Mindy Kaling Was Mistaken for Malala Yousafzai, Because of Course She Was

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You might think that two high-profile women working in completely separate spheres and almost 20 years apart in age couldn't possibly be confused for one another. Alas, you would be wrong.

The latest episode in facepalm-worthy mix-ups comes to us by way of the New York Times, which on Friday featured a story about writer and comedian Mindy Kaling. The piece was dedicated to Kaling's time at the New Yorker Festival, and tucked away at the bottom was this gem:

As [Kaling] stood by the banquettes, a tipsy man in his 80s cornered her and showered her with compliments, apparently mistaking her for Malala Yousafzai. "Congratulations on your Nobel Prize," he said, before expressing wonder at how well she had recovered from Taliban gunshots.

Ms. Kaling was speechless. "Did he really think I'm Malala?" she said when he was safely out of sight. "And that if I were, I'd be at the Boom Boom Room?"

Still, she thought it was pretty funny: "That's the best thing that's happened all night."

Two women who both happen to be of South Asian descent are definitely the same person, right!? Of course!

In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a terrible crime — most of us have said some regrettable things while sipping on a cocktail — and Kaling's reaction was a lighthearted one. Though, to be fair, one might expect the crowd at the New Yorker Festival to be a bit more aware of the "goings on about town."

As Vox's Max Fischer notes, "This story came to my attention when it was shared on Facebook by every South Asian and South Asian-American woman I have ever met; Kaling's experience, it seems, is not a totally alien one."

Better luck next time, unnamed tipsy octogenarian.

h/t Vox