Mindy Kaling was rendered "speechless" when a "tipsy man in his 80s" seemingly mistook her for 17-year-old Pakistani education activist and Taliban attack survivor Malala Yousafzai, who recently became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, The New York Times reported on Friday.
The strange encounter took place earlier this month at Trump SoHo New York hotel, where the actress and writer of "The Mindy Project" was taking part in a Q&A panel during the 2014 New Yorker Festival.
The New York Times reported that the man "cornered" Kaling and started complimenting her, telling her, "Congratulations on your Nobel Prize."
Malala was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, almost two years after a masked Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head for campaigning for girls' education in Pakistan. The teen, who, unlike Kaling, wears a hijab in public and now lives in the United Kingdom, had also maintained a blog about her life under Taliban rule, published by the BBC's Urdu service.
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During his encounter with Kaling, who is of Indian heritage, the man also expressed wonder about how well she had recovered from Taliban gunshots, rendering her speechless, as well as amused, The New York Times said.
"Did he really think I'm Malala?" the newspaper quoted her as saying. "And that if I were, I'd be at the Boom Boom Room?"
"That's the best thing that's happened all night," she added.
Kaling also tweeted on Saturday, "Is it bad that my first reaction was 'YES!!! SHE IS 17!!!'?"
Kaling and Malala do have something in common—they both made Time's 100 Most Influential People list in 2013. The magazine also included the activist on its 2014's list of 25 Most Influential Teens, along with Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner.
Malala's story has touched the hearts of millions, including celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, who learned about the teen's horrific and brave story from a special person, and Angelina Jolie, who donated $200,000 to a girls' education fund named after her. David Beckham honored Malala with the Teenager of Courage Award in 2013, while Madonna paid tribute to her during a concert the year before.