I still remember the outfit I wore to see Mean Girls. It was a printed Abercrombie & Fitch top that most likely said “Brunettes Have More Fun,” and a too-short A&F corduroy skirt. I was finishing up middle school as a too-tall eighth grader with too-curly hair and really good teeth (I got my braces off early, suckers!) and went to see the raunchy comedy with a group of girlfriends.
Seeing Mean Girls with a group of 14-year-olds with flat-ironed hair and monogrammed jelly purses meant that immediately after the movie ended, we all decided which of The Plastics we would be. (I got Gretchen because I had big hair and gossiped.) But beyond the obvious desire to find a slice of myself in these older, cooler, curse-ier teens, the one character that was truly seared into my brain forever was Kylie, Regina George’s hip-thrusting, Girls Gone Wild-watching little sister. Maybe it’s because I am an older sibling, and my own sister would constantly turn our living room into a private dance studio at that age. Maybe it’s because she was the least threatening person on the screen, but Kylie George, played by a 7-year-old Nicole Crimi, became an icon to me — and many others — that day.
Now 22, Crimi fondly recalls her time as Kylie on the Toronto set of the film. Although she only appeared in two scenes, Crimi says the experience changed her life. She’s no longer an actress — she quit soon after Mean Girls to focus on school and art, and is currently applying to medical school — she was happy to talk about her role in the 2004 film in honor of its 15th anniversary.
On the phone from Toronto, Crimi gave Refinery29 a brief history of her time on the set filming alongside living legends Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Rachel McAdams, and what it’s like explaining to her IRL friends that yes, that is her gyrating to Kelis’ “Milkshake.”
Refinery29: When did you start acting, and how did you get cast in Mean Girls?
Nicole Crimi: “I was an actress as a kid, and so were my two older sisters. It was a fun activity for us. My agent would send us out to a bunch of auditions, and they sent out this role to like hundreds of people. You think, What are the chances? It was funny.”
Do you remember how they described Kylie in the character breakdown?
“I don’t remember that, but I do remember that my agent called my mom and said that they needed me to dance provocatively to the Beyoncé’s ‘Naughty Girl’ while gyrating on the floor. My mom says ‘Nicole, I am going to teach you these dance moves, but I don’t want you to ever do them again.’ I practiced this over and over. When I went to the audition room, all I remember is people laughing at me dancing so provocatively. I told my mom they laughed at me, and she was like, ‘That’s great sweetie!’ When I got to set to actually film, they only wanted the hip part of the dance. I was like, Wait, what about the rest of it?!”
Did you choreograph the dance yourself?
“The part where I have my hands above my head and I’m moving my hips is what I had originally done in my audition. That was their favorite part, so that is the part they had me do in the movie.”
How many takes did you have to do?
“I don’t remember, I think just the normal amount. It was mostly the timing with Rachel McAdams walking in with the girls and saying, ‘Hey Kylie!’”
Were you actually dancing to “Milkshake” by Kelis while you were filming? And was that really Girls Gone Wild playing on the TV in the second scene?
“Yeah, they were both actually playing.”
When you hear the song now, how do you feel?
“It makes me laugh. I had so much fun acting in this because I was just a little kid, so it brings me back to those times. I’ve watched Mean Girls countless times, and the movie has opened so many doors and conversations. I can’t help but smile at that.”
I feel like my friends would play the song constantly to troll me.
“I actually don’t talk about it that much. I did acting as a kid, and it is not who I am now. But it is really funny when we are watching the movie, and then I’m like, Oh yeah; that is me. One time I was watching the movie with a girl who didn’t know that was me, and she paused it at my scene and was like, ‘That’s Miley Cyrus’ little sister.’ And I’m like, ‘No it’s not.’ So she Googles it, and then looks at me and is like, ‘Oh.’”
Did you choose your own clothes?
“No, I didn’t, but I did have to have an undershirt taped to me. In the scene where I pull up my shirt, they had to make sure that they did not really have a little kid flashing a TV, so I had to have an undershirt on. I went to a Catholic elementary school, and it was not very impressive that I was a little kid flashing a TV, so I would make sure to tell everyone that I had an undershirt on. I also saw articles later saying that people were surprised that Regina George’s little sister wasn’t really a Girls Gone Wild girl.”
Did you film any scenes that weren’t in the final cut of the film?
“Above the fireplace in the Mean Girls mansion was a massive family portrait [of the Georges], so we had to go in another day to take a bunch of photos of us for that, too. I found a picture of the portrait this year, and it’s hilarious. I don’t know where that portrait is, but I’d love to find out.”
Who from the cast were you closest with?
“I was really close with Rachel McAdams. The whole cast was really hilarious, but The Plastics had this one area where they would all hang out and play games. Since Rachel played my older sister in the movie, I just saw her as an older sister figure on set.”
Did you stay in touch with anyone?
“The after party in Toronto was really the last time I saw everybody.”
Does anyone recognize you these days?
“Now that more articles have come out, and I’m from a small town, people recognize that. But back when I was in high school, a few people recognized that it was me, which I thought was very interesting.”
Were you allowed to see the movie when it came out?
“I went to the premiere with all the actors. I was so excited and proud of the movie that when my friends would come over we would watch it, but we never understood what any of the words meant. One of the gifts that the production team gave me was the soundtrack of the movie. I would play it in the car with my mom. It wasn’t the most appropriate, but I didn’t know what anything meant. My mom would tell me, ‘Don’t repeat this word and do not do this.’ When I went to high school, I remember they would show Mean Girls for anti-bullying, because it does have some good things. They show it for education purposes now.”
What do you love most about Mean Girls? Why do you think people still care about it?
“It’s just so quotable, like ‘That’s so fetch!’ I don’t know any other movie where people actually use the line from the movie as they do with Mean Girls.”
Do you have a favorite?
“My mom uses, ‘I’m not just any mom, I’m a cool mom.’ all the time. I try not to do it too much. If someone doesn’t know I’m in it, I can quote it a ton, but otherwise it’s just obnoxious.”
Does it feel like its been 15 years?
“I have such vivid memories of being on set. It makes me feel old. I was 6 or 7 years old., I was in second grade in elementary.”
What are you up to now?
“I slowly found myself attending less auditions and saying no more often. It is impossible to be successful in that industry unless you are 100%committed to it. When I was in high school, I started painting more, and people started purchasing my art, which made me realize that it was something bigger. I started using my drawing for activism and raising money for causes I am passionate about. I also just graduated from university last year, and I am also applying to medical school. I couldn’t do all this if I had remained an actress.”
What do you think Kylie George would be doing right now?
“I picture it being Hump Day everyday, and she is just living on a boat and dancing and having a good time — all the time.”