"It's for high schoolers now."
Avantika Vandanapu, a rising star in the world of cinema, has recently been cast as Karen Smith in the new musical version of Mean Girls, surprising fans and taking the internet by storm.
This role was originally portrayed by Amanda Seyfried in the 2004 film.
Born into a Telugu family in San Francisco, California, Avantika began her acting career in Telugu cinema in 2016, starring in the Mahesh Babu-led film, Brahmotsavam.
She quickly gained recognition as a child actor, appearing in various Telugu films such as Naga Chaitanya’s Premam, Rarandoi Veduka Chudham, and Jawan Kalyan’s Agnyaathavaasi.
In 2021, Avantika made her debut in Tamil cinema with the film Boomika, directed by Aishwarya Rajesh.
However, her role in the new Mean Girls film marks her transition to international cinema.
The new Mean Girls movie isn’t just a regular remake, it’s a musical remake.
Based on the 2018 Broadway musical, which was itself based on the 2004 film, the movie introduces audiences to a new generation of the Plastics.
The film pays tribute to the original with favourite one-liners and some returning cast members but also features significant differences, including the musical format and a modernised setting.
In a nod to Avantika’s Indian heritage, her character Karen Smith’s last name has been changed to Karen Shetty.
Co-director Samantha Jayne explained the changes, saying:
“It’s for high schoolers now, so we wanted to make it reflective of their experience.
“It also has music and we’re able to dive deeper into character and really have an opportunity to dimensionalise these characters more.”
Following Mean Girls, Avantika is set to star in and executive produce a live-action young-adult series for Disney titled A Crown of Wishes.
Her character, Princess Gauri, is anticipated to make her the youngest-ever South Asian teen to achieve this feat.
In addition to her impressive filmography, Avantika Vandanapu has also made her mark in the world of Disney and reality TV.
In 2021, she took on a leading role in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Spin, showcasing her versatility as an actress.
The following year, she brought the character of Janet Singh to life in the American comedy, Senior Year.
But her talents aren’t limited to acting. Avantika also proved her dancing prowess by becoming the second winner of the Zee TV reality show, Dance India Dance Lil Masters North America.
This multi-talented young actress is truly making waves in the entertainment industry.