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Mean Girls: The Story Behind How Tina Fey's Modeled One Of Regina George's Meanest ‘Moves’ After Her Own Mother

 Rachel McAdams as Regina George in Mean Girls.
Rachel McAdams as Regina George in Mean Girls.

How do we begin to describe Regina George in Mean Girls? Played by Rachel McAdams in one of her best movies, Regina George is the Queen Bee of North Shore High who fights sneaky, steals your crush, and makes sure to come out on top in everything. A real “fetch” fact about how the leader of The Plastics pulled off her meanest “moves” actually comes from the mother of the film’s actress and scriptwriter, Tina Fey.

Mean Girls is not only a movie that teachers can relate to on some level about how teenage girls think, but a comedy film we all can relate to. We’ve all been there in high school where we’re either the quiet one, the nerdy one, or the mean one. Mean Girls star and screenwriter Tina Fey wrote this movie based on her own experiences like one classic real-life moment of the 2004 flick when Regina George tells Cady she looks pretty only to ask her, “So, you agree?” After realizing it was a trap and a sneaky way of saying she didn’t think the 30 Rock star was pretty, she knew she had to put that real-life experience in her movie.

The evil and cunning Regina George wasn’t created out of thin air. Tina Fey was actually inspired to write the character of North Shore High’s Queen Bee based on her own mother with a classy real-life moment that brought the character to life.

The Mean Girls Scene Premise That, Like, Invented Regina George

When Regina George and Cady Heron are talking in the hallway, Regina sees another high schooler pass by her wearing a plaid skirt. She compliments the skirt and asks the girl where she got it. After pointing out to Regina that it belonged to her mom in the ‘80s, the popular high school junior said, “Vintage! So adorable.” This made the vintage skirt-wearer feel happy after.

Just when you think Regina George is trying to do a sweet thing for a fellow classmate, she reveals a twist to Cady. She delivers her true thoughts on the attire saying, “That was one of the ugliest f-ing skirts I’ve ever seen.” This brought back the time when Cady first met Regina and she complimented the bracelet she was wearing. The iconic moment that was just witnessed here was The Plastics leader showing her true colors by saying one nice thing to someone else’s face only to reveal what she was harshly genuinely thinking to another.

The Inspiration Behind Regina George

If you can believe it, the character of Regina George was based on a real-life character in Tina Fey’s life. In a 2004 interview with Blackfilm where the SNL alum was asked if the memorable character was based off of anyone, here's what she said:

Regina is not. Regina is the most amalgamated. One of Regina's big moves in the movie is actually based on my mom. My mom has this habit that if she sees a lady in a really ugly hat or a glittery sweatshirt, she'll go ‘I love your shirt’ and I'll say ‘Mom, that's really mean.’ And she'll say ‘clearly she wanted someone to notice that shirt. She picked it out. It has a huge Teddy Bear on it.’ That is actually the closest to a real inspiration for the movie.’

There you have it! The real-life inspiration of Regina George came from Tina Fey’s own mother. I know, right? All you have to do is witness your mom lie to a woman about loving her teddy bear shirt only to tell you the harsh truth. It may have appeared harsh in real life to the Baby Mama actress, but it was “so fetch” to see in her movie.

Another source of inspiration for Rachel McAdams to play Regina George was through the advice of Mean Girls director Mark Waters. In a 2014 New York Times interview, The Notebook actress said she was told by Waters to listen to Courtney Love at full volume and watch Alec Baldwin play fun movie side character Blake from the stage-adapted film Glengarry Glen Ross. Those are some awesome comparisons as all you have to do is hear Courtney Love scream “Someday, you will ache what I ache” and Blake verbally abusing the salesmen of his firm to feel the power of being on top.

It looks like the character of Regina George was based on a number of inspirations like Tina Fey’s mom, Courtney Love's music, and Alec Baldwin's character from Glengarry Glen Ross. No wonder this classic Mean Girls character was a force to be reckoned with. You can watch the movie that started it all on your Paramount+ subscription. Fey’s 2024 movie release of the musical adaptation is currently playing in theaters now.