What's Happening?

12.11.13

Lena Dunham talks TV and more with Mindy Kaling

Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling at the 2013 Met Ball in New York City 


So few people are actually surprised that Lena Dunham (Girls) and Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) are friends. It's like being surprised that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are best friends. As Riley Freeman says in The Boondocks, "Game recognise game, granddad."

Anyway now that their friendliness is out of the way, Tavi Gevinson, blogging wunderkind and now editor of Rookie, an online teen magazine for girls, commissioned Lena to interview Mindy. 

RollingStone magazine got hold of the interview and posted it on their site. It's a very interesting chat they had. In it they talk about the slight misogyny they face from journalists and the industry; how difficult it is to run your own show and they make fun of fashion magazines and their intros. I have to say I laughed at that. Poor Instyle. 

Here are excerpts from the interesting interview. It's not really hilarious as RollingStone said it is, but there are some funny moments. Mindy is really funny. 

What do you think is the power of TV, and why do you love it?The serialized nature of TV breeds anticipation, and anticipation breeds a kind of loyalty and excitement in viewers that I love. I watched The X-Files every week when I was a teenager and I was as devoted to it as I was to a boy I had a crush on. Watching it was one of the coziest hours of life. When Conan started at Late Night, I loved him like he was a movie star – but unlike with a movie star, I was rewarded with him every night of the week! Movies can't do that. Being on TV builds a relationship with the viewer, and I feel really lucky to have that. 
What would you say is the hardest part about being a boss? I'd say it's that there's no convenient time to take naps and the constant sense that you are neglecting something or someone. I want to be part of the gang. I don't want to be the gang leader who has to stay on gang schedule and pay gang taxes. I have to do that stuff now. Sometimes I just want to shoot my machine gun in the air, you know? Do you ever get embarrassed to point out gender bias? I always apologize and say something dumb and sassy like "Not to be the girl who cried misogyny, but no one would ever say that to Larry David!" Somehow I feel the need to point out that I know I'm doing it, and that I may sound humorless, and that I wish I could be free and easy like Cameron Diaz at a hockey game.
I totally understand this. I don't get embarrassed, though – I get nervous. Because journalists don't like to be told that their questions are sexist. Every so often I read insane things like, "Who is the next Lucille Ball?" and they list all these red-haired actresses. As though the essence of Lucille Ball's talent was derived from the color of her hair.More than half the questions I am asked are about the politics of the way I look. What it feels like to be not skinny/dark-skinned/a minority/not conventionally pretty/female/etc. It's not very interesting to me, but I know it's interesting to people reading an interview. Sometimes I get jealous of white male showrunners when 90 percent of their questions are about characters, story structure, creative inspiration, or, hell, even the business of getting a show on the air. Because as a result the interview of me reads like I'm interested only in talking about my outward appearance and the politics of being a minority and how I fit into Hollywood, blah blah blah. I want to shout, "Those were the only questions they asked!" 
I find being young and female has its real workplace advantages, too (old men want to open up to you, people worry that you're cold). Have you found any?I don't know how young I'm considered now (I'm 33) [Lena: That is yooooung. I met a 98-year-old the other day!], but when Greg [Daniels, executive producer of The Mindy Project] hired me at 24, I do think it was nice for both of us to be around someone with a completely different set of experiences. I was an overtly feminine child of immigrants with a big chip on my shoulder, and he was a gentle, thoughtful, gracious father of three. I think we learned from each other in cool ways. I'm tactile and affectionate, and that is part of how I am on set with the actors, the crew, and the writers. I think it helps that I'm a woman, because I'm not sure how it would be construed if I were, say, a tall, older, physically imposing white man.And I'm a feminist who wants to work with other feminists. I would wager that only a masochist sexist would want to work at a show with an opinionated female lead and showrunner. So I work with people who love women. That's a nice thing. 
How would you describe your fashion style? Please answer in the form of the first paragraph of an InStyle profile that, while not 100 percent accurate, embodies the things you strive for in your wardrobe and your beauty regimen. For example: "Lena Dunham sits down at a cafĂ© table in the sixth arrondissement. She brushes her bangs aside, revealing reddened, teary eyes. 'I'm sorry – I just passed Jim Morrison's grave and was overcome with emotion,' she says. She is 15 minutes late but too focused on her canvas satchel of antique books to care..."
"When Mindy Kaling arrived to the Chateau Marmont 30 minutes late, she apologized profusely and began dabbing ice water on a badly skinned knee. 'I thought I hit an old woman in the Loehmann's parking lot,' she said, a flush of perspiration on her cheeks and forehead. 'Turned out it was a sack of trash with a shawl draped on it. Got so mad at it that I kicked it, and this happened.' She gestured to her knee. 
"Miss Kaling ushered in a scent that was a curious mix of cardamom, citrus, and Old Spice Pure Sport. Without looking at the menu, she ordered a Moscow Mule, the steak and fries with five mini bottles of Tabasco sauce. Her shirt was Ikat print, and her harem pants were tribal print. She had neon pink high tops she promptly took off. 'You don't mind, do you? It's a hell of a lot of shoe for a summer's day,' she purred. I did mind. I minded a lot."  
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