We're here to inform you the Mean Girls characters are based on real people.

Twenty years after the original Mean Girls hit screens and claimed an indelible spot in pop culture history, the intoxicating and fascinating world of Regina George, The Plastics and general high-school craziness remains as popular - and relevant - as ever. 

And with the release of the 2024 reboot of the cult classic, starring Angourie Rice and Reneé Rapp, we're more obsessed with the Mean Girls-verse than ever. 

But do you know the story of the actual real-life people who inspired Tina Fey - who was the mastermind behind the original screenplay - to create the classic movie?

Watch: The Mean Girls 2024 edition trailer. Post continues below.  

Video via Paramount.

As the musical film version of Mean Girls has been busy taking over big screens in 2024, we take a look back at the origin stories of some of the comedy's most intriguing characters - starting with the 2002 book that started it all...

Queen Bees and Wannabes.

This was no incriminating Burn Book, but teacher-turned-writer Rosalind Wiseman's tome Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence did feature high-school cliques and stories of teen girls and their bitchy, aggressive behaviour. The self-help book was aimed at parents trying to understand their teenage daughters and the complex world of high school, or more specifically, "Girl World".


Though the book has no storyline, a lot of it is based on interviews with real teenage girls, with Wiseman using their voices to highlight certain points about their behaviour. ("I have never met a person who thinks she's pretty," says Joni, 15.) The author also recruited "girl editors", who offer anonymous commentary on the topics broached throughout the book.

The material was too good for then-Saturday Night Live writer Fey not to turn into her first feature film...  And a classic was born.

"I had been wanting to try to learn how to write a movie. I had been looking for a subject matter for me for a couple of years," Fey told ET

"When I got this book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, which is the book that the movie is loosely based on, this is the first time I thought, 'Oh here's this topic, it's really kind of juicy, and it's funny.'"

Though Fey dreamt up a lot of the insanely entertaining scenarios in Mean Girls, some scenes actually played out in real life. Such as? The assembly in which the girls are asked if they've been "personally victimised" by a Queen Bee! Although, it played out a little differently when Wiseman did this exercise irl, asking the girls to write down their thoughts anonymously.

The real Cady Heron.

Fey's college roommate Cady Garey (far right) inspired heroine Cady Heron in the film. Image: Paramount; Tina Fey.

"I tried to use real names in writing because it's just easier," Fey explained of naming her characters - starting with the film's heroine Cady Heron, who was named after Cady Garey, Fey's college roommate while they were studying at The University of Virginia in the early '90s.


The real Cady didn't appear to be home-schooled in Africa, but she did seem to be one of Fey's closest friends during a formative part of her life.

"We really didn't have any furniture," Garey told the University of Virginia Magazine of their humble home. "Just mattresses on the floor and a bean bag in the living room."

Garey, who in 2013 was a drama teacher at the university, even acted alongside Fey in a 1991 production of The Elephant Man, but she would often watch Fey in her creative mode.

"I would just sit there, watching her write and write and write," Garey recalls. "I finally asked her, 'What is it that you're writing down?' And she said, 'Oh, just stuff. Anything I think of.'"

The real Damian Hubbard.

Sassy Damian in Mean Girls was named after Fey's high-school friend, Damian Holbrook. Image: Paramount;

Quirky, kind, creative outsider Damian befriends Cady in Mean Girls, and in real life, Fey met her own Damian when they were teenagers at Summer State, a youth theatre program in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.


The real Damian is now a writer for TV Guide, and decades later he and Fey are still buddies - he even conducted a sit-down chat with Fey in front of an audience to kick off the tour for the Broadway musical Mean Girls in 2019.

And it seems the real Damian shares some similarities with the fierce on screen Damian.

"Don't f**k with me. I was gay and fat in an all-boys Catholic high school. I didn't survive that nightmare to put up with yours," Damian H wrote on Twitter in 2019.

The real Regina George.

Queen of the Plastics Regina was the brainchild of Tina Fey, who used to be like her! Image: Paramount.

Fey may have played sarcastic maths teacher Ms Norbury, but there's another character she says she related to most once upon a time - ultimate mean girl Regina.


"I was [the mean girl]," Fey said. "I admit it openly. That was a disease that had to be conquered. It's another coping mechanism - it's a bad coping mechanism - but when you feel less-than, in your mind it's a way of leveling the playing field. Though of course, it's not."

The actor, 53, has long spoken about how Mean Girls is largely based on her own experiences as a teen at Upper Darby High School, including some traits she shared with the "poisonous" Regina.

"I revisited high school behaviours of my own - futile, poisonous, bitter behaviours that served no purpose," Fey has said. 


"That thing of someone saying 'You're really pretty' and then, when the other person thanks them, saying, 'Oh, so you agree? You think you're pretty?' That happened in my school. That was a bear trap."

Fey also said her own mum inspired Regina's habit of complimenting women on their style, then badmouthing their fashion behind their backs.

The real Glen Coco.

This random character doesn't even speak in the film, but nevertheless, "You go, Glen Coco!" has become one of the film's most quotable lines.

And it turns out, the real Glen Cocco (with two 'C's irl) is a good friend of Fey's older brother, Peter. Growing up, the boys went to Upper Darby High School and later Temple University together.

Fey later joked that she "ruined his life" by randomly using his name, which she spelt slightly different in the film.

"He's a film editor in Los Angeles, and I imagine it's a pain in the butt for him. Someone said to me [that] you could buy a shirt at Target that says, 'You go, Glen Coco!' That was unexpected," Fey said.

Before the film was released in 2004, Cocco saw an early cut and thought the line was funny, but didn't think it would lead to people endlessly reciting Mean Girls to him or him being a catch phrase on clothing.

"I get a laugh sometimes when I purchase something using my credit card," he said. 

"There are a lot of different generations exposed to the movie, so sometimes it's inescapable."

Feature Image: Paramount.

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