Kaling wore a glam outfit by Sherina Dalamal and Payal Asnani — known as Cherie D — for a Lion Pose and Dagne Dover event
Mindy Kaling loves a splash of color, but for her most recent Diwali event, she decided to step outside the box and wear classic black.
She also wore pants.
“This is a little bit of an unusual silhouette for an Indian event, and I was really excited,” Kaling, 44, tells PEOPLE at a Diwali celebration she co-hosted with Lion Pose and Dagne Dover.
Normally she says she reaches for something traditional but she was happy to wear pants this time around — and she turned to luxury brand Cherie D, run by Indian women Sherina Dalamal and Payal Asnani, for her glam look.
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“They were showing me all these different silhouettes and they're like, ‘We also have pants,’” Kaling says. “And I was like, ‘I would love to go to a fancy event during Diwali week and be able to wear pants.’ So yeah, it's kind of fun because I've never done a peplum-y pants silhouette before.”
Though Kaling was thrilled with her glam pants for the Diwali celebration — as was her son Spencer, 3, she says — daughter Katherine, 5, thought she could have done better with her look.
“My daughter, who is very traditionalist, was like, ‘How come you’re not wearing a gown?’” Kaling tells PEOPLE. “She saw I was wearing pants and she thought in her mind it was less fancy. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me right now? This is the most fancy I’ve looked in months.’ And she’s like, ‘Pants.’ Phoned it in. She’s hard to please.”
On a more serious note, though, Kaling admits that her decision to wear black for the event and in recent weeks stems from the writers’ strike and SAG-AFTRA strike that’s been happening in Hollywood. Kaling says the heavy nature of the events affecting her work naturally affected her overall mood as well — and that came across in her clothing.
“I think there was something about when we were on strike that it felt less natural for me to be like, ‘I’m going to wear bright pink,’ or the bright jewel tones that I normally wear,” she says. “It just felt like because I’m not working, so many people are out of work, and I felt like I was a little bit more serious.”
But even though she wore black for this event, celebrating India’s Festival of Lights, Kaling’s outfit was still ultra glam and included jewels, beads and even feathers. Feathers may not be her norm but she says she can’t have a Diwali without the glitz and glam. And there’s no such thing as too much!
“I'm wearing bracelets on both wrists. I'm wearing rings on all my fingers, giant earrings. I would've worn a necklace if I had one. Do you know what I mean? It's the Festival of Lights, so you’ve got to shimmer and sparkle as much as you can,” she says.
And when it comes to this important holiday, she’s making sure her children are involved and educated. Kaling says her family celebrated Diwali when she was young, but because her parents were busy immigrants, they didn’t have time to spend teaching her about the history of the holiday. She wants it to be different for her own children.
Kaling even wrote an entire episode of The Office about it.
“One of the jokes in it is how little [my] character Kelly knew about it,” she says. “Which was full overlap with me not knowing a ton about it.”
Kaling continues, “It's been something that I've been psyched for because in the past three, four years it has become such a bigger holiday with so much more visibility. The kids know about it because the school does these functions for it. I'm playing catch-up. I'm doing a lot of reading about it and learning and asking my friends and my aunts and uncles what they did, because it wasn't something that was this big holiday for us growing up. Of course, I knew about Diwali. For my kids, it’s going to be way more pervasive.”
One thing’s easy, though, when it comes to Diwali — she’s gifting everyone on her list with Lion Pose. The skincare brand, which Kaling invested in, is her go-to pick because “it's obviously all Indian-founded, and it works and I love it.” Also on her gifting list? “Sweets are a big thing.”
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