Mindy Kaling stars in “Late Night” as a new writer on a late-night talk show who struggles to crack its White boys’ club. Kaling, who wrote the film, discusses how the movie parallels her own experience as an Indian-American woman for Variety magazine’s new cover story. 

 

“Obviously I’m making a comedy movie, so things are exaggerated for comic effect, but similar things have happened to me in my career,” Kaling says about the film, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival tomorrow (January 25). “It’s not so much that the people in the film that I portray are bigoted. They’ve just been sheltered by the status quo. And every one of these people in the movie change. They’re not evil. They evolve.”

Kaling’s own evolution took her from being the only female writer of color on “The Office” to being a star with the power to draft other women of color for projects. For instance, “Late Night” director Nisha Ganatra previously worked with Kaling on her Fox/Hulu series, “The Mindy Project.”

“For many years, I thought that hard work was the only way you could succeed, but it’s simply not true,” she says. “Particularly if you’re a woman of color, you need people to give you opportunities, because otherwise it won’t happen. Talent is an important part of success, but you also need mentors to find promise in people that don’t necessarily seem like they will fit in.”

Read more about Kaling’s professional arc at Variety.com.