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Why Mindy Kaling Is Glad Her 'Mindy Project' Character Can Have A 'Sexy, Fun Life' Onscreen

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/10/2015 Sara Boboltz

"The Mindy Project" may have moved from Fox to Hulu in its fourth season, but reviews so far claimit's still the same sweetly mold-breaking show it's always been. When asked what aspect of the series she was most proud of during the 2015 PaleyFest in New York on Saturday, creator Mindy Kaling took a long view.

"The whole show is sort of a dream come true for me," she began. "It's amazing to me that I had not, in my lifetime, really seen a show about a woman who was not a model, or a twig, or someone who was traditionally beautiful, able to have this sexy, fun life," the actress-writer-producer explained. "A life that I felt I had had." 

"I'm so happy that people who [reach] my age, when they are 14 or 15, can see that," Kaling continued, adding that she didn't think any writer sets out to "be a pioneer" with their work. "You can't think about that stuff and create," she said.

Indeed, when "The Mindy Project" debuted in 2012, it was celebrated as one of scant few television programs created, written by and also starring a woman of color. Who wasn't in her teens. Or particularly thin. Kaling has spoken about self-image before -- most recently in her new memoir, Why Not Me? -- all but shrugging off the idea that her body is a topic worthy of conversation. (Outfits, hair and makeup notwithstanding.)

But as much as it seems she'd like her character to be a normal part of the television landscape, Kaling also noted a word of advice from executive producer Howard Klein that's stuck with her.

"[Klein] always reminds me that, besides being a very funny comedy character, young women should look up to the character," Kaling recalled. "[They should] root for her, but also not feel ashamed for what she does." 

There are worse things than calling Mindy Lahiri -- Kaling's onscreen alter-ego -- a sort of role model. Beyond the whole work-life balance thing, the start of Season 4 has her struggling with very real issues for professional women like childcare and maternal leave. She may not be perfect, but at least she's having fun.

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