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6 Reasons Mindy Kaling Is a Great Role Model for Teen Girls

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I’m just going to put this out there, but if my husband and I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I’ve decided I’d like Mindy Kaling to raise our kids. Sure, George and Amal and the Obamas were also on my list, but my girls don’t want to relocate to England to be with the Clooneys, and Barack and Michelle have their hands full with two teen girls of their own. (Although having the Secret Service drive them everywhere is a definite plus.)

We all love Mindy Kaling, and I think she’s a great role model. Not only is she the perfect combination of brains, beauty and kick-ass wit, but she’s incredibly stylish as well, which means my girls would not only welcome her, but her closet also with open arms. Here are a few other reasons why Mindy is the ideal person for my teen girls to look up to.

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1. She’s up for the job

Mindy knows young women look up to her, and she takes being a role model very seriously. She’s not about to go swinging naked from a wrecking ball while smoking a bong on Instagram. “I embrace it. I think I've always wanted to be a role model,” she said in an interview on NPR a few months ago. “Everyone should try to live their life like they'd like to be a role model. I think it's like the thing keeping me out of jail. … It's good for me mentally, selfishly, and it's also nice to try to do that for, especially, younger women.”

2. She’s blazing a trail.

Her Fox series "The Mindy Project" is the first sitcom starring and created by an Indian-American. Mindy writes, produces and stars in the half-hour comedy about a gynecologist/obstetrician who struggles to balance her professional and personal life. I need my half-Asian girls to see POC on TV and in the movies, especially ones that aren’t hookers, silent sidekicks or waitresses in sushi bars. Plus, "The Mindy Project" is really, really smart and funny.

3. She gets you. She really gets you.

Even though she’s 35, Mindy still knows what it was like to be teen and suffer through those painful, awkward pimply years. In a heartfelt open letter she penned for Tavi Gevinson’s book "Rookie," Mindy is like a warm hug during a bad English 101 class. “I think about you all the time. Sometimes with anger—because, let’s face it, you tend to be very loud and inappropriately expressive on the subway—but more often with affection, because I know how hard this time is for you, and you are cute and don’t know what the hell you are doing, like yearlings whose legs are still wobbly.”

4. Again: She. Gets. You.

She starred in this commercial for Nationwide Insurance, but I think there’s a message deeper than just selling policies, one that resonates with my girls. Mindy lounges naked in a park, eats ice cream straight from the carton while strolling through a store and walks through a car wash. “After years of being treated like she was invisible, it occurred to Mindy Kaling she might actually be invisible,” the narrator says. Women of color know this feeling all too well.

5. She likes you just the way you are (and herself).

Mindy is known for not buying into Hollywood’s skewed view of beauty. “I never need to be skinny. I don’t want to be skinny,” she told Vogue last year. “I’m constantly in a state of self-improvement, but I don’t beat myself up over it.”

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live last year, she shamed people who criticized her for baring some midriff on the red carpet, and was equally amused by people who called her “courageous” for daring to show off her not-six-pack abs. “Um, aren’t surgeons courageous?” she asked incredulously.

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6. She gives great advice.

At least 99 percent of Mindy’s Twitter stream is hysterical as hell, but sometimes she puts on her serious pants and doles out life lessons. OK, some advice is more useful than others.

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