Mindy Kaling on mom’s death: ‘It still feels like it just happened’


Mindy Kaling is InStyle magazine’s first Indian American cover girl -- and she’d like to be the last one.

So go the text messages Kaling exchanged with InStyle’s editorial director Ariel Foxman, who wrote the magazine’s June cover story about the star of “The Mindy Project.”

“You’re the first Indian-American Woman on our cover,” read part of Foxman’s lead.


“And I insist on being the last,” the quick-witted actress replied.

In the Q&A, the alum from “The Office” opened up about her mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in January 2012. Kaling loosely based her “Mindy Project” alter ego Dr. Mindy Lahiri on her OB/GYN mom. (We’re thinking sans the boy-crazy dating story lines.) She’s talked about her mom’s death a few times since, but admitted to the mag that the way she’s dealt with it hasn’t been “ideal.”

“I was very lucky that the show started up at that time so I could just throw myself into it and distract myself. But the truth is, even though it’s been three years, it still feels like it just happened. I remember the sound of her voice so distinctly,” Kaling said.

Incidentally, her mom died the same day “The Mindy Project” was picked up by Fox. Last week, the comedy was dropped by the network but has a chance at a second life on streaming service Hulu.

“One inadvertent thing I’ve learned from her passing is that anything bad could happen to me professionally, but it would not be worse than one sad weekend. The experience of losing my mom was just so much worse than anything that could happen to me workwise. I could lose all my money, and I would be like, it’s fine.”

The multi-hyphenate, who admits in the interview that unlike Lahiri, she’s dated only “like, four people,” added that her relationship with her mom has influenced her desire to become a mom herself.

“I don’t have a particular urge to get married, but I do know with certainty that I want to have kids, because my relationship with [my mom] was so special,” Kaling said. “She was so proud of [my success]. She kept clippings of everything I know she bored her patients with stories about me going to the Golden Globes, showing them photos of dresses I was picking between.”

The topic is one of many that the memoir writer is expected to discuss in her upcoming book, “Why Me?” which is scheduled for September publication.

Another topic? Her complex relationship with her “The Office” co-writer and costar B.J. Novak, whom she dated while they worked together.

“I will freely admit: My relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell. He is not my boyfriend, but he is not my best friend. I guess you could describe our relationship as a ‘romantically charged camaraderie with loud arguments,’ but I don’t think Facebook would accept this as a new status,” Kaling writes.

Also in the interview, Kaling discusses being a #girlboss, the offensive humor of “The Mindy Project” and her new animated film “Inside Out.” The June issue of InStyle will be on newsstands Friday.

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.