Posted on May 14, 2024

‘Mean Girls’ Star Avantika Talks Colorism, Says She Feels ‘Uglier in India’ Than in the U.S.

Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC, May 9, 2024

“Mean Girls” star Avantika is speaking out about colorism in India and the negative perceptions of darker-skinned women from South India.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, the 19-year-old actor, who just goes by her first name, said she feels Indian beauty standards malign women with her complexion, and those darker.

“I have definitely always felt uglier in India than I have here,” she said. “The colorism situation is primarily one of the biggest reasons why.”


“I’m South Indian, and there’s this perception that North Indian women are more beautiful than South Indian women,” she said. “And the South Indian women who do reach insane levels of success in India are very light-skinned — some have become lighter skinned.”


Avantika is also finding acceptance herself — with her career taking off and spanning genres. She played Karen Shetty in “Mean Girls” this year, cementing a new brown-skinned face for the iconic character, originally named Karen Smith in the 2004 version of the film.

In an interview with The Cut earlier this year, she said she and screenplay writer Tina Fey collaborated on how to add her identity to Karen, and she suggested a change to the last name.

“It was an amazing opportunity to use not just a South Asian, but a specifically South Indian last name,” she said. “Opportunities for brown women in this industry are few and far from many, so we don’t really have the privilege of specificity. When you get the chance, you jump on it for your own people.”