Plus: What Kaling thinks about weddings and her former boyfriend B.J. Novak

By Char Adams
Updated September 15, 2015 09:00 AM
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Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Comedian Mindy Kaling might seem like a picture of confidence and loving-the-skin-you’re-in. But in her new book Why Not Me?, the actress reveals that inside, she’s just as insecure about her body as anyone.

“I don’t wake up in the morning, look at my naked body in the mirror and say, ‘Good morning, body. Once again, you’ve nailed it, you gorgeous imperfect thing,’ ” the 36-year-old wrote in the book, which was released on Tuesday. ” The fact of the matter is, I absolutely do try to conform to normal standards of beauty. I am just not remotely successful at it.”

The 36-year-old describes how she endured a 21-day juice cleanse so that she could drop a dress size to film scenes for The Mindy Project alongside James Franco. And she confessed that despite the torment and sleepless nights, she loved her slimmer figure.

Just because Kaling projects an image of body-confidence, doesn’t mean she loves being called ‘curvy.’ In her book, she recalled seeing herself in a magazine at her dentist’s office. She was listed as part of a feature called “Curvy Celebs We Adore!” She wrote that she felt panicked as she looked at the actresses who were “much bigger than me” and wondered, “they’re kind of being liberal with the term ‘curvy’ aren’t they?’ ”

“The absurdity of wanting a magazine to have stricter criteria for their piece about non-skinny celebrities was embarrassing and sad,” The Mindy Project star wrote. “I’m not proud of the moment, but it’s an example of when I, too, have fallen victim to my own insecurities.”

Kaling revealed that she had the willpower to maintain a juice for three weeks for two reasons: First, she was set to film a scene on The Mindy Project in which she would be appear in a whipped-cream bathing suit, é la Varsity Blues.

She explained: “The second was that James Franco was going to be on the show and I was going to have a lot of scenes with him. Like every heterosexual woman and gay man in the country, I think James is a very mysterious and sexy weirdo … I didn’t want him to feel my bra-strap pudge on the set.”

Kaling also admitted that she loved the results of her crash-diet.

“Costume fittings were, of course, the best. My jeans hung on me and everything looked so good. I could wear things I had long ruled out for myself, like jeans shorts and midriff-showing tops. Basically I could dress like a slutty teenage hitchhiker and it felt great,” she wrote.

She may have looked great, but her sleep was suffering: “I would just lie in my bed, grinding my teeth, waiting for dawn to break,” she wrote.

Not every cleanse went well. One ended when a writer offered her French fries and she “lunged at him and ate all of his fries standing a foot away from the trash can.”

The actress was open and honest in her new book as she tells about her insecurities, body-image and her love of sex scenes. But Kaling also dished about why she “really, really” doesn’t like weddings.

Kaling points out that in the course of life (marriages, careers etc.), time to maintain friendships becomes less and less and some of the only time she gets to have dinner with friends is when she attends their weddings.

She weighs in on bridesmaids (a job she says, no one wants) and groomsmen (she says they do “absolutely nothing”), but then she gets to her real frustrations.

“At it’s heart, my annoyance or impatience with my friends’ weddings stems from my own panic and abandonment issues. ‘Why are you leaving me behind like this, friend?‘ ”

Although friendships may grow harder and harder to maintain, Kaling speaks highly of one longtime pal (and ex-boyfriend) in her life: B.J. Novak.

Novak was the producer of The Mindy Project pilot and once played Kaling’s on-screen boyfriend on The Office.

In her book, the actress described her ex-boyfriend as her “soul mate,” or in true, hilarious Kaling fashion, her “soup snake” (the term comes from an episode of The Office in which Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, fumbles over his words and calls love interest Holly his “soup snake” instead of soul mate).

“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. is weird as hell. He is not my boyfriend, but he is not exactly my best friend. The best way I would describe him is that he is my ex-husband I don’t think Facebook would accept that as a new status. They would just categorize it as ‘it’s complicated.’ ”

“But it’s not complicated to me. He’s my soup snake.”