The Surprising Career Trajectories Of Mean Girls’ Mean Girls

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Mean Girls turns nine today. That's right, Mean Girls came out nine whole years ago. A lot of time has passed but I still find myself thinking about “fetch,” Glen Coco, and wearing pink on Wednesdays. Just the other day I used Kalteen bars– the ones that make you pack on the pounds first, before you lose all your water weight– as an analogy. I'm certain this movie is stuck in my consciousness for life and whether they like it or not, the stars of Mean Girls will always be associated with the movie. We've written before about where the lesser characters ended up, but what about the mean girls themselves?

The careers and lives of the actresses who played Cady, Regina, Karen, and Gretchen have taken turns that no one would've expected in 2004. At the time, Lindsay Lohan had a bunch of movies coming out in addition to Mean Girls (Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen) and had already starred in The Parent Trap as a child. She was definitely the one people thought would stick around. Lacey Chabert had been active as a young actress as well, most notably appearing on Party of Five for six years and voicing Eliza on The Wild Thornberrys. Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried, on the other hand, were pretty much unknown. Rachel had a few small parts before Mean Girls and Amanda had only appeared on soap operas. How the tables have turned! Put yourself in a 2004 mindset (blast “Milkshake” by Kelis, if it helps) and take a look at the unexpected career paths of the Mean Girls girls.

Amanda Seyfried – Karen Smith mean girls karen smith rain


Back when Karen was using her “ESPN” boobs to predict there was a “30% chance that it's already raining,” I would've never guessed she'd end up being the actress with the hottest career in 2013. I went around saying “God, Karen, you are so stupid!” and I think it convinced me that Amanda actually was stupid because when she started getting roles all over the place, I was pretty shocked. Amanda was on Veronica Mars for two years and starred in Mamma Mia!, Dear John, and Letters To Juliet. (The latter comes on ABC Family a lot and is worth watching just for how incredibly cheesy it is.) Most recently, of course, Amanda played Cosette in Les Misérables— the real “You go Glen Coco Karen Smith!” momemt. Currently, she's starring in Big Wedding and will soon appear as porn star Linda Lovelace in Lovelace.

Lacey Chabert – Gretchen Wieners

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According to Lacey Chabert's IMDB page, she's gotten a lot of work since Mean Girls. The page also says that she is “regarded as one of the best young actresses of her generation.” I'm not going to say that is or isn't true, I'm just interested to know who exactly is regarding her that way. A lot of Lacey's post-Gretchen roles have been voice over work or small TV parts, but good for her! You can't live off your dad's Toaster Strudel money forever. Lacey has had the least surprising career after Mean Girls, in my opinion. I thought she was perfect as Gretchen, but I never thought she would really make it big. She has seven projects in various stages of production though, so maybe “fetch” eventually will happen.

Lindsay Lohan – Cady Heron

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Oh LiLo. What is there to say about her that hasn't already been said? Just this morning I found out she is part of a celeb beef with Tom Brokaw. (For the record, Brokaw started it.) Lindsay Lohan was without a doubt the most well-known of the four actresses going in to Mean Girls and I really would've thought things would stay that way after the film. The other girls were all great in their parts, but it didn't feel like a career starting kind of movie. Lindsay already had an established career, so the expectation was she'd keep going with it. Instead, she's now the go-to example for a child star gone wrong. I don't see her ever making it big as an actress again or landing some amazing breakout role (Liz and Dick sure as hell wasn't it), but I still find myself hoping she'll pull herself together especially when I think about Mean Girls.

Rachel McAdams – Regina George

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Rachel McAdams was awesome as Regina George. She convinced me, and everyone else in the whole entire world, to say “boo, you whore!” whenever we don't get our way. I wasn't as surprised about Rachel's career as I was about Amanda's, but the fact that she overtook the Lohan (like, realllllly overtook her) in terms of… well, in terms of everything, is still surprising if you tap into your 2004 pop culture state of mind. Rachel, was great in The Notebook (the only acceptable Nicholas Sparks movie to like, btw) which came out the same year as Mean Girls. She's been working pretty consistently since, with roles in Wedding Crashers and Midnight in Paris, among others, and she has two movies coming out this year. In the meantime, we'll just keep up hope that her and Ryan Gosling want to get back together. (I'm sorry, Eva Mendes! You know what The Notebook does to people!)