Mindy Kaling isn't your average girl next door. She is so much more. Wickedly talented, smart, funny and stylish, she's that woman that guys and girls want to get to know. Her allure comes from being the real deal. An open book, she's not afraid to share her thoughts and feelings — and sometimes even tends to overshare. That's why when news of her pregnancy first surfaced, it was so odd that Mum was the word from the normally vocal and vivacious comedy queen.
But in an interview with Willie Geist on "Sunday Today," set to air in its entirety on Sept. 10, the actress finally opened up about her pregnancy and what's to come.
"It's so unknown to me," the 38-year old star revealed in a preview clip of the sit-down interview. "I have a lot of control over a lot of aspects of my life, and this is one where I'm like, 'OK, it's out of my hands,' which is kind of a fun feeling."
As a South Asian mom, I am over the moon about this surprise pregnancy. The #FirstTimeISawMe hashtag suddenly sprawled across my mind like a stock ticker the moment I heard the news. FINALLY.
When I was pregnant, I admittedly flipped through those celebrity mags, skipping straight to the baby news section, suddenly more than ever interested in celeb baby bumps, nonsense names, designer clothes and vacays with the hot nanny in tow.
Sometimes a preggo momma can use a little fantasizing about the glamour life while she's sitting pretty in the local nail salon. Of course, a lot of the luxury lifestyle of these celebrity mommas, especially "I lost all my baby weight in six weeks," is incredibly demoralizing and de-motivating for real-life moms who don't have a full staff of fitness trainers, chefs and child-minders in their back pocket.
But beyond the lifestyle difference, there are cultural differences. There was never a pregnant celeb that LOOKED like me. Until Mindy. It is the first time as western South Asian women THAT we have someone we can relate to. She represents both aspiration and accessibility, and we can envy and be enamoured with her all at once.
There was never a pregnant celeb that LOOKED like me. Until Mindy.
One thing we all have in common as South Asian sisters are those meddling Aunties. (An Auntie is basically any elder female — anyone from an actual relative, the ladies in yours mom's kitty party crew to that random Indian cashier at the grocery store). Being pregnant means the unsolicited advice and superstitious warnings just come in at lightning speed from these "well-intentioned" Aunties, some of whom you've never even met until said advice. "Don't eat lentils on a Friday. Don't wash your hair on a Tuesday. Pray to the sun. Pray to the moon."
The solar eclipse this week had all the brown pregnant women in a tizzy with with so many superstitions around what they should and shouldn't do. Mindy may be famous, but even she's not immune to the "Auntie Effect," and I can't wait to hear how my sheroe handles it.
I am thrilled to follow her adventures in motherhood as I navigate my own — the good, the bad and the ugly. And believe me, some days can get oh-so-ugly. Which is why I'm so looking forward to seeing how Mindy tackles motherhood in all of its miraculous wonders and ridiculously challenging glory.
Mindy is hoping to draw parenting inspiration from her own mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2012. "My mom was incredibly fierce and so devoted to us, just loved us and really wanted us to be happy no matter what we did," Kaling told Geist of her mom, who was an OB/GYN. "My career choice was not something that she was familiar with and she was just so supportive of that. And if I could give that to my child, just that open-mindedness, I'd be so happy."
While B.U.M.P. (Baby Under Manufacturing Process) is Mindy's most important project, it hasn't put a halt on the others. She has her hands full currently filming the "Mindy Project," which will return to Hulu for its sixth and final season on Sept. 12.
We'll also see Mindy on the big screen early next year when "A Wrinkle in Time" hits theaters in March.
Directed by Ava DuVernay and also co-starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, it was actually at Disney's D23 expo in July while promoting the film that news of Mindy's pregnancy first surfaced.
While standing in the film's press line, Mindy casually told her castmates the news. "That's when she told me. My mouth dropped," Winfrey told People. " 'What did you just say?' she said, 'Oh, Oprah, I don't think you know. I'm five months pregnant.' And I said, 'WHAAAAT?!' " None of the 'Wrinkle" team knew about it ahead of that.
I love that Mindy is managing her pregnancy news on her terms — when and how she wants — as it should be. She is still keeping tight-lipped about who the father is. And so the guessing games will continue until she reveals the paternity.
I'm a Hindu and my husband is a Catholic, so there are certainly hurdles to cross with different cultural and religious backgrounds. But there are also some pretty awesome "let love rule" experiences in raising interracial and interfaith children. Depending on Mindy's baby daddy, I'm curious to see if she will be faced with similar scenarios as myself and how she will broach some of those heavy topics like faith.
In true Mindy style, she joked to Geist "As you know, it's so easy to criticize parenting until you're a parent. So one of the nice things about becoming a parent is I will be able to openly criticize other parenting because I will have a child."
And that brutal honesty is why we love her so.
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