Mindy Kaling Shares the Fashion Item She'll Pass Down to Her Daughter One Day
Every Christmas when I was in college, I went to Honolulu with my best friend, Jocelyn, to visit her family. Jocelyn’s mother, Hai Luen, was a Juilliard-trained pianist, a former model, and an all-around amazing person who essentially became an auntie to me. She and I shared a love for beautiful jewelry, particularly pieces made with black pearls. She used to take us to Chinatown to shop at the best vendors, and I remember always being struck by how dramatic and gorgeous the stones were up close. When Hai Luen passed away in 2012, sadly within a few weeks of my own mom’s death, Jocelyn gave me Hai Luen’s collection of loose pearls as a way to remember her.
Each stone was so wonderfully unique. I brought them to L.A. jeweler Kirsty Stone to find a way to showcase them together. It took about six months to design the necklace, add a row of diamonds, and get the pearls to hang the right way, but it turned out perfectly. Whenever I put it on, it reminds me of Hai Luen—and the bond between mothers and daughters. She’s a role model for the type of mother I want to be. I know I want to pass this necklace on to my own daughter one day just to be able to tell her the story behind it.
—As told to Jennifer Ferrise