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Mean Girls’ Reneé Rapp confirms if her Regina George is queer

Mean Girls’ Reneé Rapp confirms if her Regina George is queer

Bebe Wood as Gretchen, Reneé Rapp as Regina, and Avantika as Karen in Mean Girls
Jojo Whilden/Paramount

Bebe Wood as Gretchen, Reneé Rapp as Regina, and Avantika as Karen in Mean Girls

The musical movie version of Mean Girls centers queer kids Damian and Janis. But Rapp, the bisexual actress who plays the head of the plastics, Regina George, offers some insight into how she perceives the character.

Put it in the Burn Book! This is not your mother’s Mean Girls. Twenty years after Mean Girls (with Tina Fey’s pointed and hilarious screenplay based on Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees & Wannabes novel) became a cultural phenomenon, the movie musical for a new generation is about to land in theaters on January 12. And this time, the queer kids (played by queer actors) control the narrative!

Squarely rooted in the spirit of the original film with some fun cameos, the new Mean Girls movie, directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., is also based on the Broadway musical. Singer andThe Sex Lives of College Girls star Reneé Rapp, who played Regina George, the meanest of all the girls, on Broadway reprises the role for the film.

The story was originally told through the point of view of the fish-out-of-water Cady (Lindsay Lohan in the 2004 film and Angourie Rice in this version), who attends a public high school after living in Africa and being homeschooled. It’s now framed by the opening number “A Cautionary Tale,” sung by queer characters Damian (Jaquel Spivey) and Janis (Auli’i Cravalho). For fans of the original who recall that Lizzy Caplan’s Janis was Lebanese and not a lesbian, although Regina bullied her for it anyway, Cravalho’s Janis is out and proud in 2024.

As the story unfolds, Janis eventually reveals to Cady, her and Damian’s new friend and Trojan Horse in taking down Regina, that she and Regina were best friends. That is until Regina queerbaited and then outed Janis years before a few years earlier.

Jaquel Spivey as Damian, Angourie Rice as Cady, and Auli\u2019i Cravalho as Janis in Mean GirlsJaquel Spivey as Damian, Angourie Rice as Cady, and Auli’i Cravalho as Janis in Mean Girls Jojo Whilden/Paramount

For Rapp, who is bisexual and making queer women go wild with music videos for her singles like “Pretty Girls,” the idea that those who bully LGBTQ+ people are closeted isn’t true for everyone. But it is true for her Regina, she confirms.

“The classic trope of, Oh, if someone is like bullying someone for being gay, then they’re closeted, and gay themselves. I don’t think that always applies. I think homophobia runs rampant,” Rapp tells the Advocate Channel. "However, I will say, for me, in this case scenario, that is what is in my head.”

While Regina has been embodied by several deliciously terrifying mean girls including Rachel McAdams in the original film and Taylor Louderman, who originated the role in the Broadway production in 2018, Rapp imbues the role with simmering queer energy.

“My name is Regina George. And I am a massive deal,” Rapp sings with equal parts villainy and appeal in “World Burn,” her showstopping number in which she implicates Cady in the creation of the Burn Book that holds the secrets of everyone at their high school.

Rene\u00e9 Rapp as Regina GeorgeReneé Rapp as Regina GeorgeParamount

“Even for myself, I think it’s cool to see the hot girl be this like, potentially gay character or potentially, like lesbian character. That’s really exciting,” Rapp continues. “It’s also not outwardly said or done in any sort of way. It just kind of like is gay to me, so it’s gay. You know? And it’s really lovely.”

When the film was released in 2004, Damian, played by Daniel Franzese (who came out in 2014), was the sole queer main character in the film. But the movie’s themes around popular girls and outsiders along with Fey’s crackling script contributed to the movie’s appeal to queer audiences from the outset. The Broadway musical took that inclusion a step further, and the queerness only continues to evolve with the new movie and Rapp’s confirmation that she views Regina as on a spectrum of queerness. Still, Rapp knows that her portrayal is one step in an evolution of who gets to play her and how.

"I think that there’s also a huge part of it. That’s like, it’s just so loaded, At the end of the day, the 'it' hot girl is still like a blonde cis white girl. I would say that, you know, there’s obviously nuance to that,” Rapp says. “However, I do think it is a win in a way that I’m able to be her.”

Watch the Advocate Channel's interview with Reneé Rapp and Christopher Briney, who plays Aaron Samuels, below.

Pictured in lead image: Bebe Wood as Gretchen, Reneé Rapp as Regina, and Avantika as Karen in Mean Girls

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Tracy E. Gilchrist