Mindy Kaling: “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?”


On the attention paid to her appearance:

“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”

… says Mindy in Parade Magazine.


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78 thoughts on “Mindy Kaling: “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?””

  1. I find her to be all around unattractive. Also, I think she’s carrying more weight than is natural, simply by looking at her upper arms.

    Overall I like her curvier, larger figure but the higher weight is not the most flattering. Perhaps if she lost some she would be stunning.

    But good on her for being confident. I admire a confident woman.

      • Lol I’m not saying it’s surprising for her to be confident and that she shouldn’t be confident for any reason.

        I just personally dislike her appearance.

        • I get what you’re saying Jillian. I don’t find Mindy’s figure to be that attractive. But if she’s confident with herself, good for her. The way I’m built – athletic and ruler-shaped – is not ideal for a lot of women. But I’m very confident about how I look. I know a few women who are beautiful in both face and figure but they are very insecure about their looks. I’d rather be me and be secure than be “perfect” and be insecure.

        • “I find her to be all around unattractive. Also, I think she’s carrying more weight than is natural, simply by looking at her upper arms.
          Overall I like her curvier, larger figure but the higher weight is not the most flattering. Perhaps if she lost some she would be stunning.
          But good on her for being confident. I admire a confident woman.”

          But that is EXACTLY what you are saying and her point exactly. You don’t like her appearance because of how she carries her weight, but good for her accepting her body and being confident. It really is the epitome of her point

          • Hit the nail on the head…
            Oh…Jillian how ashamed I am that we share a name.

            For me: Mindy is funny, smart, beautiful, cool, a very good dresser (and chooses from a perfect palette of colours to compliment her beauty – or her stylist is great), has gorge shiny hair and beautiful skin. To me she radiates when she smiles. There’s a lot of beautiful people who look dead in the eyes and smile but not her – she could teach Tyra a thing or two imo. She appears a bit overweight but to me the confidence she exudes is related to intelligence, fab sense of humor (the show IS quite funny), and ability to represent herself as a beautiful person, someone she’s happy to be.

  2. I love Mindy and her show. I’m happy to see a variety of shows with women leads on prime-time and she has plenty of reasons to be confident. People are asses and I agree that it’s an off-putting comment.
    “You look tired!”
    “You look great…for having a baby and all.”
    “You look great…for your age.”

  3. Why should she not be confident? The following ‘criteria’ she mentioned, have really no weight in determining a successful individual. It’s pure driven talent that makes us likeable and successful in whatever career path we choose, not our sex, race, etc. She’s talented, likeable, seems approachable, a beautiful confident lady!

    • talent + hard work, I would add. Its not true that race gender etc have no impact on our success because people of minorities in those categories face obstacles that others do not, making it more difficult to succeed. It is always still possible though- it just takes MORE determination and courage and hard work and talent.

  4. it’s sad that what she’s saying is true, but it is. no one would think ask someone like Candice Swanepoel that, or “admire” her for being confident because “LOOK AT HER!” but someone with some obvious “flaws” like Mindy would get asked that because with the VS model being held today’s societal ideal, she really wouldn’t have much to to be proud of

    • But Candace S. doesn’t have that all-out great confidence that Mindy has. It’s a trademark of hers. So yeah, no one would ever ask Candace about that.

      • Candice may not exude the “i love myself” confidence that Mindy does, but she certainly has the “I’m hot/hotter than you” thing going on. she has it down pat. have you seen her instagram or twitter? she comes across as conceited, not to mention narcissistic. but would anyone question her for it? no. because she “can” be.

  5. hahaha I love the quote, especially in light of some of the comments I’ve seen on this site about confident women…”who does she thinks she is”, “if I were her, I would never be that confident”, “she thinks she’s all that”. We should celebrating women who are confident, not bringing them down.

  6. So which one is it? Should we celebrate confident women at the expense of being honest, about their looks, on a ssite thats designed to do just that, give opinions on celebrity looks? I think both.

    • If you don’t like a woman’s body that’s fine, and you can comment on it, but I don’t see any reason to call a woman delusional or arrogant because she likes the way she looks, even when you don’t. The distinction may elude you, but it is an important one.

  7. Take out the not white and woman part. Nobody will ask that of Naomi Campbell ever or Chanel iman. She’s just not attractive, stop trying to intellectualize into a race and gender discussion. We all know why it’s easier for Adriana Lima to be confident than Lena Dunham.

    • i think its more of size thing. People will ask Amber Riley (from Glee), Queen Latifah, Monique, and any heavy set woman regardless of race on where her confidence comes from.

    • I get what you are saying because people ask plus size models and Melissa Mccarthy that question. But who knows, there aren’t many Indian actresses and writers with TV shows, so IMO you can’t really compare her situation to Black models

  8. I like Mindy. Her confidence seems genuine. She’s witty, funny, and intelligent. She also seems to have had a great supportive family, and unlike the Lena Dunham’s of the world, she doesn’t seem to think she has singlehandedly changed the infastructure of tv/writing/young adult life and embodied the young *cough white* everywoman.
    I also think she’s cute. Her face and personality are just sweet. She may not have a body I like, she isn’t built like Candice or Miranda, but I still like her and she doesn’t become a person of lower value because of that.

    • Agreed on all counts – I don’t find Mindy attractive, but she’s funny, smart, and a good writer – she’ll probably still be writing/directing a decade from now. In that time both Candice/Miranda will be old news, replaced with younger, fresher models. Beauty and youth fade, but talent, hard work, go a long way.

    • She is witty one of a kind go getter kind of girl. Yeh sure shes different, not so skinny, but who cares! Shes not a contestant on a modeling competition or those retarded beauty pageants that she needs to feel like odd one out. Shes a real intelligent girl with ambition. I like her comedy.

    • @serena and channy
      Exactly. I think she’s smart and has a great sense of humor. I haven’t watched her show, but I read her book and her interviews are hilarious.

  9. I don’t really like her tv show and I don’t really think she’s funny too but good for her I’m sure she is very hardworking and if she feels confident then that’s great

  10. I admire mindy for being a minority woman writer if anything and making it…I think her writning isn’t the best and I think she think she thinks shes still 24 but I still am glad she made it….

  11. love her show! It’s so silly! also great point, whoever brought up the race thing, it really is not about race, more so about the weight, when they ask her where (how in the world!??) she gets such confidence.

  12. Hm yeah right. I remember her saying to a magazine that she doesn’t care about size/weight blah blah it’s irrelevant and women shouldn’t judge their self-worth based on it. Then she says something that screams she is not confident when she seemingly lied about her size, making herself smaller. She stated that she was a size 8….um, yeah right. Sorry but there is no WAY. I know everyone is different but my sister is a size 8 and like literally half her size; she’s actually quite skinny. Mindy seems more like a 14 or something. I don’t know why people have to lie about their size/weight if they are so “confident”, and to me that seems like an outright lie.

    • Yep she doesn’t look like an 8…I also noticed she was photoshopped to look slimmer in ads for her show. To be honest I find her very unattractive, not because she’s plus sized, but I mean her face…however I do think she’s genuinely smart, funny, talented – wrote some great episodes of ‘The Office’. Mixed feelings about her.

    • To be fair I reckon she is about a UK 14 so a US 10 is only a size larger than she says and if she is short under 5″5 yeah I could believe she is a UK 12 (us 8?). Plus sizes are so vanity sized its hard to tell who is a true whatever size.

  13. Good for her. She never struck me as having any more confidence than the next girl, but ive never seen her speak.

    The funny thing with confidence is, if you are average and have it, people are surprised and think its uncalled for…AND if you are attractive with confidence you get labeled as stuck up/arrogant and people still think its uncalled for. Sorry, but its a losing battle. hates gunna hate.

  14. Truth of the matter is that almost every question- pertaining to body and health- these days has a ‘real’ one behind it.Sometimes two.Particularly the ones directed to female celebrities or women in general.
    They try to be ‘diplomatic’.Example…
    *”How do you keep your curves?”
    Meaning: “You are fat.Do you really excercise and eat right cos it doesn’t seem so?”
    *”You lost the baby weight quite fast,how did you do it”
    Meaning:”Come on,you got a ‘little
    help’,i mean u can’t have lost it that fast.Spill?” Or “You went crazy with excercise and dieting just after the birth leaving the nanny to ‘mother’ your baby?”
    *”The divorce must be stressful on you?”
    Meaning:”You look like s**t,are you eating at all?” Or “Are you comfort eating cos you’ve really put on weight?”
    *”How do you juggle being a wife and mother with a successful career and still look great always?”
    Meaning:”How many helps do you have at home?”
    *”Your body is looking awesome lately,what’s the secret?”
    Meaning:”You are slimer than usual,did you get a lipo or what diet are you on this time?”
    *”You’re quite thin,you must be strict with ur diet and excercise regime?”
    Meaning:”Are you sure you don’t have an eating disorder?” ….

    Bottom line,no matter the ocupation,race,level of IQ,dress size,height of success/fame,women can’t win when it comes to body issues.

  15. I am loving this post, such interesting conversations! Lots of good points, and differing views.

    I think Mindy rocks her appearance sooo hard with all that confidence, regardless of where she gets it or why she should or shouldn’t have it. She just does, and it’s hot on her.

  16. I think Mindy is unique and her show is all right. Since I am Black and Korean, I understand the “your not White so how can you be confident?” kind of thinking. It does get old. Perhaps she gets her confidence by writing her show and empowering herself in that way. Good for her too!

  17. I’m less bothered by the racial implications of her quote than the gender issues. When Al Roker was fat (and non white) nobody ever asked him why he’s so confident. Unless the man is HUGE, noone really ever comments on how they look. It’s beyond unfair that women are still judged first by their appearance then their talents, and men are always first by what they bring to the table.

    • “It’s beyond unfair that women are still judged first by their appearance then their talents, and men are always first by what they bring to the table”-Kaling <—–Love it, I agree completely.

  18. I think she is super gorgeous! Really beautiful and cute face, gorgeous skin and hair and eyes. Plus her figure is cute, she dresses nicely, and I completely agree with her quote.

  19. I think the very fact that she believes people are insulting her by asking her where she gets her confidence, probably shows that she isn’t as confident on the inside as she appears!

    • Shes not reading too much into it.

      Only a woman who isn’t smart would accuse her of just being insecure.

      Very attractive women are never asked where they get their confidence from. Because women will always be valued first and foremost for how hot/beautiful they are.

      • I’m not so sure. She brings up not being white, not being skinny, and being a woman as things potentially not having any worth. I definitely know larger, black women who are attractive, but I think confidence is a totally unrelated phenomena. Some people I find unattractive, are very confident, and some people who I think are stunning have very little confidence in themselves. I think confidence is an attribute in itself, not necessarily correlating with so called ‘attractiveness’. People may simply be complimenting her on that – her amazing confidence! The way she chooses to interpret their questions is up to her 🙂 I actually don’t think she’s unattractive, but she isn’t saying that either. She’s choosing to go on race, gender and weight. Things which don’t necessarily make or break your attractiveness! These people probably do mean well, as she said…well then? Take it as a compliment!

        By the way, not sure who you are suggesting isn’t smart…all I know is, I have an IQ of 145, so it’s very likely that I am smarter than you 🙂 How would you really know if she is insecure or not? I just thought the way she interpreted the question, could suggest that maybe she isn’t as confident as she comes across.

          • Well, I did feel it was appropriate because I don’t think it’s fair for people to say others aren’t smart just because their opinion differs from their own. Rather than just saying, ‘No, actually I think I am fairly smart person’, I thought I should back it up with something. If you think that is being a prig, wouldn’t the person I was replying to be a prig too then? ‘Only a woman who isn’t smart..’ ? She basically insists only people who agree with her are smart, and that her opinion about Mindy is superior to mine. I see that as a little priggish. But of course you wouldn’t see that as priggish because you agree with her, which I suppose makes you a prig too! Prig.

  20. @kaling. Yeah its totally rac.is.t to say Kaling looks like Miss America when she was obese…couldnt just be that they look alike LOL.

    • @versus
      I really don’t feel comfortable with the racist undertones of one Anonymous’ comment. As a minority girl who visits this site often I’m very happy to see posts on white as well as non-white girls. I thought that the commenters would provide insightful ideas about the struggles that women face. But having this anonymous person spout things like Mindy looks similar to the new Miss America is hard to accept. Also, I only came to reporting this because I am very confident she would not be open to the suggestion of quitting the racist undertones.

      • Hi MissCoco,
        I have banned that user dozens of times, but she changes her IP address all the time, which makes it impossible for me to track her. However, I think I might have a solution and I will try to implement it this week.

  21. What a horrible way to misinterpret a well-meaning question. Some of the least confident people are skinny white women. It wasn’t a racist question.

    • Agreed–she interpreted the question rather negatively. I don’t understand why i her perception of confidence so wrapped around the physical side of things. I get it is a part of who you are but when I think of confidence it is not only confidence in your looks, but who you are, how you carry yourself, and what you have to offer to the world. It’s truly something that comes from within and definitely not a trait everyone has…

      • Maybe she is defensive because she gets asked the question frequently? You must admit that Mindy stands out in a sea of thin white women on the red carpet. Hollywood portrays Asian/Indians as frumpy awkward nerds and rarely as sexy (Lucy Liu the only exception I can think of). The truth is no one asks VS models where they get their confidence from – they assume they’re confident because they’re beautiful. Some people genuinely look at Mindy and don’t understand why a chubby indian girl is confident…pretty pathetic actually.

    • But the white women aren’t asked that question.. I think it kind of is racist, but no one can know for sure/.Because she is heavier and not typically beautiful. Or the fact that she is a female writer. WHO KNOWS. But she feels that it has a bit to do with race

  22. And I should add, it’s that Mindy has so much incredible confidence — she oozes it in a good way — that the question comes up. It was meant as an off-handed insult. Just admiration is how most people would take it.

  23. being attractive and being beautifull/pretty are 2 different things imo annybody who has a life is aware of that. there are so much HF models who are pure beauties but not that attractive. im shure mindy is very attractive woman, confidence is very sexy, and she is cute as a girl from the street, she is just not hollywood pretty.

  24. I think she really pretty, it helps that I think she’s also hilarious. Her beauty is more prevalent than Scarlet Johanson to me at least.

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