Every little girl should have some Mindy Kaling in her life. And one very lucky little girl is getting more than anyone else. Fans of Kaling like myself know the writer/director/author/actress isn't just funny, she's next-level brilliant when it comes to calling out some of the more inane and foolish elements of this planet earth. Now, she's planning on passing her wisdom on to her little girl. In a recent interview with Shape magazine, Mindy Kaling talked about teaching her daughter body confidence. If she could just teach me next, that would be super awesome.
The Champions actress welcomed a daughter, Katherine Kaling, in December 2017. She's been super private about sharing any pictures of little Kit, as she is adorably nicknamed (and can we all just admit that Kit Kaling definitely sounds like the name of a kick ass super heroine?), but she's been open about her experience as a busy single mom. During her interview with Shape, she was refreshingly real about all things motherhood; breastfeeding, what she thought her daughter's first words might be, and body confidence. Perhaps especially body confidence, considering the article about The Mindy Project actress was focused on how she "lost the baby weight" -- a question I was sort of hoping we might stop asking new moms about 20 years ago.
But I digress.
Kaling talked to Shape about her approach to exercise, which she says is more about staying strong mentally than any sort of weight loss. As she explained:
I love working out. I don't go to therapy, and I think that's because I get endorphins from exercise. It's such a powerful tool for me mentally. I know that working out is not the path for me to be skinny. For my body type, that entails eating well and making healthy choices. Working out is a way for me to have mental strength, and now, with a kid, it's also time that I have just for myself and to focus on my body.
There's another really important reason why the Oceans 8 actress works out, too. She wants to set a good example for her daughter. Not about aesthetics, but about the power of strength and confidence.
I'm excited for my daughter to see me work out and to know that it's a normal part of my life. I wasn't raised that way, and I think when you don't see that kind of thing as a kid, it's really hard to pick it up. I would love for her to learn at a young age that exercise is a great habit to have. I didn't learn that until I was 24. I also want her to be confident.
Working in the entertainment industry, a business well known for being intolerably cruel about the way women look, holding on to the belief that strength and confidence are more important than being thin isn't always easy. Kaling knows all too well how hard it is for girls to grow up with that beauty lens overshadowing their strength and power at every turn. As she told Shape:
I was not that way as a child, and I want my daughter to be really confident all the time. I'm going to do that by always making her feel like she is good enough and not being stingy with encouraging comments. That goes against my nature a bit because I'm a critical person -- of myself, of the things I work on -- but it's very important to me to make sure I instill confidence in my daughter.
Wouldn't it be great if every little girl were taught this lesson? That exercise can be a gift you give yourself, a chance to get stronger mentally and physically, instead of a means to an end.