In the ABC Family original movie, Mean Girls 2 (premiering tonight at 8/7c), Maiara Walsh plays Mandi DuPont, a verbally abusive high school Queen Bee who bullies other girls and stops at nothing to bring them down. But in real life, Walsh says she was the one who was victimized by bullies in school growing up.
"Middle school was probably my hardest time," recalls the part-Brazilian actress, who says she got made fun of a lot for being small and skinny. "I was trying to fit in for so long, until about Junior year of high school when I realized that trying to fit into this one image of perfection was never going to make me happy," she says.
Since she was never a bully, Walsh looked at Rachel McAdams' performance as the Queen Bee, Regina in the first Mean Girls movie for ideas on how to play Mandi. "My character is very verbally abusive, but she tries to hide it under this facade of sweetness," explains Walsh. "I looked to how Rachel played everything very sweet."
But Walsh also makes clear that she's not trying to imitate what McAdams did in the first movie. "Hopefully people can see this as a new generation of mean girls. We're not trying to copy everything that happened in the first movie."
And despite the fact that her character Mandi seems like she's on top of the world (because she gets whatever she wants), Walsh says that couldn't be further from the truth.
"With any kind of mean girl, or anyone who bullies anyone, there's always a reason for it. There is that sadness in them or insecurity that makes them feel like they need to act out or hurt other people."
"Not that it makes it right," she adds.