Awkwafina & Mindy Kaling Join Ocean’s 8 Cast

Earlier today, Deadline confirmed that deals are close for the initial cast of their new heist movie Ocean’s 8, directed by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games and Free State of Jones). Big names in announcement include Oscar winners Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Anne Hathaway as well as notable names like Helena Bonham-Carter and Rihanna. While the all-female principal cast of this traditionally male-centric franchise might have most people’s attention, we were intrigued by two familiar names in the announcement. Major roles in the film has been offered to Asian American actors Mindy Kaling and Nora Lum (aka Awkwafina).

Mindy Kaling is an actor, screenwriter, and author, who came to prominence as Kelly Kapoor in NBC’s hit show The Office where she also worked as a writer. Currently she’s one of TV’s precious few Asian American leads on her romantic comedy television series The Mindy Project.

Nora Lum, better known by her stage name Awkwafina, is a New York based rapper recently featured in the documentary Bad Rap. In addition to blowing up the stage and the internet every time she performs, she’s also been making strides as an actor, recently appearing in the film Neighbors 2.

No word yet on what roles the two will play in the ensemble cast, but chances are they will be part of the crew assembled around leads Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett to pull off some impossible caper. The only Asian member of George Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven trilogy was Chinese acrobat Qin Shaobo, who served as the crew’s slippery greaseman, who’s job was getting in and out of tight situations. While it’s unlikely that Kaling or Lum will be taking up Qin’s mantle, it’ll be interesting to see what characters they end up playing. The best part of heist films is watching each character have their moment of expertise and it’s going to be awesome to see these ladies con, sneak, hack,or even blow up their way into their objective.

We’ll be monitoring this story as it develops but please let us know in the comments what roles in the heist you think Mindy and Awkwafina might play!


Cover image via Peggy Sirota/People & Shirley Yu

For some inspiration and laughs, Why Not Mindy Kaling? – A Kollab Book Review

It’s not much of a secret I am a big fan of Mindy Kaling as a role model and leading woman in comedy, and when she announced her second book Why Not Me? I knew I had to read it.

Kaling, star of The Mindy Project, also wrote Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) in 2011 about her life, career, and lessons learned. Why Not Me? continues on that same theme, but includes more stories about how she worked to where she is, deserves to be there, and will stay content there until she moves on to bigger things.

“If you believe in yourself and work hard, you have a fighting shot at having your dreams come true.” – Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?

The book’s broken down into four sections, starting off with “For the Ladies,” the obligatory chapter on beauty secrets, a story about Kaling’s brief time in a sorority, and some of the friendships made in Los Angeles. The other three sections delve into her career and life, updated since her first book to include less of The Office and more about The Mindy Project. My favorite chapters in the book talk about how she got The Mindy Project, the ways that beauty standard impacts her, and the titular chapter “Why Not Me?” where she talks about self-confidence. Kaling is honest and vulnerable, but never self-deprecating to the point where it sounds like her success is a mystery or undeserved.

Her overall feeling of content and confidence mixes with a sassy, big sister tone as she recounts tales of her past and career milestones. Kaling never sounds like she’s retelling specific stories for the glamour or name-dropping, coming across as more “I’m telling this story for a reason and to inspire, but this is pretty glamorous with all these names in it, right?”

“But my secret is this: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.” – Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?

I highly suggest Why Not Me? to both fans who want to support Kaling and those who aren’t familiar with her. I wouldn’t call Why Not Me? a literary or social justice masterpiece, or particularly thought-provoking. But I feel Mindy Kaling is very under-appreciated in a business that strives to showcase its diversity. Why Not Me? is Kaling’s answer to that, asking why she doesn’t get the same recognition for doing much of what other actresses and comedienne’s already do. Because when people do think of great current role models, why not add Mindy Kaling to the list?


Featured photo courtesy of Mindy Kaling’s Twitter

Top 10 Potential Asian American ‘SNL’ Hosts

With the 40th season of Saturday Night Live approaching, SNL recently tweeted out a call for host suggestions.  We took the initiative to write up a list of Asian American talents who would rock the stage as a SNL host.

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