Aaron Samuels, Damian, and Kevin G all have one thing in common. They all came out as gay in real life.
The 2004 film Mean Girls has become a cult classic film. It was written by Tina Fey and directed by Mark Waters and was roughly based on the non-fiction self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes. This is a central theme that the film deals with. It then builds up to a nasty fight in the halls of the school and an intervention that ends with the lesson that girls should support other girls instead of putting each other down.
There were many iconic characters in the film that resonated with a whole generation of teens who grew up watching it. These characters include the high school heartthrob, Aaron Samuels, played by Jonathan Bennett, who is Regina's (Rachel McAdams) ex-boyfriend, and Cady's (Lindsey Lohan) love interest. There is also Damian, played by Daniel Franzese, who is Janis' (Lizzy Caplan) best friend, and the two join forces to deploy Cady to infiltrate the Plastics and sabotage them. Then, of course, there's Kevin G, portrayed by Rajiv Surendra, the mathlete and rapper who has some sick bars. What do all these men from the movie have in common? They all came out as gay in real life.
First off, we have Franzese, who played Damian. He came out in 2014 in the best way possible, by writing a letter to his Mean Girls character. In the letter published in IndieWire, he wrote: "You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I'd had you as a role model when I was younger. It might've been easier to be gay growing up." He then explained how he tried to keep the fact that he was gay a secret all his life but it changed after "grown men started to coming up to me on the street – some of them in tears – and thanking me for being a role model to them." He then took inspiration from his character and came out on the 10th anniversary of the film.
Bennett, who played Aaron Samuels stayed in the closet till the buzz of Mean Girls died out. "I think 2003 is a much different climate than 2019," he told Too Fab. "We lived in a weird world where us actors who were working in the public eye at the time that was gay, we all didn't know what to do. There was no like, 'How does this work?'" He then added, "There comes a time in your life when you realize it just doesn't matter, and it's not worth it to not just live completely open as yourself. And that's what happened for me." He and his fellow co-star Franzese had come out to each other on the sets of the film. "When I came out, I urged him to come out," Franzese told Gay Times. "He just wasn't ready at the time. I'm glad now he's at a place in his life where he can feel free to be himself. I'm proud of him." He is now engaged to be married to his boyfriend Jaymes Vaughan.
Now for Surendra, who plays Kevin G. The actor turned artist, published his memoir, The Elephants In My Backyard, in 2016. In the book, he mentioned his sexuality as well as touched upon sensitive matters from his childhood, such as domestic abuse. "Regarding cultural taboos, I grew up in a household where no aspect of sexuality whatsoever was ever mentioned," he told Kajal Mag. "But what was easy for me is that I moved to a completely foreign country. I had complete anonymity there, which I think helped me come to terms with doing what I wanted. I didn't need to be worried about what everyone else thought."
He shared how he kept his sexuality a secret, fearing he would not land a role for Life of Pi. He did not get the role, but he said, "Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I got that part. I might be in an apartment in New York waiting for my next role, still be closeted, afraid that I wouldn't get another role if I were openly gay. It's a little scary to think that I might have achieved something that was tactile, but I don't know how that would have affected my character and actual growth. That's why I wrote the book."