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Mindy Kaling says the chip on her shoulder is 'not necessarily a bad thing'

The new mom opens up about her approach to style.
by Donna Freydkin / / Source: TODAY
Mindy Kaling
Nathan Congleton / TODAY

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Mindy Kaling is one of our 2018 TODAY Style Heroes. Click here to see the full list!

So many of us would happily, joyously swap our stilettos for sneakers.

Mindy Kaling is not of those ladies.

“When I go to work, I wear heels almost every day. I’m really short, so I feel like I have to wear heels to feel normal-sized. It gives me a little bit of height,” the actress and writer told TODAY Style.

She's a proud advocate for the transformative power of fashion, which she says is a byproduct of her time on the series “The Mindy Project.”

“I love clothes. I have less time to do it now that I have a baby, but I love putting together looks and outfits. I find it relaxing. I have a huge closet, because I bought so much clothing from my show when it ended. I have a teeming walk-in closet. It’s so fun to come up with combinations of looks for me,” she said.

Kaling, 38, gave birth to her daughter, Katherine, in December and since becoming a single mom, she’s not quite as focused on the sartorial. If you stopped by her house in Los Angeles, she wouldn’t greet you in a meticulously put-together outfit.

"If I didn’t have to meet with anyone, I’d be hanging out with my baby and wearing my same pair of Levi’s that are five sizes too big. That’s what I wear at home,” she said.

That being said, when she goes to work and sits down with the writers on her NBC series “Champions,” she said she likes to at least look professional. And it’s why she relished the fancy attire she wore as a jeweler in the hit film “Ocean’s 8.”

“My character is not overtly fashionable. I’m wearing Alexander McQueen and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. They make the mundane look stylish. My style in real life? I’m a comedy writer. In my heart, I dress and think like a comedy writer,” she said.

Her daughter is still so young, but Kaling is already thinking about she’s going to teach Katherine confidence. For her, it’s all about putting in the effort and proving yourself. And as she said in her Dartmouth commencement speech, it’s about owning your achievements.

“It’s good to know that you can become better at something. I’m ambitious and a hard worker because of a chip on my shoulder, which is not necessarily a bad thing,” she said. “Confidence is important and good — it’s married to hard work. If you feel like you have done hard work, it behooves you to be confident. You need to own it. I want her to be unafraid of owning that. It’s a very unattractive quality to be entitled without doing the hard work.”

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