Just nine years after becoming the first female writer on The Office and then doing double-duty as a cast member, Mindy Kaling, 33, is one of Hollywood’s hottest hyphenates. She’s written a New York Times best-seller, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), and a movie (The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, which will star Anne Hathaway) and she’s the creator-director-producer-star of the Fox comedy series The Mindy Project. She also has almost 2 million Twitter followers (During the Superbowl, she tweeted “Quarterback means “the hot one” in football I thought.”)
But to hear her talk, she sounds downright balanced. The daughter of a doctor and architect, the Dartmouth grad prefers her drama onscreen, eats her veggies (a “disgusting green potion” she drinks every morning) and reportedly picks out a week’s worth of outfits ahead of time.
“A lot of creative people can be a little mercurial. I’m not that way. In general I’m a pretty cheerful person,” Kaling says. “My temperament is even-keeled, so I don’t freak out. I like having an easy set. I hate fights. I hate snippiness. I hate sarcasm in the workplace.”
She’s also a pretty good manager. She has to be, “because there are too many things happening at once,” she says. “I have an amazing team [on The Mindy Project]. I spent a lot of time hiring people. I trust them, so I can delegate things. If it wasn’t for that, I couldn’t do this job.”
The feeling seems mutual. “I love having her as a boss,” says Mindy co-star Anna Camp. “She’s open to listening to our ideas and collaborating.”
Despite her accomplishments, Kaling isn’t all caught up in her work. “There’s a tendency in this business to make it your entire life, which I don’t want to do,” she says. “It’s an amazing dream come true, but I want to live. I wouldn’t be a good writer or good actor if I can’t [be part of] other things.”