Mindy Kaling, the actress, writer, producer and director who has broken down racial and gender barriers in the entertainment industry, has a piece of advice for all women.
“I wish every 19-year-old girl would come home from college and that the gift—instead of buying them jewelry or a vacation or whatever—is that their parents would take them to freeze their eggs,“ Kaling says in a recent interview with Marie Claire. “They could do that once and have all these eggs for them, for their futures…to focus in your 20s and 30s on your career, and yes, love, but to know that when you’re emotionally ready, and, if you don’t have a partner, you can still have children.” She says that she wishes that the cost of freezing eggs was cheaper and is open to joining the boards of or investing in companies that could provide more accessible healthcare options in that regard.
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Kaling, 43, is a single mother of two (Katherine, 5, and Spencer, 2). “I waited until I had the means and that made all the difference,” she says, then addresses the privilege in her statement given the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade. “The choice to have a child—by yourself, on your own terms—was the best part of my life...It’s the thing that I hope women feel confident doing by themselves.”
Becoming a mother has helped Kaling let go of a harsh inner-critic that plagued her during her younger years. After the loss of her mother, Swati Chokalingam, in 2012 to pancreatic cancer and “working 14,16, hours a day” to launch The Mindy Project, she made the decision to begin seeing a therapist—every Saturday at 11 a.m. for one year—to process the loss. Kaling reflects on how therapy was viewed when she grew up explaining that, “If someone you knew or someone in your family or extended family was seeing a therapist or seeing a psychologist or going on medication or anything like that, it was seen as a real problem, a real sadness [or] tragedy for a family. That’s just the way that I was raised—[like] the other Indian people around me…[Families] try to deal with it through closed doors and certainly not by asking someone outside of your family or outside of the community for help with that.” When she had kids, Kaling says, it “crystallized” that she wanted to break down those barriers. “I don’t want my kids to grow up that way. And I don’t wanna be that way for myself,” she says.
Kaling’s production company, Kaling International, launched in 2012, with an eye on fostering South Asian talent on and off screen. “After being so unhappy in my teenage years and in my 20s…I feel so content now,” Kaling reveals. “I am so happy with my career. I love my family. I love my freedom—I have the freedom that comes with being financially stable, and I don't have to run anything by anybody.…I love going to set and watching these actors saying my words and coming up to me and asking my take on things…It’s beyond the wildest dreams that my late mother could have hoped for me.”