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Mindy Kaling Responds to Elle Controversy

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Allison Williams, Mindy Kaling, Zooey Deschanel, and Amy Poehler are featured in Elle. (Carter Smith/Elle)

 Mindy Kaling doesn't have any beef with Elle … at least not that she wants to talk about publicly.

The magazine created a controversy Monday when it released the four covers of its February "Women in TV" issue. The images, featuring a size-8, Indian-American Kaling, as well as Zooey Deschanel, Amy Poehler, and Allison Williams all separately, were beautifully shot, but something was different about Kaling's image. Her photo, filtered in black and white, was cropped so that only her head and some décolletage was in view, while the other covers showed TV's leading ladies flaunting their figures in full color.

Though the Internet was quick to call foul on the glossy, 34-year-old Kaling herself isn't miffed — at least not enough to start a Twitter feud over it. On Tuesday, she responded with her usual humor and a plug for her show.

Elle, for its part, retweeted "The Mindy Project" creator/star/writer's first tweet. The magazine also gave a statement: "Mindy looks sexy, beautiful and chic. We think it is a striking and sophisticated cover and are thrilled to celebrate her in our Women in TV Issue."

It's not surprising that Kaling wouldn't want to keep the focus on her appearance. She explained in an interview with Parade in September that it takes away attention from her work.

"There are little Indian girls out there who look up to me, and I never want to belittle the honor of being an inspiration to them," she said. "But while I'm talking about why I'm so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art."

She continued, "I always get asked, 'Where do you get your confidence?' I think people are well meaning, but it's pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, 'You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You're not skinny, you're not white, you're a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you're worth anything?'"

As Yahoo Shine pointed out, Elle has a "murky history when it comes to showcasing fuller-figured women." (In this case, fuller figured actually means not Hollywood skinny.) Readers were up in arms last October, when Elle's cover showed plus size-star Melissa McCarthy covered with a coat, even though alternate covers with Reese Witherspoon and other actresses were shown with less clothing. The same thing happened in 2010, when Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe, who happens to be plus size, was featured in a cover image that showed her only from the chest up.

What do you think of Elle's decision to make Kaling's cover a close-up? What do you think of her response?

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