On a day when she received a big honor, Mindy Kaling paid tribute to someone who helped her get there.
The actress and producer was on Tuesday awarded with a 2021 National Medal of the Arts by president Joe Biden at the White House, and in an Instagram post reflecting on the big moment, she shared a moving message about her late mother Swati Chokalingam.
“I wish my mom could have been there, but what are you gonna do,” Kaling said in a post on her verified Instagram page, “Nothing is perfect, but yesterday was pretty close.”
Kaling added that she was moved to hear Biden “speak about my parents, their journey to the United States, my late mother’s dreams for me, and the power of comedy to make people understand each other,” adding that it “was almost too much to take in.”
Kaling, who started her on-screen career in “The Office” and went on to star and create “The Mindy Project” on Hulu, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts after her parents immigrated to the US from India before she was born. Her mother died in 2012 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) medals are the highest awards given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. The NEA and president Biden honored Kaling for her work “across television, film, and books inspires and delights—capturing and uplifting the experiences of women and girls across our Nation,” according to a press release.
Gladys Knight, Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Bruce Springsteen and designer Vera Wang, among others, were also honored on Tuesday.
Kaling added, “I promise to spend the rest of my life earning this medal because I don’t feel like I’ve earned it yet.”