Mindy Kaling is busy -- so stop asking her to comment on her "otherness"

The actress and showrunner says being a "pioneer" means working hard -- so hard she can't comment on pioneering

Published October 16, 2014 7:06PM (EDT)

    (AP/Richard Shotwell)
(AP/Richard Shotwell)

You are not likely to see Mindy Kaling sitting on a panel with other Indian-American women who work in show business, discussing what it means to be an outsider in their field. That's because Kaling, the creator, writer, producer and star of "The Mindy Project," is too busy working on her show (and simultaneously paving the way for other women to follow her lead) to discuss her "otherness."

In an interview with NPR, the showrunner explained how publicly reflecting on otherness requires her to take time away from her job -- at which she works extraordinarily hard so her otherness might stop being such a huge deal:

I'm an actor and a writer and a showrunner and I edit my show. ... I have a job that three people usually have, and I have it in one person. And the idea that [a] critic thought that I had this excess of time for which I could go to, like, panels or write essays was just so laughable to me.

And I think as women, you know, if you are considered a pioneer in these things, you can get really distracted by these other things — you know, people's demands of you reflecting on your otherness. And for this white critic to say, "I don't understand why she doesn't do that" — and you're like, "It's because I'm running a show on a major network and I want the show to continue"  ... I think that it's insidious to be spending more of your time reflecting and talking about panels, and talking more and more in smart ways about your otherness, rather than doing the hard work of your job.

Kaling offered a similar sentiment with regard to being considered a "pioneer," a label she will not readily claim. "I know why people are interested and I know why people want me to speak about it," Kaling said. "But I sort of refuse to be an outsider, even though I know that I very much look like one to a lot of people, and I refuse to view myself in such terms."


By Jenny Kutner

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Feminism Mindy Kaling Npr Otherness The Mindy Project