Mindy Kaling has dominated our hearts much like she’s dominated the entertainment industry: with tons of grace, wit, intelligence, and comedy. The writer/actor/producer/director turns 35 today, and while we could go on and on about all the reasons we consider her the best friend we never had, we’ve thought long and hard and boiled it all down to the top 10 life lessons she’s taught us.
Happy birthday, Mindy! Love, your NYLON BFFs.
Lesson #1: Think about things in the weirdest way possible.
When Good Will Hunting came out, there were claims that Matt and Ben had shown zero screenwriting potential before the film. Mindy and her friend Brenda then thought of the idea that the screenplay had fallen out of the sky in Matt and Ben’s living room and thus, Matt & Ben, the play that gave Mindy her start in the entertainment industry, was born.
Lesson #2: Be daring in everything you do, especially fashion.
Mindy has some of the best style out there because she’s not afraid to stand out. Embrace at least one out-of-the-ordinary fashion statement: Mix prints, rock some bold colors, or throw on a crop top. Then force your best friend to take a picture of you and post it on Instagram. #ootd
Lesson #3: Don’t be your own worst enemy.
At a SXSW panel, Mindy said, “I can’t think about my legacy because it stops me from being productive—it’s a distraction. I don’t want to stop being who I am, but I can’t rely on it…You can get hung up and say [you’re] the victim, or you can be in charge of the situation.” Preach it, girl.
Lesson #4: Always be confident in yourself.
As long as you’re secure in yourself, nothing else matters. Not even backhanded compliments.
Lesson #5: Rom-coms are awesome, duh.
The Mindy Project is essentially one über-relatable rom com and it’s one of the funniest shows on television. Plus, there’s nothing that tops off a good day of R&R like a When Harry Met Sally viewing.
Lesson #6: Don’t let the past weigh you down.
In Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself: 50 Topics to Share with Friends, Mindy says, “What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also a big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”
It doesn’t matter if your childhood best friend just happened to be a fictional TV character. You might even become some other kid’s in the long run.
Lesson #7: Make the best of every situation, even a Windsor Terrace roast-infested railroad apartment.
Post-grad life is tough, especially in the Big Apple. But Mindy chose to look on the bright side of things, focusing spending time with on her two best friends/roommates, one of which was Brenda Withers, Mindy’s Matt and Ben co-writer.
Lesson #8: “Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”
No explanation necessary.
Lesson #9: Be inventive.
Whether it’s creating your own show, or creating your own non-sexy picnic blanket Halloween costume, do your own thing.
Lesson #10: Always stay hydrated…
Especially in Vegas.