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Move over Martin Scorsese—there’s a new It Girl in town.
One of the stars of the new Mean Girls movie and a successful musician in her own right, Reneé Rapp’s antics over the last few weeks have gone viral, endearing her to a whole new legion of fans. Rapp has all but dominated the Mean Girls press tour, and viewers have been eating up her chaotic energy and unfiltered honesty.
She went viral for her passionate takedown of a sexist bus driver named Buddy, told Andy Cohen she’s proudly ageist, went on The Colbert Show to tell the world she wants to date Rachel McAdams, and will fight anyone who argues with her belief that Regina George is a lesbian. Her unhinged interview moments have inspired fans to create video compilations like Reneé Rapp making her PR team question their life choices and I’m so here for it and Reneé Rapp being everyone’s intrusive thoughts for 5 minutes.
Much of the discourse about Rapp is that she lacks media training, which, in the eyes of these fans, is actually a good thing. Viewers are tired of the overly polite, canned response from celebs when they are promoting their projects, which is why Rapp’s “realness” has delighted users on social media. (To be sure, Rapp is a successful actor and singer and most definitely has been media-trained, but the fact that she doesn’t seem to care about optics is what’s appealing here.)
Rapp represents what so many fans want from celebs—candor and a sense of relatability. As a Gen Z woman, Repp speaks the language of her fans. She understands them, and they understand her. When someone brought a sign to her concert that read “Hit me with your tour bus pls” (a common stan request), she held it up proudly. On Instagram, she posted a series of photos with the caption “her lack of media training is outrageous,” in direct reference to the talk about her online.
The fact that Rapp is proudly queer is another huge part of her appeal. In addition to “publicly hitting on” Rachel McAdams for the entire Mean Girls press tour, Rapp speaks about what it means to be a queer actor and how great gay people are in almost every interview. Rapp embodies a new kind of celebrity. Being queer is central to her persona, but her declarations about identity feel totally natural—something that couldn’t be said about queerness in Hollywood even a decade ago.
Rapp’s dynamic star power has even changed the way people read the new Mean Girls. Her insistence that Regina George is a lesbian gives fans permission to regard her that way, something they’ve been doing since the Rachel McAdams days. Rapp is so persuasive in her beliefs and determined to be herself that it’s hard to argue with her. She’s been able to move the narrative of Mean Girls far beyond Tina Fey’s script, and considering the passions she’s stirred up, this is probably a good thing.
Why it matters
While Rapp is on top of the world right now, some fans are worried there will soon be a backlash, a fate that has befallen many unlucky actresses before her. In particular, fans are concerned she will get the “Jennifer Lawrence treatment,” where all the love for her will quickly turn to annoyance.
But for now, it’s clear Rapp has given fans the kind of celebrity conduct they have been craving. The Mean Girls press tour is arguably more interesting than the film itself, which curbs the delightful clownery that Rapp is known for. Chaos is precisely what the people want.