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"See? That's the thing with you plastics. You think everybody is in love with you when actually, everybody hates you! Like, Aaron Samuels, for example, he broke up with Regina and guess what? He still doesn't want you! So why are you still messing with Regina, Cady? I'll tell you why, because you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!"
―Janis Ian to Cady Heron[src]

Janis Ian is the deuteragonist in Mean Girls. She is portrayed by Lizzy Caplan. In the Broadway musical (Mean Girls) she is portrayed by Barrett Wilbert Weed, and her last name was changed to Sarkisian. In the 2024 musical film she is portrayed by Auli’i Cravalho and her last name was changed to ‘Imi’ike.

Janis is the very first person Cady befriends after transferring to North Shore High School. Early in the movie, we find out that she doesn't really have a good reputation in school and that other students constantly treat her like a punching bag.

She's also a very close friend of Damian, and the two have a pretty weird and funny relationship which can be seen in many memorable scenes throughout the movie. Janis claims that Damian is 'too gay to function' and it's only okay when she says it.

Early life[]

Janis is of Lebanese heritage, and grew up with Regina George.

Janis was Regina George's best friend since childhood, and (presumedly) previously very popular and fashionable. It is unknown as to when the "The Plastics" were formed, but it was a thing by at least the eighth grade and containing Regina, Gretchen Wieners, Karen Smith, and Janis. During the eight grade, Reginia began spreading rumours about Janis being a lesbian. The exact reason as to why Regina did this is unknown, but in the movie she says that Janis was very possessive over her which caused her to believe she was lesbian. The rumours and bullying got so bad that Janis's parents took her out of school for the rest of the year. Janis took this opportunity to start expressing herself through alternative style and the arts, which was something she was not allowed to do whilst under Regina's tyranny. She came back freshman year completely different and with a new-found hatred for Regina.

Mean Girls[]

At the beginning of the movie, Janis is considered to be a social outcast. She befriends Cady, and they skip class together along with Damian. After Cady sits with the Plastics at lunch instead, Janis tells her she should become friends with the group so they can laugh about the horrible things the Plastics get up to behind their backs.

Unlike Cady, Janis knew from the start that Regina was mean, and a bully. After Cady leaves the Halloween party in tears seeing Regina kissing Aaron, she devises a plan with Janis and Damian to destroy Regina. They plot together to ruin the things that bring her popularity, being her friendships, her relationship with Aaron, and her body.

While working on sabotaging Regina, it's revealed that she used to be friends with Janis until Regina began to believe Janis was a lesbian (and that she had a crush on her) and spread rumuors about her because of it. Cady began spending more time with the Plastics, and by the time they succeed in bringing Regina down, they hardly talk. She tells Janis and Damien she is going away with her parents the weekend of Janis' art show, but she ends up staying to host a small get-together at her house.

However, this turns into a huge party that Damien and Janis happen to drive past on their way home. She then tells Cady she is cold, shiny, hard plastic and not pretending anymore, Cady accuses Janis of being in love with her, to which Janis is noticeably infuriated by, and throws her artwork of the three together at Cady before they drive away.

Once the Burn Book (in which Janis is called a "dyke") becomes public and the girls are brought into the gymnasium to work through what has been going on, Janis reveals to everyone what she and Cady have been doing to Regina in their trust fall exercise. At the end of her speech, she jokes that the reason she hates Regina so much is because of her "big, lesbian crush" on her. She lets herself fall off of the stage, where everyone catches her and begins chanting her name in support of calling out the bullies in their year.

At the Spring Fling, Janis and Damian arrive in matching purple tuxedos. She was a nominee for Spring Fling Queen but didn't win, however, she is thrown a piece of the crown when it's broken. Janis forgives Cady when she apologizes for how she's been acting. While dancing, Janis and Damian kiss briefly, to which they both find disgusting. Kevin then comes over to dance with Janis and they begin dating at the end of their junior year and during their senior year.

Physical Appearance[]

Janis has fair skin, which along with her black hair color and overall dark makeup, makes her look like a goth. Regina stated that Janis cut all of her hair during the eighth grade and ever since, people started to make fun of her - calling her a 'drug addict' or saying that she has a 'cool wig', which implies she used to have very nice hair.

Her style is a late 90's grunge look meets early emo, which would have blended well in any major city like Seattle or NYC but was instead considered strange. It is important to point out that the book which the movie is based on takes place at a time when the Kate Moss, Chanel Vamp, Alternative Music, and all things grunge, was sweeping the nation.

Quotes[]

"Your mother called you "Baby Girl"?"
―Janis Ian[src]
"I am a space alien, and I have 4 butts!"
―Janis Ian[src]
"You smell like baby prostitute."
―Janis Ian to Cady Heron[src]
"He's almost too gay to function."
―Janis Ian to Cady Heron about Damian[src]
"God! See, at least me and Regina George know we're mean! You try to act like you're so innocent, like oh, 'I used to live in Africa with all the little birdies and the little monkeys!'"
―Janis Ian to Cady Heron[src]

Trivia[]

  • Originally Janis family heritage is Lebanese, but in the 2024 musical film, she is Native Hawaiian.
  • Janis was named after the famous singer Janis Ian.
  • Originally Janis was a rumored lesbian in the 2004 film, but is confirmed a lesbian in the 2024 musical film.


Main Characters
Regina GeorgeGretchen WienersJanis IanKaren SmithCady HeronDamian Leigh
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