Barrett Wilbert Weed gives her middle finger to mean girls everywhere in the ‘Mean Girls’ Broadway anthem, ‘I’d Rather Be Me.’ She talked about the life-changing number in an exclusive interview.
“It’s a very simple song but the message is, I would rather be me than be with people who make me feel small, or make me feel shitty, or make me feel like I’m not worthy of being loved,” Barrett Wilbert Weed told me of her transformative anthem from Mean Girls, The actress, who plays the defiant Janis Sarkisian, sat with HollywoodLife.com just days after the musical’s star-studded opening to talk about her character and the ultimate highlight of the show (in my humble opinion) — her performance of “I’d Rather Be Me.” “When you’re a kid, the last thing you want to be is different. When you’re that age, that’s like the hardest thing, just to be like happy with who you are,” Barrett explained. “It’s so hard to have social awareness and it’s so hard to know what makes you happy. But it’s great to have a young character be able to figure that out… after making like, every conceivable mistake.” The song comes when most Mean Girls fans would expect Janis to cackle and say “I’ve got a big lesbian crush on you!” when telling off Cady and Regina. Rather, lyricist Nell Benjamin wrote a powerful song that everyone can relate to — whether they’re transported back to high school, wishing they had the same ‘f**k you’ attitude, or nodding along in a current state of self-acceptance.
“And if I eat alone from this moment on / That’s just what I’ll do / ‘Cause I’d rather be me, I’d rather be me / I’d rather be me than be with you,” Barrett belts before trust-falling into a crowd of chanting high school girls. Not only is it a pivotal moment in the show, but it’s also what I’ve excitingly coined the “Ben Platt Moment” — a moment in any Broadway performance that will change, and save, lives. “Sometimes what’s meant to break you, makes you brave” is one of the many simple lines from the song that reaches into the deepest part of your soul and makes you come alive with emotions you weren’t sure you could feel all once… sadness, empowerment, nostalgia, regret, and absolute fire under your ass.
Fans got a taste of Barrett’s immense talent on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where she performed the empowering number just before it was released as the first single off the Mean Girls Original Cast Recording soundtrack. The full soundtrack comes out on May 18th, but is currently available for pre-order. My advice: listen to the lyrics of “I’d Rather Be Me,” learn from them, and get tickets to Mean Girls on Broadway… fast.