Mindy Kaling is tired of the press assuming that she and her television character, Dr. Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project, are one and the same. For one, she’s not a doctor in real life! Speaking at the Women in the World Summit in New York City on April 7, Kaling discussed the pluses and minuses of sharing a name with her character. “It made it feel authentic,” she said of giving her character the same name. “It really does feel like you’re right up close and there’s no artifice to what you’re watching. The downside is that I’ve noticed that people just assume that you are your character.”
Kaling feels like this is rooted in sexism. “If you’re a man who shares [a name with] the same character, they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s not his character.’ I’ve noticed that, in general, media does not think the same thing of me. I think it’s a little sexist, actually,” said Kaling. “They would look at a man who’s playing that character and they’re like, ‘Oh what an actor artiste who can adopt that persona.’ And I get kind of jealous, actually, that that’s afforded to them.”
For instance, she wouldn’t actually do the things her character does! “[Mindy Lahiri] said she wanted to have a C-section for no medical reason. She wanted to schedule a C-section and said, ‘I want to be out for so long, when I wake up it’s Donald Trump’s second term.’” Kaling wouldn’t do that! So for Kaling’s sake, let’s try to remember that she isn’t the same person as her gun-toting, O’Reilly-watching alter ego.