- The Indian American writer, producer and actress is on one of the three worldwide covers of the magazine and is listed in The Pioneers category.
Mindy Kaling’s Kaling International and Alphabet, Google’s parent company headed by Sundar Pichai, are among the second annual TIME 100 Most Influential Companies list, for making an extraordinary impact around the world. The writer, producer and actress is on one of the three worldwide covers of the magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies issue and is listed in The Pioneers category. Alphabet is among the companies in The Titans section of the list.
TIME says Kaling, 42 “is relieved to work mostly behind the scenes,” after 17 years in front of the camera. “I used to spend so much time, especially as a performer, on how to be more likable, be cool, be maternal, to seem smart and approachable,” she told the magazine. She admitted that focusing on the story has allowed her to “strip away ego and vanity” and do the best writing of her career. She launched her own production company, Kaling International, in 2012, “with the goal of telling stories about the inner lives of women of color that have long been missing from TV,” the magazine notes.
The company currently employs exactly four people, according to TIME. Kaling, her producing partner Jessica Kumai Scott, and their two assistants. “And yet somehow it is working on nearly two dozen projects—17 shows and six movies, to be precise,” says TIME. “By contrast, the production companies Kaling cites as her inspiration, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, employ dozens.”
Among series she has written for include “The Office,” “The ICY Project,” “Never Have I Ever,” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” She told TIME that her most recent series – “the Netflix high school comedy ‘Never Have I Ever’ and HBO Max romp ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls,’ are her biggest critical and commercial hits to date.” Citing 2020 figures, TIME notes that “40 million households watched the first season of ‘Never Have I Ever,’ “a coming-of-age drama that centers on an Indian American teen who is juggling hormones and the pressures of family life alongside AP classes. “And the bawdy but sweet ‘Sex Lives of College Girls’ — which follows four college roommates from different geographical, economic, and ethnic backgrounds— is one of HBO Max’s most successful series to date,” it adds.
Kaling told TIME that she picked her company’s name because it made her laugh to think that one day it could be “considered a huge corporation, like Shell Oil.” Noting that she’s “very ambitious,” she admitted that she would love for her company to be like [Oprah’s] Harpo.
TIME notes that the production company has “cemented her transition from rising star to queenmaker.” She told the magazine: “I transitioned from being somebody whose primary concern was keeping the show on the air to someone who was like, ‘I’m also a mentor.
Currently, Kaling International “is actively developing projects about subjects other than teen girls in part to prove its range,” TIME notes, including a comedy about a female basketball executive inspired by the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office, an adaptation of the Jennifer Weiner bestseller “Good in Bed,” a series for FX about Kari Ferrell, and a show starring Mindy Project actor Xosha Roquemore loosely based on Roquemore’s life as a working mom in Hollywood. Kaling is also producing and starring in “Velma,” an animated Scooby-Doo spinoff. She is also teaming with Priyanka Chopra Jonas for a movie set at an Indian wedding.
Sundar Pichai-led Alphabet has “nearly doubled its annual revenue last year despite mounting regulatory pressure, thanks to both its continued dominance of online advertising and its investment in artificial intelligence (AI),” TIMES notes, and credits its CEO for introducing it five years ago.