Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" Music Video Stars the Real Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls
Ariana Grande‘s latest music video is making her feel a little mean.
The singer, 25, is paying tribute to the 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls in the video for her hit breakup anthem “Thank U, Next” — and has even gotten the actor behind the film’s original love interest, Jonathan Bennett (a.k.a. Aaron Samuels), to join her in on the fun.
On Saturday, Grande shared a series of new shots from the set, all showing her dressed as the movie’s ultimate mean girl, Regina George (immortalized on screen by actress Rachel McAdams). Grande looked nearly identical to McAdams in the snaps, wearing everything from her perfect blonde locks to her pink cardigan and suede mini skirt. One picture even had her holding the iconic Burn Book!
Of course, who’s Regina George without her Plastics? By Grande’s side in a group snap was Dynasty star Elizabeth Gillies (as Lindsay Lohan’s Cady Heron), childhood BFF Alexa Luria (as Amanda Seyfried’s Karen Smith) and pal Courtney Chipolone (as Lacey Chabert’s Gretchen Wieners).
Bennett, 37, posed alongside them, reprising his role as Aaron — blue sweater and all. “Aaron ️ Regina,” he wrote on Instagram. “Thank U, Next.”
Mean Girls is just one of the beloved movies Grande is parodying in “Thank U, Next.”
After paying homage to The First Wives Club during a performance of the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Grande decided to re-enact more rom-com roles for the music video of her chart-topping single — including 13 Going on 30, Bring It On, and Legally Blonde.
Earlier this month, Grande shared the storyboard for the visual accompaniment to Instagram Stories, showing side-by-side photos of herself and the films she was inspired by.
She’s since been flooding her Instagram with pictures from set, most paired with iconic quotes from the films. “Whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed,” Grande captioned photos of herself with a throwback orange Apple laptop, which fans recognize as the same one Reese Witherspoon‘s Elle Woods used in Legally Blonde.
“I transferred from los angeles, your school has no gymnastics team this issaalast resort …….. ok i’ve never cheered before so what?” she captioned a photo of herself in full uniform, outlining the plot of Bring It On (the Kirsten Dunst–Gabrielle Union cheerleading classic).
There was a black and white photo of a dollhouse, the same one that magically transformed Jennifer Garner‘s Jenna into her 30s in 13 Going on 30.
And if that wasn’t enough, it turns out Bennett won’t be the only star from an original flick to make a cameo in the video. Jennifer Coolidge — who famously portrayed Elle’s best friend, Paulette, in 2001’s Legally Blonde — will also be making an appearance. On Tuesday, Grande posted a photo on social media of the two together, writing, “New best friend …. thank u, next.”
Grande’s beloved dog Toulouse will play Elle’s four-legged BFF, Bruiser Woods, too.
“Thank U, Next” is Grande’s first single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song finds Grande reviewing her past romances with dancer Ricky Alvarez, rapper Big Sean, comedian Pete Davidson and the late musician Mac Miller, who died on Sept. 7 at age 26. She praises all of them for helping fuel her personal growth.
“Thought I’d end up with Sean / But he wasn’t a match / Wrote some songs about Ricky / Now I listen and laugh / Even almost got married / And for Pete, I’m so thankful / Wish I could say ‘Thank you’ to Malcolm / ‘Cause he was an angel,” she sings in the tune.