Mean Girls’ Amanda Seyfried Opens Up About How Playing Karen Led To Setbacks In Her Career

Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The early 2000s were full of teen films that have become something of cult classics, and Mean Girls definitely fits that bill. With Tina Fey at the helm and a host of talented actors who went on to become big Hollywood names, it seems appropriate that the movie would remain a favorite almost 20 years later. While star Rachel McAdams pretty much blew up right after the high school romp, starring in The Notebook which released in the same year, Amanda Seyfried (who played Karen) struggled for a while. Seyfried has now opened up about how she experienced career setbacks after starring alongside Lindsey Lohan (who originally wanted to play a different role) and co.

Amanda Seyfried has had some truly amazing movie and TV roles since Mean Girls. She remains a big player in Hollywood, and Seyfried has plenty of upcoming projects to prove it. However, apparently she had to be very careful right after her role as the ditsy Karen Smith in Mean Girls. In an interview with Variety, she talked about typecasting and how she avoided being “pigeonholed” as the dumb, pretty blonde in films. Here’s what she says, exactly:

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.

The star gives credit to Big Love for giving her that professional boost and allowing her to branch out of that pretty blonde friend archetype, which she had also played on shows like Veronica Mars. Her role on the HBO drama series, in which she played the oldest daughter of a polygamist, came two years after Mean Girls and really allowed her to flex her dramatic acting muscles.

Amanda Seyfried also explained that she has been strategic in her career, something that was especially true in those early years. Her roles have been very different from one another. In the past few years alone, she's starred in drama film The Art of Racing in the Rain, the musical Mamma Mia! sequel and period piece Mank. Needless to say, she's come a long way from having fashion faux pas on red carpets

During those earlier years, she'd also done as much as she could to separate her real-life self from Karen Smith. Let's be honest, this kind of strategic thinking is something that character. would have never considered doing. I mean, this is the girl who uttered the iconic, “If you’re from Africa, why are you white?” line. We love her for it, but the actress herself is obviously in a completely different IQ bracket than her Mean Girls character.

Lucky for us, Amanda Seyfried was able to break away from her typecasting relatively early in her career, and we have seen some seriously strong performances from her as a result. At present, you can see her in The Dropout, as long as you have a Hulu subscription, and she'll be in Apple TV+’s upcoming series The Crowded Room, which also stars Tom Holland and Shameless star Emmy Rossum. Fans of her 2004 comedy should be on the lookout for Tina Fey’s upcoming Mean Girls Musical as well, although it seems as though Seyfried has long since moved on and isn’t currently set to take part in all the throwback fun.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.