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So fetch: 25 fascinating facts about ‘Mean Girls’

Three panel image of "Mean Girls" characters. On the left, Jonathan Bennett smiles as Aaron Samuels. In the middle, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, and Lacey Chabert pose as The Plastics. On the right, Daniel Franzese sits on the grass as Damian.

Whether you’re gay, straight, bi, young, old, or somewhere in between, there’s a pretty good chance you know the rule: “On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”

In the crowded genre of coming-of-age flicks and high school comedies, Mean Girls is certifiably the Queen Bee.

The 2004 film, written by Tina Fey and directed by Mark Waters, follows the transformation of homeschooled student Cady (Lindsay Lohan) after she transfers to public school and finds herself a member of its most enviable clique: The Plastics.

What could have been just another teen movie became a cult phenomenon, thanks to an impeccably hilarious and instantly quotable script, a resonant storyline, authentic queer and female representation, and a soon-to-be iconic cast.

But from the enviable fabulousness of Regina George (Rachel McAdams), to the heartfelt portrayal of Damian, a “too gay to function” drama kid played by Daniel Franzese, Mean Girls especially spoke to the LGBTQ+ community. Finally, in the early aughts, we found a film that understood what it meant to be an outcast.

You might think you know everything about the iconic movie, which inspired a sequel (we don’t talk about it), a Broadway musical, a musical movie, and even its own unofficial holiday. But you’d be wrong! 💅

OK fine, you CAN sit with us as we bust out the Burn Book for 25 fascinating facts about Mean Girls.

1. The movie is based on a true story. Sort of.

The cover for Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees & Wannabes" featuring a teen model in a school hallway with girls whispering behind her back.
Image Credit: Amazon

Tina Fey adapted the hilarious screenplay from Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees & Wannabes, a 2002 self-help book designed to help parents better understand their daughters.

Although the Saturday Night Live funny lady initially imagined a teacher story a lá Stand and Deliver, she quickly realized Girl World was the most interesting part. “The true stories of the way young women behaved were insidious, but they were also kind of funny in their vicious cleverness,” she told the New York Times.

2. Jonathan Bennett was handpicked by Tina Fey for a very specific reason…

Jonathan Bennett wears a football jersey for a Halloween costume as Aaron Samuels in "Mean Girls."
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

There’s no denying that Jonathan Bennett, who portrayed high-school heartthrob Aaron Samuels, looks sexy with his hair pushed back. But the real reason Fey opted for the then-unknown actor was his striking resemblance to her longtime SNL pal Jimmy Fallon. Honestly, we totally see it!

3. And Aaron Samuels ended up being part of the LGBTQ+ fam.

Bennett may have had ladies foaming at the mouth, but as it turns out, the Ohio-born actor plays for the other team. (Score one for the entire LGBTQ+ community!)

He came out in 2017 by sharing pics on Instagram coupled up with TV personality Jaymes Vaughan, whom he credited for “teaching me how to be a grown ass man.” The two got married in 2022 and have been making us believe in love ever since!

4. But he wasn’t the only one!

Mean Girls spoke to an entire generation of gays… and it starred a handful of them too! In fact, all three of the film’s leading dudes (including Bennett) ended up coming out.

Daniel Franzese (a.k.a. Damian) publicly came out in 2014 through an open letter to his character. As he told Gay Star News, him and Bennett even “confided in each other” about “our little private misery of having to be in the closet” while filming.

Finally, Rajiv Surendra (who played mathlete Kevin G) came out in 2018, telling Kajal Magazine that after moving to Munich, Germany, the “completely anonymity … helped [him] come to terms with doing what [he] wanted.”

5. OMG, wig! No, really.

Rachel McAdams, as Regina George in "Mean Girls", leans forward and smiles at a cafeteria table.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

The role of hot, catty, and powerful it-girl Regina George seemed to come naturally to Rachel McAdams. But the blonde hair? Not so much. Apparently, the actress didn’t want to bleach her entire head, so production secured a $10,000 wig (made of human hair!) to complete the vision.

6. Glen Coco is a real person.

Two panel image of a scene from "Mean Girls." On the left, Daniel Franzese as Damian dressed in a Santa costume holding candy canes. On the right, the brunette actor who plays Glenn Coco is pictured from behind as he sits at a desk.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

“Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco,” is one of the most quotable moments in the movie, but the candy cane-snatching teen’s moniker came from a very real place. Fey was struggling to think up fake character names and decided to borrow from her brother’s childhood friend Glenn Cocco, who now works as a film editor in Southern California.

Thankfully, he’s got a good sense of humor about the “inescapable” joke. As he told Yahoo! Entertainment, “It’s just the name that gets recognized, not me,” though he admitted he can never “get a restaurant reservation because of it.”

7. This hilarious & gay line was improvised.

Damian reminded us why you should never let your girlfriends borrow clothes when he yelled “I want my pink shirt back!” whilst driving past Cady’s party, which he was not invited to. But the iconic quip actually wasn’t in the original script.

As Franzese told Business Insider, he came up with the line himself while filming. (Though he wanted to add “b*tch” at the end.) “After a while, they started trusting me and giving me freedom [to improvise],” he explained.

8. Mean Girls wasn’t the original title.

A scene from "Mean Girls," depicting a four way call. The screen is broken into four frames, with Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel McAdams sitting in different rooms on their phones.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Yep! When director Mark Waters originally read the laugh-out-loud screenplay, it was called Homeschooled. Thank goodness someone had the brilliant idea to make a change, because Homeschooled: The Musical just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

9. Damian helped Daniel Franzese come out IRL.

Franzese’s portrayal of Damian wasn’t just hysterical, it was life-changing. During a time when authentic representation wasn’t discussed, the character gave “a lot of queer people and people of size … an identity in pop culture where they weren’t made fun of,” he told People.

In fact, the actor was inspired to professionally come out after a heartfelt note from a gay fan. “I got this letter, and the guy was like … ‘I was beat up for being chubby in the 8th grade, then your movie came out,'” Franzese recalled. “‘In 9th grade, on the first day, the popular senior girls came up to me and said, ‘You’re like Damian. Come sit with us.’ He was like, ‘I know you drastically changed my high school career.'”

Needless to say, he considers the character’s legacy “an honor and something that [he doesn’t] take lightly.”

10. The movie was almost rated R.

Lindsay Lohan looks back in a red shirt as Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, and Lacey Chabert pose sassily in a promo image for "Mean Girls."
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

According to Waters, Fey’s original script was “a balls-out R-rated movie” where Regina “had more F-bombs than Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.” And even after major changes, the team only earned a PG-13 rating “by the skin of [their] teeth.” As he told Entertainment Weekly, “We had to throw ourselves in front of the train tracks with the MPAA” to keep the “wide-set vagina” line.

11. Tina Fey wrote Mean Girls in the gayest place on Earth.

Tina Fey smiles in a black t-shirt with her arm around Lindsay Lohan, who wears a white low-cut dress, at a "Mean Girls" screening.
Image Credit: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

The LGBTQ+ community’s affinity for Mean Girls was meant to be, considering Fey reportedly wrote the script “hunched over an old desk in the mildewy back room of a Fire Island rental home” during the summers of 2002 and 2003. “She would old-school just sit and eat doughnuts and drink coffee, like a secretary from the ’50s or something,” her husband told the Times.

12. Then she turned it into a musical.

The lit up marquee for "Mean Girls" at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway in New York City, pictured at night.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

The film’s success –– and rabid fanbase –– inspired Fey to turn her comedy hit into a musical. (To be fair, it was an easy pivot, considering she’s married to composer Jeff Richmond, who wrote the music.) The show opened on Broadway in 2018 and scored 12 Tony nominations.

However, its Great White Way run was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. While a touring production was green lit, the show didn’t return to Broadway, shuttering after 833 performances.

13. Which was turned into a movie, with an expensive surprise.

Mean Girls followed the “movie turned musical turned movie-musical” path forged by Hairspray in 2024, to overwhelming success. The reimagining grossed over $104 million… despite marketing that conveniently forgot to mention it was a musical. (Which honestly would have been a good selling point for the gays.)

Unlike the original film, where Cady and Regina received equal billing, the adaptation placed a larger focus on the OG queen bee, portrayed by Reneé Rapp. Still, the founding Plastics were honored by a surprise cameo from Lohan, who scored a whopping $500,000 for “a half a day of work.”

14. Janis Ian was not queer in the 2004 film despite her namesake.

Lizzy Caplan as Janis Ian in a vintage tee sits next to Daniel Franzese as Damian in a white button down in a scene from "Mean Girls."
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

There’s no denying that the Plastics-bashing, punk rocker Janis Ian (portrayed by Lizzy Caplan) was queer coded. There’s the whole rumor about her being a lesbian, and the character was LITERALLY named after a gay folk singer. Nevertheless, the flick conveniently wraps with Janis and Kevin G hooking up out of nowhere.

(We suspect a second gay character would’ve been too much for the early aughts.)

15. But they fixed things in the 2024 update.

Auli'i Cravalho as Janis in a scene from the 2024 "Mean Girls." She walks and stares into the camera as a group of high schoolers follow her outside from a school building.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Thankfully, Janis got her big, lesbian happy ending in the musical movie. The iconic outcast was renamed “Janis ‘Imi’ike” to fit actress Auli’i Cravalho’s Hawaiian roots and is out amongst her classmates. She even brings a female date to the Spring Fling… who remained nameless. Alright, we’ll take what we can get.

16. Despite documenting American high school life, the movie was mostly filmed in another country.

Rachel McAdams, as Regina George, wears a blue gym uniform and smiles as she's hoisted up by a group of athletic teens in a scene from "Mean Girls."
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Sorry, Evanston! While the flick is set in Illinois, production largely took place in Toronto, Canada. Even its pivotal mathlete competition was seemingly shot at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall.

17. The 2004 cast could have looked VERY different.

Two panel image. On the left, James Franco smiles in a gray suit jacket and blue collared shirt. On the right, Ashley Tisdale wears a lacy dress and smiles on the red carpet.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

As revealed by So Fetch: The Making of Mean Girls (And Why We’re Still So Obsessed With It), the 2004 cast could’ve been completely different. Amongst the Plastics, McAdams originally auditioned for Cady, Seyfried was almost Regina, and both Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens read for Gretchen.

Plus, Lohan fought hard to try and play Regina and a different actor, believed to be James Franco, was initially cast as Aaron Samuels before getting fired at the first table read. Yikes!

18. That hilarious dog-bite moment was achieved through practical effects.

Amy Poehler as Mrs. George in "Mean Girls" sits on a bench in a pink sweatsuit, oblivious to a costumed Chihuahua biting her breast.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Mrs. George wasn’t like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom. (With a boob job that’s “hard as rocks.”) So, just how did production get a Chihuahua to seemingly gnaw on her breasts? “They, like, pinned a cocktail wiener into her bra,” McAdams revealed in 2014. “I thought this dog was going to tear her apart. It was very effective.”

19. Mean Girls was Amanda Seyfried’s first movie.

Amanda Seyfried, who has long, straight blonde hair, wears a black dress and smiles on the red carpet.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Amanda Seyfried may be an Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress, but back in 2004, she had little on her resumé outside of soaps. Her portrayal of Karen Smith, the intellectually challenged mean girl who didn’t know how to spell orange, marked her big screen debut. Later, she’d go on to star in other LGBTQ+ cult faves like Mamma Mia! and Jennifer’s Body.

20. There was almost a Mean Moms.

Lindsay Lohan, as Cady in "Mean Girls," wears a navy blue polo as part of her mathletes uniform and looks up trying to solve a math problem at a competition.

RIP what could have been. In 2014, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema announced they were adapting another one of Rosalind Wiseman’s books into a flick called Mean Moms starring Jennifer Aniston. The movie would have focused on “a happily married mother of two” who moves from a small town to the suburbs and “faces the cutthroat world of competitive parenting.” Months later, the project was shelved and never spoken of again. 👀

21. The Plastics have ideas about where their characters are today.

Lindsay Lohan is dressed like a zombie bride, standing next to Lacey Chabert dressed as a sexy kitty and Amanda Seyfried dressed as a sexy mouse in a Halloween-themed scene from "Mean Girls."
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

While we haven’t gotten a direct sequel, that doesn’t mean The Plastics actresses haven’t envisioned where their signature characters would be. As they told Entertainment Weekly, Seyfried thinks Karen would be selling “really cool dog attire,” Lohan imagines Cady “with Oprah in Africa working at children’s schools,” and Chabert believes Gretchen is “running the Toaster Strudel empire” with “like, seven babies.”

As for Regina? McAdams said she’s definitely a Real Housewife with “too much time on her hands.”

22. These pop queens are HUGE fans of the film.

Our fave pop stars love Mean Girls just as much as the rest of us. Notably, Mariah Carey quoted Regina in 2009’s “Obsessed,” beginning the track by saying, “And I was like, ‘Why are you so obsessed with me?'”

Years later, Ariana Grande recreated scenes from the film alongside Jonathan Bennett for her “Thank U, Next” music video and British indie-rock duo Wet Leg quoted the “Is your muffin buttered?” line in their 2021 single “Chaise Longue.”

23. Amy Poehler gets the credit for this iconic moment.

Everyone say, “Thank you, Amy Poehler!” As the film’s director told Vulture, the Parks & Recreation actress wrote Kevin G’s hysterical (and overtly perverted) rap for the talent show. “Amy definitely coached him on how to do the rap, and she actually gave him some of the moves and choreography,” he said.

24. The Plastics reunited recently…

OK, so it’s no full-fledged sequel, but Lohan, Seyfried, and Chabert reprised their iconic Mean Girls roles for a big-budget Walmart ad campaign in 2023. Unfortunately, McAdams was notably absent, and as she told Variety, “I wasn’t that excited about doing a commercial … Also, I didn’t know that everyone was doing it.”

TBH, it’s a little cringe. “Some things never change,” Lohan says. “On Wednesdays, we wear pink, but now we shop Walmart Black Friday deals.” But ugh, we’ll take what we can get.

25. And it might not be the last time!

Rachel McAdams, as Regina, sits in the front seat of a gray convertible and smiles next to Lacey Chabert as Gretchen in the front seat and Amanda Seyfried as Karen in the back seat for a "Mean Girls" scene.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Although Fey told the Times that she hasn’t “really thought much” about writing a sequel for the original cast because the stakes would be different for “middle-age moms,” that doesn’t mean it’s completely off the table.

In April 2024, People reported that, according to sources, both Lohan and McAdams “would be open to making a sequel” if they could get the story right. We won’t hold our breath just yet, but seeing the quartet together again would be sooo fetch.

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