Mindy Kaling had some advice for young women while speaking at Tina Brown's Women in the World Summit in New York City on Thursday.
Moderator Alicia Menendez asked Kaling what she wants young women to know about confidence. Kaling said:
The truth is, I was not confident as a child.
She went on to say she found her confidence in writing. As a child, she said, she was "so weird" because she "just sat and observed everything." But, she added:
Because I observed everything, and because I learned my skill in private, as I got older, that grew my confidence.
Kaling then turned to young women and said:
This is controversial probably, but I don't think, necessarily, that confidence is something that you should just have.
She joked, especially in the world of reality TV, she wished fewer people just had confidence. She explained:
I think confidence should be earned. It is good to be quiet and listen to your parents and learn from them. ... Young people should have to listen and learn. That's the way I did it.
Throughout the conversation, Kaling had other gems of wisdom to pass on to young women.
She explained with her show, "The Mindy Project," she wanted to play a problematic character because, for an actor, villains are the better roles. Kaling said:
I hope that young women look to me, Mindy Kaling, as a role model, and let me play the characters I want to play.
One of the pieces of advice Kaling gave was how to handle being a manager and making decisions. When she makes a decision in a meeting, she said she leaves the room to show it's not up for negotiation and so she won't be persuaded to change her mind. Kaling said:
I'm very assertive, even to the point of being brusque, and then I just send cupcakes with a note that says, 'I'm sorry that I was so assertive!'
Kaling joked that in Hollywood, there are a plethora of options for apology gifts you can send after being assertive in a meeting.
You can send a puppy party for demanding respect -- 'I'm sorry I demanded respect at that meeting. Here's a puppy party!'
Kaling noted younger women may not have the means for a puppy party, but you can always send a note.