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Mindy Kaling.

party chat

Mindy Kaling Has Social Anxiety and a Suggestion for Your Next Dinner Party

The Office star-producer-writer Mindy Kaling officially has another credit to her name: author. After months of reading scattered excerpts
and articles in anticipation of her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), we finally got our hands on it at a release party hosted by Tory Burch last night. (The two became friends, Burch told us, after Kaling tweeted her this: "I love you Tory Burch, you closeted bling-loving Indian woman, you.") We spoke with Kaling at Burch's flagship store on Madison Avenue.

Where did this title come from? Do you actually worry people are hanging out without you?
It's more about fear of missing out. You know, F.O.M.O., which I think is a little bit different. I think with Twitter and knowing what your friends are doing at all times, there can be this feeling of like, "Hi, am I in the right place?" But I work so much, there are times when I think, Okay, my friends are definitely all doing something really fun without me. Like going to some cool ethnic restaurant or something …

I love the excerpt about chick flicks. Who's your favorite non-realistic heroine and who do you think is a realistic heroine?
My favorite realistic heroine is in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Penélope Cruz's character in that. I mean, she's extra beautiful and extra theatrical and extra violent, but I found her very realistic. And unrealistic? Meg Ryan's characters in a lot of movies; in You've Got Mail, the fact that she owned a children's bookstore and was that beautiful and lived in that apartment, none of that was realistic. But I didn’t care because I love Meg Ryan so much.

You give a lot of advice in your book. What's the best piece you've gotten?
My mom gives me great advice. I think [one piece] that applies to me and anyone else is that I should always be my own best friend. I didn’t understand that a lot as a kid but it persists now.

And is there a piece of advice you've given in the book that you think is particularly important?
Never ask when you're at somebody's house if you can pitch in and help. You just start helping, 'cause no hostess is ever gonna be like, "Yes, I would love help, just do the dishes." I think it shows that you're well raised if you just start.

Have you started developing your new series?
Yes, I've started working on the pilot.

What's it about?
Even I don’t know very much about it. In the show, I play an OB/GYN [based on her mother], so that's pretty much all I know. I'm working on the other love interests and the other people that work in my office, but it's pretty early on.

Do you have any dream co-stars?
I think I'd like to work with unknowns, actually; I think that's kinda fun. I mean, I say that now and then someone amazing wants to do it …

Photo: Patrick McMullan