“It is so weird being my own role model.”
When I first heard Mindy Lahiri, the lead character of Fox’s The Mindy Project, say this I was on a five-hour flight, stuck in the middle seat between a businessman who was afraid of flying and a Lacoste-wearing tween hogging the entire arm rest. Upon hearing this line, I chortled my complimentary pretzels onto the sleeve of the suit jacket of the businessman who was white knuckling the clasp of his seatbelt.
Bottom line: Mindy Lahiri is funny. But she’s admirable too.
Lahiri is simultaneously her own biggest critic and her own biggest fan. She fluctuates between unexpected and (comic) levels of self-awareness and Kanye-levels of self-confidence and self-delusion, rendering her utterly, completely, wholly (and other synonyms thereof) human. She’s an impeccably-dressed hyperbole of a human, she loves handbags and Real Housewives, she’s consumptive, but she’s also sensitive and smart, and she embodies qualities that most women feel but are afraid to own.
In a recent interview with Vogue, Mindy Kaling herself says, “I feel the same way about clothes as I do about food, I want everything.” See what she did there? She owned up to her real desires, she proved (and is constantly proving) that her offscreen persona is just as relatable as her televised alter-ego. And she did so without apologizing, without trying to be a demure lady or pretend she’ll settle for less. I mean, I think we all can admit that if we were in control of a network TV show, we would throw in as many nice clothes and James Franco cameos as each episode would allow.
More evidence of Kaling’s role model status: In spite of her rising celebrity, she still freaks out on social media over finding a good deal on shoes. And she also isn’t afraid to ask the big questions:
Magazines devote ten-page spreads to convincing us that the stars are just like us. All Kaling needs is 140 characters.
Many of the best Mindy Lahiri lines are brash and reckless and wonderfully unapologetic. But this type of personality isn’t about being cocky, it is about being comfortable. Comfortable in your actions. In your speech. In your body. In your abilities. But most of all, in your feelings and your capacity to express those feelings. When The Mindy Project returns tomorrow night, we look forward to feeling them all right along with her.
Featured image via The Guardian