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Starring in one of the most popular movies of 2004, Amanda Seyfried turned a corner with Mean Girls. The role catapulted her to superstardom, but unlike Rachel McAdams, she wasn’t significantly older than her character. Learn about Seyfried’s age-appropriate style choices at the Mean Girls premiere and how far she’s come since then.

Amanda Seyfried was a teenager when she played Karen in ‘Mean Girls’

In Mean GirlsAmanda Seyfried portrayed Karen Smith, the ditziest member of the Plastics. She was perhaps the most welcoming to Lindsay Lohan’s Cady and scored some of the biggest laughs in the film with her unintentional jokes. 

Though it’s hard to imagine Seyfried in another role in the film, she read for Regina George. Director Mark Waters called her audition “brilliant.” “She played it in a much more ethereal but still kind of scary way,” he told Vulture in 2014.

The one problem with giving such a performance so early in one’s career — Seyfried was only 18 at the time — is that many people may think it’s the only role she could play. She spent years fighting the stigma that she couldn’t handle sophisticated or high-minded roles.

But Seyfried’s struggle doesn’t seem to have changed her feelings about being in Mean Girls at all. She told IndieWire in 2013 she still regarded Karen as her “best work” up to that point. 

Seyfried cringes when looking back at her ‘Mean Girls’ red carpet looks

Amanda Seyfried mean girls
Amanda Seyfried at the New York Premiere of ‘Mean Girls’ in 2004. | Gregory Pace/FilmMagic

The first big red carpet is always a significant moment for any age actor. But for Seyfried, that night remains memorable for less than pleasant reasons. 

Before Mean Girls, Seyfried’s only other acting roles were in the soap operas As the World Turns and All My Children, and her inexperience for this sort of occasion became apparent due to her outfit. During a 2022 interview, she explained how her appearances at the Mean Girls New York and Hollywood premieres were DIY affairs. 

“I used the only money I had to buy a dress,” Seyfried said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “There were two premieres, and so I had to buy two dresses because you wear different dresses.” The second, a black dress, invoked the most embarrassment in hindsight. “I didn’t know any of the rules, so I was wearing a white bra and black underwear and no slip,” she explained of her see-through situation.

Having an appropriate wardrobe and celebrity look is usually the domain of movie studios. So why did Seyfried have to manage this herself? Blame it on misplaced humility. “I slipped through the cracks because I didn’t ever ask for anything — because I thought I was in the way,” she stated.

Seyfried’s style has evolved — and so has her career


Why Amanda Seyfried Loves Living on a Farm With Her Husband and Kids

Seyfried has carved out a stable career and reputation for herself. She found particular success with musicals, with both Mamma Mia! movies and the 2012 adaptation of Les Misérables leading to big box office numbers. Seyfried’s also drawn praise for her work in cult classic Jennifer’s Body, First Reformed, and Mank. She also appeared in TV shows like Veronica Mars and Big Love.

In 2022, she returned to TV with Hulu’s The Dropout. She plays fraudster Elizabeth Holmes as she goes from overly ambitious college misfit to a fake billionaire savior of the health care industry. The story of Holmes and Theranos has been told before. But this rendition differentiates itself by going back to her childhood to explore how her misplaced ideals and difficult life experiences led her to an infamous lie. 

As a 30-something mother and wife, Seyfried has a different perspective on her career now. “I feel more empowered [to say no],” she told Net-a-Porter in 2017.