Janis is a ‘loud and proud’ lesbian in Mean Girls musical, says Auli’i Cravalho

Still from Mean Girls (2024) of Angourie Rice as Cady and Auli'l Cravalho as Janis

The new Mean Girls movie is right around the corner and it’s putting some fresh twists on the beloved 2004 comedy.

One of the biggest change-ups – aside from the fact that it’s a musical – is that Janis Ian is going to be an out and proud lesbian from the get-go.

In the original film, Janis (played by Lizzy Caplan) revealed to Cady (Lindsey Lohan) that she used to be besties with Regina George (Rachel McAdams), but the two fell out when Regina spread a rumour that Janis was a lesbian.

Janis never officially confirms her sexual orientation in the original film. The lesbian rumour that Regina spread about her is simply the set-up for one of the film’s most iconic and underrated jokes.

To skip to the punchline, Janis is Lebanese – a detail that George seems to have misunderstood and run with.

But, in the new Mean Girls musical adaption, Janis, this time played by Auli’i Cravalho, is a “loud and proud” lesbian.

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It’s a welcome change from the original film, in which Janis is tormented by the rumours Regina has spread about her sexuality.

Lizzy Caplan (L) and Daniel Franzese in Mean Girls. (Mean Girls/IMDb)
Lizzy Caplan played Janis Ian in the original Mean Girls film. (Mean Girls/IMDb)

Speaking about the switch-up, Cravalho told Screen Rant: “Previously, in our ’04 version, ‘lesbian’ for Janis was used kind of as a slur, and we’re taking that back. 

“Absolutely not. I am a pyro-lez, loud and proud. I will light your backpack on fire if you talk s**t about me. Fine. 

“Tina [Fey] also allowed us to have our own agency over these characters, and we certainly pay homage to our OG ’04, but we also have a musical element. What I love about that is that we get to get deeper into the mindset of our characters through the music itself.”

In the musical version, which debuted on Broadway in 2018, Janis gets her own electrifying ballad “I’d Rather Be Me”.

Speaking about the impact of the song, Cravalho said: “I’m looking directly down the barrel, and I’m talking to you. If your best friend has ever screwed you over, here’s what you should do. Not care. Right? Because the only person that matters at the end of the day is you.”

Still from Mean Girls (2024) of Angourie Rice as Cady, Auli'l Cravalho as Janis, and Jaquel Spivey as Damian.
Janis will be an loud and proud lesbian in the upcoming Mean Girls movie musical. (Paramount Pictures)

Aside from Janis, Mean Girls fans are not-so-secretly hoping that Regina George might also be queer in the new musical adaption – particularly since the role belongs to bisexual singer and actress Reneé Rapp.

Those hopes only got more intense when Rapp released the single “It’s Not My Fault” for the film featuring Megan Thee Stallion.

The track, which plays on the iconic Mean Girls quote: “It’s not my fault you’re, like, in love with me or something,” includes one or two easter eggs for queer Regina stans.

For example, in the second verse, Rapp sings: “Get her number, get her name/ Get a good thing while you can/ Kiss a blonde, kiss a friend/ Can a gay girl get an, ‘Amen?’”

While Reneé could very likely be singing from her own perspective rather than Regina’s, that was all the confirmation fans needed that we might actually be getting a queer Regina George.

Mean Girls hits theatres on 11 January.

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