Mindy Kaling, writer, actress, and shopping extraordinaire, gets personal with her readers in her new book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Let’s be real, who would ever want to hang out without her?
Where are you at the moment?
I’m in New York City. It’s really fun. I love when I come here, I don’t get to go here that often so it’s great. My book came out today so I did The Daily Show With Jon Stewart last night and I’m going to do The View today.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)?
I have tons of opinions and lots of observations that don’t get to make it into The Office, which is why I tweet, and I just started up my blog again called, “Things I Bought That I Love.” So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to write all that stuff. Also, in The Office my boss Greg and my other boss Paul have the final say as to what goes into the show, and the slightly excited control freak in me was like, “Oh great, I can have the final say in my book!”
Describe your book in three words.
Best friends, fashion, and complaints.
What are some signs that everyone is hanging out without you?
I think the Twitter picture of a group of your friends hanging out without you has become the new devastating thing you can find.
Have you ever crashed a party you weren’t invited to?
Not recently. When I was in my twenties and I lived in New York, my friends and I would try to crash the Saturday Night Live after party. We would kind of hear from a friend of a friend or an acquaintance of where it might be, and we would try to crash it and we were never able to. This is like in 2001-2002, when I was 21-years-old. Jimmy Fallon was on the show and he was as big as the Beatles, he was basically the star of SNL. We would try to figure out a way to try to meet Jimmy Fallon.
What would you say to try to get in?
I think it was more than anything we would say, it was just a pleading look in our eyes and we would try to wear outfits that were really fun. When you’re a girl, you got it a little bit easier in terms of trying to get into a party, because basically I think what all guys worry about during a party are if enough girls are going to be there. If we had been guys, we wouldn’t even have tried because there’s no hope. You can’t crash a party if you’re a guy; it’s the most impossible task.
In your book you have a chapter called “Best Friends Rights and Responsibilities.” What happens if a friend doesn’t fulfill their responsibilities?
I have so few people I call my best friends, that once you kind of climb to that circle, that even if you mess up or do something selfish or ruin a nice cocktail dress of mine, I kind of get over it really fast. Ultimately when you love someone that much, they get a huge freebee pass to kind of do whatever they want. But they better not abuse it.
You also defend chest hair and Converse sneakers in the book, so could you tell us about your ideal man?
There are so many different kinds of an ideal guy and in the book I talk tongue-in-cheek about what they should wear, but it’s really more about confidence, I think. I think it is kind of easy for most men in general. If you want to look great it’s kind of uncomplicated—no one really has high expectations. I guess my ideal guy is wearing a nicely not-wrinkled plaid shirt with maybe one unusual color in it, cool jeans, and a pair of Converse or boots.
Who is the best-dressed guy you know?
You know who’s actually oddly a great dresser is Rainn Wilson. Of all the characters and how different they are then their character counterparts, I think Rainn is the most different. Rainn is straight up a handsome guy and he dresses awesome. He’s into indie rock and stuff and he keeps up on fashion in a way that I think is cool.
What’s your go-to outfit?
I wear my Converse low tops probably four times a week, those are something I wear all the time. When you’re a comedy writer, I think it’s rocking a grey cardigan; I wear that constantly.
What is the most embarrassing thing you own?
I bought a kilt when I saw it on a mannequin and I thought kilts were so cute. I do not have the body type that could pull off a kilt. It’s just confusing when I’m wearing a kilt. It’s both like, for children, and has Celtic connotations to it, so for me it did not look great.
What is shopping with you like?
I like to shop by myself. When I go shopping, I don’t do it all that often, so when I do go I like to spend a long time, much more than anyone has any patience for. Even my mother, who is my best friend and loves to go shopping with me, is like after two and a half hours, “I have to go.” Depending on my hours at work, if I can actually get to a department store I will spend forever there. I try on like 30 things.
What is your fashion motto?
“Wear whatever makes you feel hella good.” That’s kind of based off one of my favorite songs, “Hella Good” by No Doubt. My other fashion motto is, “What would Gwen Stefani do?” I don’t believe in timeless or elegant, they’re not adjectives that I find very interesting, and I don’t care about being able to take a picture of me now and have me fit in 50 years from now or from 50 years in the past, I don’t get why people think that’s an important quality. Trendy has a bad connotation now but I think that’s dumb. Why shouldn’t it be great that someone wants to try different things? I feel like in fashion, you’re often rewarded for being steady and classic and I just don’t get that all. So I love someone like Gwen Stefani, who even though she’s a mom and has two kids, she’s still rocking like, leopard print clogs and they look fabulous on her.
What is one of the worst ideas you’ve come up with as a writer?
I am constantly made fun of at work for an idea for The Office that Dwight finds an old Willow tree behind Dunder Mifflin that was hollowed out and was a stop for the Underground Railroad. Michael Scott wanted it to become a historical landmark for the town of Scranton, and then they found out it was just a hollowed out tree by some kind of insect or something. It was one of the weirdest and dumbest ideas and I remember pitching it very passionately and to this day I’ll get crap about it.
Give us a shameless plug!
Urban to me has always been, whether I was 17 or 30, the place where I get the best first date outfit. I always stop by there and I really love it. I think there would be a lot bad first dates, or a lot of less confident first dates without Urban Outfitters.
Buy the Book