Vera Mindy Chokalingam (born June 24, 1979), better known as Mindy Kaling, is an American actress and writer who stars as Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom The Office. Kaling is also a co-executive producer and writer of several of the Emmy Award-winning show's episodes.
Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Tamil Hindu parents from India. She graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private school in Cambridge in 1997. The following year, she began attending Dartmouth College, where she was a member of the improvisational comedy troupe "The Dog Day Players" and the a cappella group "The Rockapellas", the creator of the comic strip "Badly Drawn Girl" in The Dartmouth (the college's mainstream newspaper), as well as writing for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern (the college's humor magazine) . She graduated in 2001. In 2003, she portrayed Ben Affleck in a play entitled "Matt & Ben", which she also co-wrote. The play was named one of Time magazine's "Top Ten Theatrical Events of The Year".
In early 2004, she was hired as a writer and performer for the American version of The Office. To date, she has written 18 episodes for the series. Originally, executive producer Greg Daniels wasn't sure where to use her onscreen in the series, until the point in the episode "Diversity Day" where Steve Carell's insensitive character Michael Scott needed to be slapped by a minority character. In a 2007 interview with The A.V. Club, Kaling stated that the Kelly character is "an exaggerated version of what I think the upper-level writers believe my personality is." After the "Diwali" episode, Kaling appeared with Daniels on NPR's Fresh Air. Kaling played Richard Lewis's assistant in a 2005 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in April 2006 she was a guest writer for one episode of Saturday Night Live. Kaling's first film role was in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which starred Steve Carell. She also made an appearance in the film Unaccompanied Minors as a waitress.