Most people know the name Mindy Kaling from her iconic roles as Kelly Kapoor on The Office and her spotlight role on The Mindy Project, where she portrays eccentric OB/GYN Mindy Lahiri (she is also the show’s creator, wrote many of the episodes, and was an executive producer on the series, nbd). But get this: Kaling’s success spans way beyond these well-known characters.
Kaling initially joined The Office as a writer and was the first female writer on a staff of eight when production began in 2004. In later seasons, she was promoted to executive producer and in 2010 was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series.
Not only has Mindy had roles in Inside Out, A Wrinkle in Time, and Ocean’s 8, the talented comedian and actress has also stayed busy casually writing two New York Times best-selling and highly-relatable memoirs: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me?
As a woman who wears many hats and has made her mark as an actress, writer, and most notably an all-around talented funny person, Kaling is bound to have some words of wisdom and a couple of comical anecdotes to share. We have rounded up our favorite Kaling quotes to inspire you to follow your dreams, whatever they may be.
Mindy on confidence
1. “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn't always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”
2. “It’s so important for women who look like me—or who look different than me—can find themselves beautiful and be objects of love and attention and affection.”
3. “I will leave you with one last piece of advice, which is: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it? Flaunt it.’Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?”
4. “Sometimes you just have to put on lipgloss and pretend to be psyched.”
5. “People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work...I have never, ever, ever, met a highly confident person and successful person who is not what a movie would call a 'workaholic.' Because confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.”
On creating your own future…
6. “If you don’t see a clear path for what you want, sometimes you have to make it yourself.”
7. “Write your own part. It is the only way I’ve gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you.”
8. “No matter how good you have it, it’s cool to want more.”
9. “Don't fall into the trap of thinking about politics in your workplace too much. Just work hard, be cheerful, ignore distractions."
10. “I’m constantly in a state of self-improvement, but I don’t beat myself up over it.”
11. “A lot of people ask how to get where I am, and the single biggest thing, which is not profound, is that I work like a dog.”
Mindy on growing up and learning to be yourself…
12. “Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also a big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”
13. “High school was fun but also a bit painful. But like most painful experiences it helped me become a better writer.”
We couldn’t leave you without a couple of classic Kaling quotes from her beloved TV characters. Here are a couple of the best that aren’t too insightful, but still always good for a laugh.
Kelly Kapoor quotes
14. “Yeah, I have a lot of questions. Number one: how dare you?”
15. “I am one of the few people who looks hot eating a cupcake.”
16. “Who says exactly what they’re thinking? What kind of game is that?”
Mindy Lahiri quotes
17. “If I’m going to be a mess, I’m going to be a hot mess.”
18. “I have the right to life, liberty, and chicken wings.”
19. “I’m, like, very smart and successful, and I’m hot, but I don’t even know it, which makes me even hotter.”
20. “Oh my god, it’s my favorite kind of cake: gigantic.”
For an extra dose of inspiration, take at what more powerful women have to say to inspire you
*The image in this article under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.