Where’s Mindy Kaling’s Body? Elle Crops Star’s Curves

Mindy's "Women in Television" cover is black and white and close-cropped — unlike those of the rest of actresses featured

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Mindy Kaling on the cover of Elle's February 2014 "Women in Television" issue

Elle released four covers for its February “Women in Television” issue on Tuesday, featuring Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Allison Williams (Girls) and Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project). Though the first three women all have full-body shots, Kaling’s cover only features her face. Twitter erupted after the covers were revealed with many accusing the fashion magazine of purposefully hiding Kaling’s fuller figure. Kaling’s body and weight have been both a source of controversy and a source of pride for curvy women everywhere before. (See all four covers below.)

Some compared Kaling’s pic to Melissa McCarthy’s coat cover for Elle’s “Women in Hollywood” issue in October. Covers for that issue featured Reese Witherspoon in a cut-out dress and Shailene Woodley in a bathing suit but relegated McCarthy to a large, figure-concealing coat. “This year, Elle’s token plus-size cover girl is McCarthy, who was photographed in a Marina Rinaldi coat so huge that she could hide her Mike and Molly co-star Billy Gardel underneath,” June Thomas of Slate wrote at the time. McCarthy, it turns out, had chosen the coat herself. But Elle also shot Gabourey Sidibe in a tight closeup in 2010 (and, some said, lightened her skin in the picture). So is it three strikes and Elle is out?

And if being accused of fat-ism wasn’t enough, critics are also suggesting Elle might be racist because Kaling’s cover is the only one shot in black and white. As Julia Sonenshein over at the Gloss puts it, “I don’t entirely understand the intention behind releasing four covers that act as a set, but painting one subject specifically as the odd-man-out.”

Defending its choice, Elle told E! News, “Mindy looks sexy, beautiful and chic. We think it is a striking and sophisticated cover and are thrilled to celebrate her in our Women in TV Issue.”

Kaling, for her part, attempted to diffuse some tension on Twitter (while plugging her TV show).

Kaling’s never been shy about talking about body image. The actress wrote in her own hilarious memoir Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?, “I fall into that nebulous, quote-unquote, normal American woman size that legions of fashion stylists detest. For the record, I’m a size 8 — this week, anyway. Many stylists hate that size because I think to them, it shows that I lack the discipline to be an ascetic; or the confident, sassy abandon to be a total fatty hedonist.”

For all we know, Kaling and her publicist may have had the last say on this picture. Or no say at all. In this writer’s opinion though, Kaling looks gorgeous, and her cover is the best of the four — for whatever that’s worth.

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15 comments
BethanyForester
BethanyForester

@BillD First of all you are possibly the biggest bigot I have ever come across.   Second of all, a size 8 is NOT. I repeat, NOT "disgustingly obese".    I know a helluva lot of women who are size 8 and toothpick thin.   So get your facts straight. 


Also, I know a lot of what you call "disgustingly obese" women who are gorgeous and could kick your prejudice little ass. What's your problem man?  Don't like it, don't look.  You don't have to go around spreading your hate. People like you are a disease, you say whatever you want and hurt millions of people in the process.  Oh but it doesn't matter right? Because fat people don't have feelings?   


Yeah. They do.   They're just like everyone else, but with a little fat on their body.  Why is that such a crime?  


I can't tell whether your serious or a troll.    If you're a troll, kudos on getting a reaction, I'm sure it's what you live for..  If not, get a life.  

BillD
BillD

Mindy Kaling is disgustingly OBESE and that is the primary reason I don't watch her stupid show. (among a few others) HTF did she even get that show???

If you want to be fat or obese, whatever, but I DO NOT want to see it!!! (on TV, at the movies, at Walmart, or anywhere else in public)

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD put some clothes on and quit letting it all hang out. I have to (try to) eat later.

(and I'm no slim jim myself, but I do not flaunt it, or inflict it on others, and I'm not "proud" of it --- being fat or obese should NEVER be okay, or condoned, or acceptable)

WTF is WRONG with people anymore???

(they have lost their sense of shame and don't know the meaning of the word 'uncouth', among other unfortunate similarities)

jerkface1001
jerkface1001

Sorry Mindy, I'd wait 12 dates, but not 13.  I'll just use photoshop instead if I want to see 'you' naked  ;o)

hummingbird
hummingbird

I feel bad for young girls who are deeply influenced by the media's idea of beauty. They don't know how to shun these ridiculous people who tell us that all women should be a stick figure in order for them to view us as beautiful. Mindy's figure should be celebrated not hidden. She looks better than those "skin and bones" women who have zero curves and have the figure of a pre-pubescent boy. The beauty industry has a warped mind and I hate that they manage to influence how many young girls and women view their bodies.

jjazznola
jjazznola

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.................. Another made up controversy by the lazy media. I would think Elle could find women more talented than these 4.

jeffrey.sill
jeffrey.sill

I think it is fair to question a set of four pics where 3 look nearly identical and one is different in color tone and scope. That being said, it is entirely possible that Mindy picked this photo as most flattering of her bunch and won't admit it because of the criticism she would get from these same people.

roccoryan
roccoryan

Obviously, those people raising their arms on this cover has issues with their own body shapes and color/race. Instead of just seeing the cover as a celebration of a beautiful woman of race (who some view as plus-sized), and just be happy with it, they still found it objectionable.

Don't hang your sh*t on someone else. Deal with your own insecurities people!!!

And shame on the media for always highlighting the 'negative' comments from a few. I'm sure more people loved the cover for what it is.

erykahlove1
erykahlove1

For one thing, I think she looks beautiful. Mindy's also such a classy lady and is clearly trying to diffuse the tension as she's probably super excited to be on the cover. If I remember correctly, Melissa Mccarthy said that she picked the coat out herself in a similar way to make her cover be less controversial. What makes me upset isn't that Kaling doesn't look absolutely stunning, it's the sheer inability of Elle editors to see the problem they created. Here is a woman  of color who has her own show that she writes and graduated from an Ivy League; essentially an excellent role model. By making her cover different, that is sending a message to the world that being a women of color or not being a size 4 or below marks you as different and needing to be fixed. While the editors were making the changes to the cover, why didn't they think of the meaning of the changes they were making? Why were they not considering that women of color are constantly being shown by media that having light skin is the standard of beauty? Or that women who aren't a size four or below are plus sized and must be photoshopped? It's upsetting that the editors of this magazine didn't follow W's suit for their February issue and show Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah just like Cate Blanchett and Jessica Lawrence. When you're making a magazine that millions of girls read and see that their favorite star who happens to be different from every other Hollywood actress in her looks is treated different, that says to them that you should be treated differently as well. If you want a great example of mainstream culture influencing how minorities are affected, look at the Clark Doll Study. I really am so glad they put Mindy on the cover and I urge everyone to watch her show or read her book because she's absolutely hilarious. However, I can't help but be tremendously upset by this cover. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

Mindy is a smart woman, i liked her twitter answer very savy.

AaryaStark
AaryaStark

@BillD  Aah.. So  *You're*  what's wrong with this world. 

Hey, more love and less power to you !

jjazznola
jjazznola

At times she looks a bit overweight to me. Nothing to be "celebrated". There is a middle ground between "skin and bones" and unhealthy. Being in shape never goes out of style.

toyouxwithlove
toyouxwithlove

@roccoryan How do they have a problem with their race/color? If anything, they're pointing out that [And this happens A LOT] they're using black and white to hide that one woman is darker.


Because yes, white people are privileged and treated better and you might have some issues with yourself if you can't see or realize that.

Mr.357
Mr.357

@jjazznola But we shouldn't shame those who are "overweight".  that was hummingbird's point.