It's fitting that Mindy Kaling launched her "Why Not Me?" book tour this week in Boston. She's your typical Boston girl: a Lexington native, BB&N graduate, lover of the BU Bookstore, and — not so typical — the star and showrunner of her own hit TV show, "The Mindy Project." It was a full day of Mindy projects. Kaling's second memoir, "Why Not Me?" hit the stands Tuesday, along with the Hulu season premiere of her show.
Kaling, 36, looked extremely comfortable being interviewed by a fellow New York Times bestselling author, Atul Gawande, at the Back Bay Events Center. Her confident and steady voice only wavered slightly during the interview, when speaking about her mother's death. She was poised, articulate, and witty, giving us a different persona than those she plays on TV.
Kaling spoke candidly about her new memoir, mourning her mother and best friend--a doctor at St. Elizabeth's who passed away three years ago, on the day The Mindy Project was picked up--and her experiences from Boston to Dartmouth to Los Angeles. She also adamantly defended the key to her success-- hard work.
Kaling started off the conversation with Boston's favorite topic.
"So we're going to be talking about Deflategate," she said. "It's my favorite thing to talk about."
It's easy to pick out the abundant Boston references and jokes in her work. Last night's Mindy Project episode included jokes about Boston 2024, the Sox, Tom Brady's attractiveness and Deflategate.
But Kaling quickly transitioned from Boston to personal stories about her mother's death, her time at "The Office," and what it's like to be in an industry where nobody looks like her. Kaling's rise comes not only from the success of the shows she's worked on but from the honest moments she shares in her memoirs and in interviews. She's open about the secrets of her success, and the Back Bay Events Center was packed with young women, all hoping to learn something from their role model.
Kaling attributes her own sense of confidence to hours of research and hard work.
"No one should just be entitled," she explained. "Hard work will unlock everything."
She also spoke bluntly about people who question her confidence.
"I don't think I'm so great," she said. "I just don't hate myself."
So what's next for Mindy? She's acting and writing in her 26-episode season for Hulu, and she's writing a film. And she joked, "I'm going to join Hillary on the campaign trail," which was greeted with loud cheers. "I know my audience," she said. "We're in Greater Boston now."