox canceled the series in May 2015 but it was later picked up by Hulu for a 26-episode fourth season and a 16-episode fifth season. In March 2017, Kaling announced that the show's sixth season, which would air starting September 2017, would be the last. The series concluded on November 14, 2017.
Kaling voiced Taffyta Muttonfudge in Disney's animated comedy film Wreck-It Ralph and Disgust in Pixar's 2015 film Inside Out. In 2017, NBC ordered +moreS. _TV_series)'>Champions, where Kaling is a co-creator, writer, and producer. She had a recurring guest role on the show, which premiered March 8, 2018, on NBC. It was cancelled after one season.
In 2018, she played Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time, the live-action Disney adaptation of the novel, and starred alongside Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Awkwafina and Rihanna in Ocean's 8, the all-female version of Ocean's Eleven.
In 2020, Kaling created the Netflix series Never Have I Ever with Lang Fisher, a comedy partially based on Kaling's childhood story growing up in the Boston area. It premiered on Netflix on April 27, 2020, and is about an Indian American high school student, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, dealing with the death of her father. +more The series received positive reviews. The series has been described as a watershed moment for South Asian representation in Hollywood and has been praised for breaking Asian stereotypes.
Kaling is set to co-write the third installment in the Legally Blonde series with Dan Goor. The film is scheduled to be released in May 2023. +more She is also committed to re-team with Dan Goor to write and star alongside Priyanka Chopra in a comedy about an Indian-American wedding under Universal.
In December 2017, Kaling gave birth to a daughter, Katherine Swati. She gave birth to a son, Spencer Avu, in September 2020. +more Kaling has chosen not to reveal the identity of her children's biological father, not even to her close friends.
Kaling has a close friendship with +more_Novak'>B. J. Novak, whom she met through writing for The Office, with Novak calling Kaling "the most important person in my life" (on Fresh Air with Terry Gross). The two dated on and off while writing and acting on the show. Novak is the godfather of Kaling's two children.
Kaling's mother died in January 2012 on the same day The Mindy Project was picked up by Fox. In 2012, Kaling was included in the Time 100 list of influential people. +more In 2014, she was named one of Glamours Women of the Year.
In September 2022, Kaling was interviewed on an episode of Archetypes, Meghan Markle's podcast. Markle and Kaling discuss a number of topics, including being a single mother and how that sits with her upbringing within the more traditional family and societal expectations of India.
|2005||The 40-Year-Old Virgin||Amy|
|2006||Unaccompanied Minors||Restaurant Hostess|
|2007||License to Wed||Shelly|
|2009||Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian||The Docent|
|2010||Despicable Me||The Tourist Mom (voice)||Cameo|
|2011||No Strings Attached||Shira|
|2012||The Five-Year Engagement||Vaneetha|
|2012||Wreck-It Ralph||Taffyta Muttonfudge (voice)|
|2013||This Is the End||Herself||Cameo|
|2014||Mr. +more Peabody & Sherman||Helen of Troy (voice)||Deleted scene|
|2015||Inside Out||Disgust (voice)|
|2015||Riley's First Date?||Disgust (voice)||Short film|
|2015||The Night Before||Sarah|
|2018||A Wrinkle in Time||Mrs. Who|
|2019||Late Night||Molly Patel||Also writer and producer|
|2005-2013||+more_TV_series)'>The Office||Kelly Kapoor||Also writer, executive producer, and director 174 episodes|
|2005||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Richard Lewis' Assistant||Episode: "Lewis Needs a Kidney"|
|2012-2017||The Mindy Project||Dr. Mindy Lahiri||Also creator, writer, and producer 117 episodes|
|2014||Sesame Street||Herself||Episode: "The Enthusiastic Penelope Penguin"|
|2015||The Muppets||Herself||Episode: "Single All the Way"|
|2017||Animals||Sandy (voice)||Episode: "Squirrels"|
|2018||Future-Worm!||Additional voices||Ep: Megan Muck Wars|
|2018||Champions||Priya Patel||Also co-creator, writer, and producer 5 episodes|
|2018||It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Cindy||Episode: "The Gang Makes Paddy's Great Again"|
|2019||Four Weddings and a Funeral||N/A||Co-creator, writer, and producer 10 episodes|
|2019-2021||The Morning Show||Audra||4 episodes|
|2020-present||Never Have I Ever||N/A||Co-creator, writer and executive producer 20 episodes|
|2021||Monsters at Work||Val Little (voice)||10 episodes|
|2021-present||The Sex Lives of College Girls||N/A||Co-creator, writer and executive producer 10 episodes|
|2023||Velma||Velma Dinkley||Main role|
|The Office||2005||Season 1||Episode 6||"Hot Girl"|
|The Office||2005||Season 2||Episode 1||"The Dundies"|
|The Office||2006||Season 2||Episode 12||"The Injury"|
|The Office||2006||Season 2||Episode 18||"Take Your Daughter to Work Day"|
|The Office||2006||Season 3||Episode 6||"Diwali"|
|The Office||2007||Season 3||Episode 15||"Ben Franklin"|
|The Office||2007||Season 4||Episode 10||"Branch Wars"|
|The Office||2008||Season 4||Episode 15||"Night Out"|
|The Office||2008||Season 5||Episode 9||"Frame Toby"|
|The Office||2009||Season 5||Episode 16||"Lecture Circuit: Part 1"|
|The Office||2009||Season 5||Episode 17||"Lecture Circuit: Part 2"|
|The Office||2009||Season 5||Episode 19||"Golden Ticket"|
|The Office||2009||Season 6||Episode 4 & 5||"Niagara"|
|The Office||2009||Season 6||Episode 13||"Secret Santa"|
|The Office||2010||Season 6||Episode 16||"The Manager and the Salesman"|
|The Office||2010||Season 6||Episode 22||"Secretary's Day"|
|The Office||2010||Season 7||Episode 5||"The Sting"|
|The Office||2010||Season 7||Episode 11 & 12||"Classy Christmas"|
|The Office||2011||Season 7||Episode 21||"Michael's Last Dundies"|
|The Office||2011||Season 8||Episode 10||"Christmas Wishes"|
|The Office||2012||Season 8||Episode 17||"Test the Store"|
|The Mindy Project||2012||Season 1||Episode 1||"Pilot"|
|The Mindy Project||2012||Season 1||Episode 2||"Hiring and Firing"|
|The Mindy Project||2012||Season 1||Episode 5||"Danny Castellano Is My Gynecologist"|
|The Mindy Project||2012||Season 1||Episode 8||"Two is One"|
|The Mindy Project||2013||Season 1||Episode 12||"Hooking Up Is Hard"|
|The Mindy Project||2013||Season 1||Episode 13||"Harry & Sally"|
|The Mindy Project||2013||Season 1||Episode 16||"The One That Got Away"|
|The Mindy Project||2013||Season 1||Episode 24||"Take Me With You"|
|The Mindy Project||2013||Season 2||Episode 1||"All My Problems Solved Forever. +more"|
|The Mindy Project||2013||Season 2||Episode 8||"You’ve Got Sext"|
|The Mindy Project||2014||Season 2||Episode 13||"L. A. "|
|The Mindy Project||2014||Season 2||Episode 14||"The Desert"|
|The Mindy Project||2014||Season 2||Episode 22||"Danny and Mindy"|
|The Mindy Project||2014||Season 3||Episode 1||"We're a Couple Now, Haters!"|
|The Mindy Project||2014||Season 3||Episode 6||"Caramel Princess Time"|
|The Mindy Project||2015||Season 3||Episode 15||"Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist"|
|The Mindy Project||2015||Season 3||Episode 21||"Best Man"|
|The Mindy Project||2015||Season 4||Episode 1||"While I Was Sleeping"|
|The Mindy Project||2015||Season 4||Episode 13||"When Mindy Met Danny"|
|The Mindy Project||2016||Season 4||Episode 14||"Will They or Won't They"|
|The Mindy Project||2016||Season 4||Episode 18||"Bernardo & Anita"|
|The Mindy Project||2016||Season 5||Episode 1||"Decision 2016"|
|The Mindy Project||2017||Season 6||Episode 1||"Is That All There Is?"|
|The Mindy Project||2017||Season 6||Episode 9||"Danny in Real Life"|
|The Mindy Project||2017||Season 6||Episode 10||"It Had To Be You"|
|Champions||2018||Season 1||Episode 1||"Pilot"|
|Champions||2018||Season 1||Episode 2||"I Think I'm Gonna Tolerate It Here"|
|Champions||2018||Season 1||Episode 4||"My Fair Uncle"|
|Four Weddings and a Funeral||2019||Season 1||Episode 1||"Kash With a K"|
|Four Weddings and a Funeral||2019||Season 1||Episode 2||"Hounslow"|
|Never Have I Ever||2020||Season 1||Episode 1||"Pilot"|
|Never Have I Ever||2020||Season 1||Episode 4||". felt super Indian"|
|Never Have I Ever||2021||Season 2||Episode 1||". been a playa"|
|The Sex Lives of College Girls||2021||Season 1||Episode 1||"Welcome to Essex"|
|The Sex Lives of College Girls||2021||Season 1||Episode 6||"Parents Weekend"|
|2009||The Office: Subtle Sexuality||Episode 1||Creative Differences||Mini-webseries|
|2009||The Office: Subtle Sexuality||Episode 2||The Replacement||Mini-webseries|
|2009||The Office: Subtle Sexuality||Episode 3||The Music Video||Mini-webseries|
|2010||The Office||Season 6||Episode 23||"Body Language"|
|2010||The Office: The 3rd Floor||Episode 1||Moving On||Mini-webseries|
|2010||The Office: The 3rd Floor||Episode 2||Lights, Camera, Action!||Mini-webseries|
|2010||The Office: The 3rd Floor||Episode 3||The Final Product||Mini-webseries|
|2011||The Office||Season 7||Episode 21||"Michael's Last Dundies"|
|2011||The Office: The Girl Next Door||Episode 1||The Story of Subtle Sexuality||Mini-webseries|
|2011||The Office: The Girl Next Door||Episode 2||The Girl Next Door||Mini-webseries|
Awards and nominations
In 2013, Entertainment Weekly identified Kaling as one of the "50 Coolest and Most Creative Entertainers" in Hollywood. In the same year, Kaling was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. +more
Kaling, Mindy, and Brenda Withers. [url=http://www. +moreworldcat. org/oclc/56892993]Matt & Ben: A New Play. [/url] Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2004; * Kaling, Mindy. [url=https://www. nytimes. com/2009/12/20/fashion/20kaling. html]Unbelievable Holiday Tales: Scripting a Fantasy of a Family[/url], The New York Times, December 18, 2009. * Kaling, Mindy. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), New York: Crown Archetype, 2011; ; * Kaling, Mindy. [url=http://www. worldcat. org/oclc/806016207]Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself: 50 Topics to Share With Friends[/url], Clarkson Potter, 2013; * Kaling, Mindy. Why Not Me?, New York : Crown Archetype, 2015; ; * Kaling, Mindy. Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes), Amazon Original Stories, 2020.