Kelly Kapoor, the materialistic customer service representative on "The Office," is often chatting about her latest shopping spree or the most recent reality show competition with her Scranton-based co-workers. The truth is, so is Mindy Kaling, the actress and "Office" writer who brings Kelly to life during NBC's Thursday night lineup.
Kaling recently put together a collection of personal stories and keen observations in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and her comedic chops certainly shine throughout the book -- as if we needed more proof of her talent.
The Huffington Post chatted with Kaling about the book, including some of her "embarrassing" online shopping habits, her quiet childhood and what she really thinks of Steve Carell.
What are the differences between you and Kelly?
I think Kelly can be a little bit dishonest in order to get what she wants by, like, faking a pregnancy, and things like that. She's got the motivation of a soap opera character.
How are you alike?
We're both slightly materialistic in the same way. We really love clothing. It's actually interesting to me what's going on in Gwen Stefani's life. We both love reality TV, and we both love the color pink.
So it sounds like you have a lot in common.
Yeah, we're embarrassingly a lot alike.
When you have to write, how much of your time is really spent shopping online?
If I'm being focused and I have a deadline, it's probably 85 to 90 percent work. But if there's no deadline and it's on the weekend, then the percentages are switched.
How much do you buy online?
I buy a lot, but I return a lot. Otherwise I'd be bankrupt. I'm happy when the UPS man comes, but I also get embarrassed because I think he thinks I have a shopping problem. But he's not there when I return things! I feel like I need to explain to him that I don't have a compulsive shopping disorder.
You studied at Dartmouth. Are you a right-wing conservative?
That's definitely the stereotype about Dartmouth. It's definitely more conservative than other schools in the Ivy League, but I didn't find it to be the way it's been mythologized.
You write about your weight in the book.
Like most people, I would love to lose 10 pounds. I'm a fan of dieting because it's a fun, fad, trendy thing to do, and I like adhering to trends and fads. The last diet I did was a juice cleanser which was good.
And you love Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop.com.
I like her recipes. I like when she tapes herself making a roast chicken or something. I think they're really fun to watch.
We've seen you on TV in an office setting, but what were you like as a kid?
I was a pretty quiet kid. There's kind of a joke in my family that I didn't talk 'til I was 14 or 15, but that's just because in my family the adults were the people you were supposed to listen to. It wasn't even that they were particularly strict; it's just my brother and I grew up in awe of our parents and we were like, "Well, we can't contribute what they can." They didn't put any premium on us being really chatty, expressive, know-it-all kids, which I think was good. I was quiet and I was a big eater, which I still am today.
You repeatedly mention throughout the book how horrid your "Office" co-star Rainn Wilson is.
I hope it came through in the book that I was kidding. I was a little worried because I adore him, but in the book it was so much more fun to list all the reasons why he's terrible. Then I realized I never wrote a piece about us having a good time, and I thought, "Oh, this could seem like we're terrible foes."
It's Steve Carell who is really horrid, right?
No, unfortunately. He's the nicest and smartest guy.