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Image / Living / Culture

‘I was like 18 years old, it was just gross’: Amanda Seyfried on the misogynistic comments that tainted ‘Mean Girls’ for her


By Sarah Finnan
11th May 2022
‘I was like 18 years old, it was just gross’: Amanda Seyfried on the misogynistic comments that tainted ‘Mean Girls’ for her

Karen Smith is a treasure trove of hilarious quotes, but male reaction to that ‘Mean Girls’ weather scene left actress Amanda Seyfried feeling ‘really grossed out’.

She’s had quite a varied body of work throughout her career with standout roles in films such as Mamma Mia, Les Misérables, Jennifer’s Body and Dear John… but Amanda Seyfried will always be synonymous with Mean Girls and Karen Smith.  

A character that gave us such iconic one-liners as “I can’t go out. I’m sick”, “If you’re from Africa, why are you white?”, and “I’m a mouse, duh”, Seyfried brought a certain doe-eyed innocence to the role and viewers loved her for it. Her comedic timing was also impeccable.

Speaking to Marie Claire of her former co-star, Lacey Chabert – the famed Gretchen Wieners – confirmed what we have long suspected; that it was hard to keep a straight face when working with her. “She has this really dry sense of humour and dry wit,” she commented. “The biggest challenge on set was to not laugh on camera, when we weren’t supposed to be laughing.” 

As the film’s popularity soared, privacy became more of a luxury and Chabert says not a day goes by that she isn’t recognised for Mean Girls even now, 18 years later. Back when the movie first came out, Seyfried was recognised only every once in a while… mostly by boys asking her if it was raining – a reference to her character’s claims she could predict the weather with her breasts. 

 

Admitting that that particular scene made her feel exceedingly uncomfortable over the years, the actress said that she always felt “really grossed out” by those comments. “I was like 18 years old. It was just gross,” she noted. 

Very much at the mercy of the public, the reaction of male fans to that scene objectified Seyfried in a way that made her painfully vulnerable. A relative newcomer to the industry, she was essentially still a teenager at the time but such misogyny wisened her to the ways of the world and she found a way to prioritise her peace amidst the chaos. 

Uninterested in living life in the spotlight, or rather, wanting to keep her personal life out of it as much as possible, Seyfried bought a small 1930s stone farmhouse in the Catskills where she’s spent much of the past decade laying low. 

“I think being really famous [young] must really f*cking suck,” she told Marie Claire, in between bites of scrambled eggs and salad. “It must make you feel completely unsafe in the world. I see these younger actors who think they have to have security. They think they have to have an assistant. They think their whole world has changed. It can get stressful. I’ve seen it happen to my peers. So, I bought a farm. I was like, let’s go in the opposite way.”

“Fame is weird,” she notes. “I’ve never been super famous. I’ve been somewhat recognisable. It’s been the healthiest trajectory.”

As for her aforementioned body of work, ensuring she went for different roles was a very conscious decision on her part. “That was very intentional,” she said in an interview with Variety. “I try to be as deliberate as possible and keep switching things up. When I think of what I want out of my career, I want longevity, right? So how do I do that? How do I design a path where that’s possible? What you do is, you do different things. “

“You work with different types of people and different mediums. You keep people guessing. That’s the thing people have mentioned throughout my career is that it’s so diverse, and that’s because I did it on purpose.

“I’ve made some decisions that have come back to haunt me, and that’s ok. But I’m happier that I didn’t do certain things because I would be stuck, you know? My big fear would be having to go to work and dreading it. I haven’t had that experience yet. I’m really lucky.”

That’s not to say that her career has been without its challenges. In fact, Seyfried has had to work doubly hard to ensure that she wasn’t seen as just another pretty face. Commenting on big studios’ tendencies to “buy a blonde”, the Dropout star is quick to emphasise that she’s much more than that. “Mean Girls got me on the map, it really got my foot in the door. But getting pigeonholed was the thing you had to fight. Back in 2004, I had to be really careful to not just be ‘the pretty blonde’.”

“So, at the very beginning of my career, if I hadn’t done Big Love, I was going to be Karen Smith. All the auditions I had for my first pilot season were just, like, blonde girl friends. I wasn’t going to be the lead, because, for whatever reason, I didn’t fit into that. I don’t know what it was.

“I remember for one movie – I can’t say the name – it was between me and some model for a kind of ancillary character. And I was like, ‘Oh God, it doesn’t matter who it is! And if it doesn’t matter, I don’t know if I want to be a part of it.’,” she continued. “But at the same time, I wanted to work, and I wanted to work with the actors involved. Luckily, I then had opportunities that went a different way pretty quickly, and I’m grateful for that.”