Being on Broadway was a dream for Reneé Rapp, who briefly starred as Regina George in Mean Girls: The Musical before the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down. But at 19 years old, her experience on set for the production proved detrimental to her mental health and exacerbated her eating disorder, the actress and singer shared in a recent interview with the Guardian.
Rapp recalled that people on the production “would say some vile fucking things to me about my body,” adding that growing concern for her health and wellbeing caused her parents to fly to New York in an attempt to pull her from the musical completely. The production itself closed on Broadway in March 2020, but the 23-year-old will reprise her role as Regina George in the forthcoming Paramount+ film adaptation. In the meantime, her focus has shifted to music, which has actually worried her parents more.
“[They’re] more worried than they ever have been, because they know more now,” Rapp explained. “Eating disorders don’t just go away and you’re healed, like: ‘Sorry, I can eat again, ha ha!’ It’s a lifelong thing. There are battles with addiction and whatever everywhere. I still struggle with it, but at least my parents know that I’ve been taken out of environments that were really harmful to my sickness, which is awesome and a huge win. They worry like hell, but they’re chilling, I guess.”
Earlier this year, Rapp told Rolling Stone about the relief she felt when the production on the musical closed. “There’s a picture of me on FaceTime with my ex, sobbing and being like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m going to eat in the middle of the day.’ I was scared shitless, and I was also happier than I had been in a very long time,’” she explained.
She stated at the time that the hurtful comments came from someone who was “really influential on that project and in my life at the time,” but clarified that it was not anyone who worked on the Mean Girls film. “Getting told how he could tell I didn’t like my body … I was like, ‘I’m a fucking teenager,’” she said. During that period, she would often be pulled out of shows after becoming sick from a lack of food.
But even her appearance in Mean Girls: The Musical was a means to an end tied to her biggest goals as an artist. “I told them, ‘I will only take this job if you promise to help me in my music career one day. I want to be a pop star. I do not want to do this forever,’” she shared. Last week, Rapp shared her debut album, Snow Angel.
In a review of the record, Rolling Stone wrote: “Snow Angel allows Rapp to channel her larger-than-life emotions into twisty pop songs that take big swings while being keenly aware of the human at their core.”