Both the magazine and the cover model loved the final result although it is strikingly different from the other three covers.
Both Elle and Mindy Kaling have responded to the controversy surrounding the "The Mindy Project" star's cover on the magazine's latest issue. In a statement to E! News, Elle argued that "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."
After the cover was released on Monday, January 6, many critics slammed the magazine for portraying Kaling differently than fellow honorees; Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) and Allison Williams (Girls). Kaling's cover is shot up-close, obstructing her whole body view while the others were shot for the usual 3/4 pose. In addition, Kaling's is the only one shot in black and white.
This is not the first time Elle has covered up its plus-size models for the cover. It released a full-length photo of "Bridesmaids" star Melissa McCarthy wearing a huge jacket that hid her curves and "Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire" star Gabourey Sidibe in a close-up shot. "It could be a total coincidence - after all, when the internet got up in arms over Melissa McCarthy's covered-up treatment, both the star and the magazine spoke out to say that McCarthy herself picked out the coat that sparked the controversy," Fashionista's Tyler McCall said.
Meanwhile, Styleite's Lauren Valenti said, "Kaling has said publicly that she's a size 8, and while that's an average size for normal women, it's not exactly the Hollywood status quo. It would have been a powerful move for Elle to show a full-length shot, especially considering that they've landed in turmoil for failing to do just that with Gabourey Sidibe."
Of the black and white shot, Julia Sonenshein said, "For all we know, Kaling picked the final picture, or requested that she be cropped out. Maybe. But that really doesn't seem all that likely, especially when you consider, as Fashionista pointed out, 'that Kaling, the only woman of color to get her own cover, is also the only cover image rendered in black and white.' I don't entirely understand the intention behind releasing four covers that act as a set, but painting one subject specifically as the odd-man-out."
Addressing the controversy, Kaling tweeted a joke, "I love my @ELLEmagazine cover. It made me feel glamorous & cool. And if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me." She wrote in another tweet, "Wishing for more skin on my @ELLEmagazine cover? Chris Messina & I are naked on a brand new #themindyproject tonight, ya pervs! 930/830 FOX. (It's actually, coincidentally, true. Thank heavens my writers constantly script nudity. So: super funny, totally nude Chris/Mindy tonight!)"