Mindy Kaling didn’t get to where she is now (Emmy-nominated writer, best-selling memoirist, actress, comedian and pop culture icon, for the uninitiated) without overcoming some hardships at the start of her career.
Speaking with Elle magazine for the Women in Hollywood November issue, Kaling revealed that while she was working on the beloved NBC sitcom as a writer, executive producer and director ― not to mention starring in the show for years as Kelly Kapoor ― she had to fight to receive the same recognition as her colleagues.
When the show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, Kaling, who was the only woman of color on the writing staff at the time, recounted how the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences dropped her from the list of producers credited on the show because there were too many.
“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,” she told the outlet. “I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself.”
Her efforts paid off, as she was ultimately included that year, though the show unfortunately didn’t take home any trophies. She was later nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the “Niagra” episode, which features the wedding of fan-favorite characters Jim and Pam.
Despite her success since then, including creating the series “The Mindy Project” and both writing and starring in the recent comedy “Late Night,” Kaling said she’s continually treated unfairly.
“It really doesn’t matter how much money I have,” she told Elle. “I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.”
Kaling added: “I am grateful, because I do think it keeps me feeling like an outsider, which is helpful as a writer.”
And if Kaling’s most recent Instagram is any indication, she remains unbothered by her outsider status and feels more comfortable than ever in her own skin.