HomeIndian AmericanMean Girl reboot featuring an Indian American actress opens at number 1

Mean Girl reboot featuring an Indian American actress opens at number 1

The new Mean Girl reboot which opened in theaters nationwide this weekend killed it at the box office opening at number 1 and even surpassing the total of the original Tina Fey movie made in its opening weekend.

Billboard reports it grossed $28 million in its first three days. That’s more than the $24.4 million the original Mean Girls made in its opening.

The new Mean Girl stars Indian American actress Avantika Vandanapu who plays Karen, a character known for being blonde, playful and ditzy in the original and originally played by Amanda Seyfried.

It also features Auli’i Cravalho as Janis ‘Imi’ike.

“[The movie] is very important to me. Growing up and being bullied a little bit; growing up in an industry like Hollywood which feels very competitive, all aspects of my life felt documented and represented by that movie which I think speaks to Tina Fey’s talent. Some part of you just feels so incredibly seen by that film,” Vandanapu told Marie Claire.

She finds it liberating that an Indian American actress can break away from the stereotypical character of an overachieving and nerdy South Asian character often depicted in Hollywood.

“When did we ever think that someone Brown was going to play an iteration of a character who’s known for being blonde and pretty and stupid,” she asked.

The actress got her first big screen role in 2021 when she played in Disney’s Spin.

Related: Disney film Spin explores the Indian/South Asian American Identity

The decision to cast her hasn’t been without its detractors with some on social media questioning the casting of a Brown girl to play a lead. According to Vogue, comments ranged from ‘imagine getting bullied by an Indian girl’ and ‘the head wobble would scare me the most’ to ‘these bitches are way too ugly to be the mean girls these are the goblin gorls’ and ‘from Mean Girls to Mid Girls’.

Yet reaction in the theaters to the new Karen, renamed Karen Shetty from the original Karen Smith, has been positive.

“I hope this movie is, like, if you’re Brown, you can be the popular girl in school!” She adds, “I hope that this film opens up the industry…[and it shows Brown girls that] options have opened up for you now as to what you can do in the world.”

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