Mindy Kaling’s Book Is Full of Beauty Wisdom

Mindy Kaling.
Mindy Kaling. Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Mindy Kaling, the national treasure who simultaneously delivered The Mindy Project to the small screen and redefined the concept of “extremely complicated relationships,” is nothing if not forthcoming. So it comes as no surprise that her new memoir, Why Not Me?, includes an entire chapter devoted to the beauty secrets she learned while working in Hollywood. TV hair is always fake, she writes, and sheet masks help you appear human. Read below for the most useful beauty gems outlined in her book.

On the necessity of hair extensions:

“The first thing that you need to know is that the hair on your head is worthless. The color, the length, the thickness, everything. You will never see anyone on TV sporting their own God-given hair, unless it’s on, like, a sad miniseries about factory workers in East Germany.

“The real trick to having gorgeous hair is quantity. Piles of thick, cascading, My Little Pony–style hair signifies youth, so if you don’t have that, you are basically announcing that you are old and dying. To keep up with the trend, everyone uses hair extensions.”

On why brown people should spray-tan, too:

“It’s not about changing the color, it’s about evening out the color. Basically what that means is a really brave woman named Jen will show up at my house with a machine that looks like a small stainless-steel box to store a gremlin, and I will strip naked and stand in my bathroom with my arms and legs wide open and a guilty expression on my face. You don’t have to wear underwear, but I always wear mine because it’s important for Jen to know that I am classy.”

On how a robot cures her acne:

“I have had to learn some drastic ways to get rid of my zits. Only one thing has ever worked, and I have come to depend on one device, a special wand the size and weight of a remote control that shoots hot blue light into my skin.

“I bought this wand, the Tria Acne Clearing Blue Light, from my dermatologist’s office. At one point I was spending so much time with the device that I started calling him Wall-E. He looks like a fancy sex toy from Japan. His job is to ‘eliminate acne-causing bacteria deep beneath the skin’s surface,’ and I have to hold him pressed against my face for twenty minutes every night.”

On the importance of lighting:

“Lighting in television and film is the real key to always looking beautiful. I hired my cinematographer, Marco Fargnoli, based on one thing and one thing alone: his impressive and serious-sounding Italian name. I can always count on Marco to make me look luminous and adorable, like that kid who is fishing from the moon in the DreamWorks logo. So my advice to you is: Try to befriend a cinematographer and have him or her light you wherever you go.”

On skin-saving sheet masks:

“If I haven’t gotten enough sleep, it shows. You know how on The Walking Dead when a human gets bitten by a zombie, there’s that fifteen-minute window after they are infected when they are transforming into a zombie, and their insides liquefy and their eyes turn into milky goo? That’s what I look like.

“But no one in America will ever know that, because on those bad-sleep days, my makeup artist Cindy applies a beauty mask to my face. It can be any calming mask. I keep mine in the fridge, because there are two things Mindy Kaling likes cold: beer and beauty masks.”

On advice from Kim Kardashian:

“The most valuable thing I learned from Kim Kardashian is that your arm must never lie flat against your body. … I remember hearing her say that when you put your hand on your hip, it makes your arm look thinner and draws attention to your waist. I tried it and love it! So I started doing it whenever I was getting my picture taken.”

Mindy Kaling’s Book Is Full of Beauty Wisdom