PRESENTED BY
Peter Yang—August
May 23, 2022 6:06 AM EDT

You know those people who just make things happen? The ones that hear no, or are told, “It’s not going to work out,” and take that as simply a matter of opinion, and not as fact? That’s Bela Bajaria. Her career is full of gambles that have materialized into huge successes. This is a risky path that we—as women of color in entertainment—are not always encouraged to take.

Bela is helping create the future of television. The shows she has shepherded have become global phenomenons, bridging people and cultures by reminding us that, at the end of the day, we all love sex (Bridgerton), love (Indian Matchmaking), and sometimes, yes, murder competitions (Squid Game). She is opening doors for women and people of color by supporting them and giving them a platform to make hits. My show, Never Have I Ever, a coming-of-age comedy about an Indian American teen, was seen by 40 million people when it debuted on Netflix. It was Bela’s idea to make that show! I worried it would be too specific and niche to have wide appeal. Bela had the foresight to see that there is no “niche” anymore—there’s just good, relatable storytelling, which is always universal.

Kaling is an actor and an Emmy-nominated producer and writer

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