Mindy Kaling portrayed Kelly Kapoor in NBC's The Office but it was the actresses' work behind the camera that served as her big break - and that helped her career take off after The Office ended. Before her hire on the sitcom, the Dartmouth grad served as an intern on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and also spent time on the stand-up comedy circuit. Kaling was then hired as a writer and actor on The Office, a role that would expand as time went on. She eventually left during The Office's ninth and final season to branch out with other projects.
During Kaling's time working on The Office, she appeared in the series Curb Your Enthusiasm. The actress also made her film debut in 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin alongside her co-star from The Office, Steve Carell. Kaling then appeared in a number of comedy films, including Unaccompanied Minors, License to Wed, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, No Strings Attached, and The Five-Year Engagement. In addition, Kaling voiced characters in the hit-animated movies Despicable Me and Wreck-It Ralph.
Kaling made her TV directorial debut with The Office season 6 episode "Body Language". Following that season, she signed a new contract and was promoted to executive producer. Around that time, she released her first biographical novel, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns). Kaling left The Office but returned to appear in the sitcom's series finale. Her exit was due to Kaling's new solo series, The Mindy Project, which she wrote, produced, and starred in. Three seasons of the series aired on Fox before it shifted to Hulu for the final three installments. In those years, Kaling also appeared in Sesame Street and The Muppets.
Kaling's movie career also continued to grow following the conclusion of The Office. She starred as herself in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's apocalyptic comedy, This Is the End. She then voiced Disgust in Pixar's 2015 film, Inside Out. That same year, Kaling appeared in the Christmas comedy The Night Before and released her second biographical novel, Why Not Me?. In 2018, Kaling starred in Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time alongside Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. That same year, Kaling was a member of Ocean's 8's stellar cast that included Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter.
More recently, the former star and writer of The Office co-created the NBC comedy Champions. She also appeared in the series as Priya Patel but the sitcom was cancelled after one season. Kaling cameoed in a 2018 episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in the role of Cindy. In June 2019, Kaling's film, Late Night, debuted. Not only did she star in the film but she wrote the script as well. Kaling's other project of the year, Four Weddings and a Funeral, premiered in July. She co-created, wrote, and executive produced the Hulu series. Next up, Mindy Kaling appears in the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show, alongside Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. A coming-of-age series based on Kaling's upbringing is also in the works at Netflix.