When Winfrey, 64, invited her A Wrinkle in Time co-stars to a screening of the film at her home — which Kaling calls "the nicest home in America" — the former Mindy Project star was nervous to bring now 5-month-old Katherine along.
"She'd been really fussy, she'd been fussy the whole way. And I'm like 'Oh my god, am I going to be the person that brings a screaming baby into Oprah's cathedral of beauty and art?' And the minute we went in I was like, 'Katherine, please. Please. You have no idea how high the stakes are right now,'" Kaling recalls on Monday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "And we walked into the door and her eyes went wide, and she stopped crying like she knew she was in Oprah's house. And then she was just like coyly smiling and being adorable for, like, the next four hours."
"When you get cast in a movie like that, you're like oh god, Rihanna is a computer genius in the movie. Other people are, like, expert pickpockets and I'm, like, please don't let me be the person who gets bitten by a dog to distract them while they rob the Met Gala," Kaling quips. "Where they're doing something cool and they're like, 'Hey, Mindy, we need you to fall down some stairs as a diversion.'"
Adding to the fear factor was Rihanna herself.
"[Rihanna] was amazing and I'm so intimidated by her because I feel like movie stars are here and then pop stars are here. Because they can do whatever they want and no one thinks it's crazy or weird," Kaling notes. "And so when I met Rihanna I was like, 'Hi, Rihanna, it's great to meet you.'"
The actress recalls reintroducing herself to Rihanna just days later to hilarious results.
"She's like, 'I know, we're in a movie together.' And I was like, 'I know, but why would you remember me? You hang out with so much cooler people,'" Kaling says. "But she remembers my name, I think, so I think we're good friends."
While the heist may go off without a hitch in the film, Kaling's real-life Met Gala experience in 2012 did not.
"One of the rings that I wore on my pinky finger was too big and when I left and got home that night I noticed something missing," Kaling exclusively told ET back in May.
Kaling said she then threw on some sweatpants and ran back to the venue to try to find the pricey accessory. "I went back to the Met as a completely anonymous person. Actresses and famous people were there elbowing me out of the way [because] I was wearing my sweatpants and a sweatshirt and no one knew who I was."
Sadly, Kaling revealed that didn't locate the ring and ended up having to pay for it. "It is a truly terrible story," she confessed. "I had to pay for the ring. It wasn't encrusted with diamonds, it was a little gold ring [that] I know I didn't have insured. I learned from that experience."