Avantika Vandanapu hopes her role in Mean Girls can ‘break stereotypes’

The role is a chance to shut down prejudices, for the actor. (John Nacion/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Avantika Vandanapu hopes that her role in the recently released Mean Girls film can help “break stereotypes”. 

The actor plays the role of Karen Shetty in the 2024 revival of the comedy/drama, which was released on 19 January in the UK. 

The 19-year-old believes that her being cast in the role is a chance to shut down prejudices for the South Asian community.

In a recent interview with BBC Asian Network, the actor behind the “pansexual” character said the role is a chance to remove “what we encourage women to be and [how] we encourage women to think like”. 

Even after hearing Regina George utter, “God Karen, you’re so stupid”, she turned the insult around to help it empower her character. 

“Karen feels like somebody who embraces being a bimbo and embraces being someone who’s sexual.

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“I think playing that kind of character, especially as a South Asian woman is really, really crazy,” she said.

The importance of the role for Vandanapu comes shortly after she opened up about her character’s sexuality in the film. She considers her character, who is one-third of The Plastics, to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“If you tell me Karen is anything but pansexual, I have beef with you,” she told Gay Times. Her character has a whole solo song dedicated to running the world and being hot, and hilariously calls Regina’s unfortunate pimple “sexy, like a face breast”.

Vandanapu is not the only actor in the new film to dig deep and discuss their character’s sexual identity, with Reneé Rapp also believing that her version of Regina is a lesbian

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Rapp seemed to confirm that her version of the queen bee would be “very gay” – if not directly in the storyline, then at least between the lines – as well as describing the character as a “likeable b*tch”.

She was also pretty direct with fans about Regina’s queerness, captioning several behind-the-scenes photos of the film’s set on Instagram with: “Regina George was a lesbian”, which predictably drove fans wild.

Mean Girls is out now in cinemas.

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