Mindy Kaling, Senator Booker to go on dinner date

Actress Mindy Kaling (above) and Democratic Senator Cory Booker have between them 10 million Twitter followers.
Actress Mindy Kaling (above) and Democratic Senator Cory Booker have between them 10 million Twitter followers.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Actress Mindy Kaling and Democratic Senator Cory Booker (above) have between them 10 million Twitter followers.
Actress Mindy Kaling and Democratic Senator Cory Booker (above) have between them 10 million Twitter followers.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • It was a match made in Twitter heaven.

If you blinked - or were more focused on actual politics - you might have missed it. Sandwiched between a flurry of tweets about "#Trumpcare" last Friday, United States Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey found the social media space to ask actress Mindy Kaling out to dinner.

Here is the backstory: On her Hulu show, The Mindy Project, Kaling's character, also named Mindy, thrashes Mr Booker and his district with the punchline "Cory Booker? I can't believe he came. I guess anything to get out of Newark, huh?"

He took umbrage, defending his state, but added, "I still (heart emoji) U!" She responded that her character often "shades" stuff that is cool, that is, Jersey, and that the love is mutual.

Next, Mr Booker, not content to let polite retweets lie, invited Kaling to dinner in Newark. The actress, who lives in Los Angeles, replied in the affirmative.

The back and forth continued, but no official date was set - at least not in front of the duo's 10 million combined followers. To say all this smacks of a publicity stunt would be an understatement. Within an hour, there were plugs for the state of New Jersey, its transport system, Kaling's show and even the ride-sharing app, Lyft.

But Kaling, 37, has dipped her dating toe into political waters before. She wrote about a heavy texting relationship with a "well-connected DC person" in her second collection of essays, titled Why Not Me?. Things did not work out between her and her mystery man, who The Washington Post learnt was then-White House aide Robert "Bobby" Schmuck, but she enjoyed her brief proximity to power, according to her book.

For his part, Mr Booker, 47, whom everyone thinks will give rapper and presidential aspirant Kanye West a run for his money in 2020, has been linked to several young women since stepping onto the national stage.

In 2013, he was linked to entertainment lawyer Bianca Levin and, more recently, he has been seen out and about with "Instagram poet" Cleo Wade.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Mindy Kaling, Senator Booker to go on dinner date'. Print Edition | Subscribe