Caroline Kraft From Mean Girls Is Gorgeous In Real Life

The actress who played Caroline Kraft in Mean Girls is nothing like her on-screen persona. In fact, Clare Preuss, a Canadian who hails from Lethbridge, Alberta, and her most famous character couldn't be more different. While Caroline Kraft went down in pop culture history in 2004 as the snaggletoothed mathlete who faced off against Lindsay Lohan's Cady Heron (and who was told she needed to meet a pair of eyebrow tweezers ASAP), Preuss is a beautiful and talented actress whose theater performances have garnered both praise and accolades.

But that's not all. Preuss is equally passionate about directing, as well as about teaching and mentoring future generations of artists. And her interests go beyond the stage and screen. She also has a major passion for yoga and has traveled the world, collaborating with companies and festivals in Germany, Switzerland, Lebanon, and Uganda. Here's the surprising truth about the woman behind the role of Caroline Kraft.

Her acting credits include more than just Mean Girls

There's no denying the fact that Preuss' most recognizable and most widely talked about role has been that of mathlete Caroline Kraft, but her acting credits go far beyond Mean Girls. The five-foot-seven actress has appeared in a handful of other feature films, including 2000's Loser and Urban Legend: Final Cut, as well as 2004's The Prince and Me. However, it's her long list of theater credits that's truly impressive.

Since receiving her BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta, Preuss has taken part in production after production. Just some of her credits include The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Andrew's Tree, and Working Girls. According to her official curriculum vitae, her on-stage skills stretch far beyond being able to jump into character and include dance in such styles as modern, tap, and jazz, not to mention singing (she's an Alto), stage combat, and even clowning.

She's an accomplished stage actress

In addition to her various stints on both the big and small screens, Preuss has quite the impressive resume when it comes to her stage career. That's right: She's actually quite the accomplished theater actress and is even listed as an Associate Artist at Volcano Theatre. The Toronto-based company is on a mission "to create outward-looking and relevant theatrical art, rigorously made for live audiences in Canada and abroad" and "to work across boundaries of all kinds in this pursuit: geographic, cultural and formal."

The Canadian is also an Artist in Residence at a multi-disciplinary arts incubator and studio called KABIN and has worked for a slew of theater companies and festivals in her native Canada, as well as abroad. She's worked at New Harlem Productions, Ottawa's National Arts Centre, Lebanon's Theatre Monnot, Uganda's Bayimba International Festival, New York's Buffalo Infringement Festival, and many, many more.

She loves teaching drama ... and yoga

In the midst of pursuing her acting and directing careers full-time, Preuss also finds room in her busy schedule to teach. She's a faculty member at Humber College in Toronto and works in both the Theatre Performance and Theatre Production departments. That's not her most surprising teaching gig, however. Get this: She's also a certified yoga instructor!

In the summer of 2017, Preuss offered free outdoor classes on Monday evenings in Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park, which catered to all experience levels. According to her teaching profile, she first discovered yoga while taking a dance class at the University of Alberta back in 1997 and, just three years later in 2000, she completed her Hatha Yoga Teacher training at The Yoga Studio in Toronto. Over the years, Preuss has reportedly taught classes at a number of different locations, including "studios, schools, theatres, community centres, beaches, homes and more."

Her students can't stop gushing about her

Preuss seems to have quite the knack for teaching. In May 2018, she demonstrated just how passionate she was about sharing her knowledge and experience with the next generation of artists when she took part in Paprika Festival's Directors' Lab. As part of the program, Preuss mentored three aspiring directors, and, from the sounds of it, she really knocked it out of the park.

Speaking with In the Greenroom, her mentees — Ty Sloane, Bryn Kennedy, and Kevin McLachlan — had nothing but words of praise and admiration to share about their experience being mentored by Preuss. "She has shared her patience and understanding of the industry and her own process with such a clear passion for the work and has extended all sorts of tools she has," McLachlan gushed.

Sloane echoed his sentiment, adding, "She's really done a great job of providing ways for the three of us to learn from each other and from her, and to adapt whether it's a game or an approach." Meanwhile, Kennedy elaborated, explaining that Preuss and her mentees all came from a "performance background" and that she's helped them find ways to feel "comfortable and safe" while performing. 

Kennedy added, "She's been really good about meeting us all where we are at."

Her theater work has faced harsh criticism ... and praise

In November 2017, Preuss helped stage a play called CAKE at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille, which was not appreciated by some critics, to put it nicely. While reviewing the play, which was written by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and billed by NOW Toronto as taking a "stark and poetic look at the things we use, how we are used and what happens when we're all used up," the outlet's writer Glenn Sumi didn't mince words, calling the show "an underwritten, incomprehensible allegory about exploiting Niger's resources."

After criticizing CAKE's script, actors, lighting, and just about every other aspect of the production, Sumi made room in his article to call out the play's director by name, writing, "The script desperately needs dramaturgy, and director Clare Preuss doesn't help matters, staging some scenes awkwardly on the TPM staircase."

Even so, Preuss has also received plenty of praise for her work. Over the years, she has been nominated for the Ontario Arts Council's prestigious John Hirsch Director's Award and Canada Council for the Arts' John Hirsch Prize. Meanwhile, as a student, she took home the Houselighters of the Citadel Theatre Award, which is given by the University of Alberta to undergraduate students in their third year of study in the drama department.

She snagged a major gig

The Board of Directors at Calgary's Downstage theater went through what they dubbed as "an extensive search" to find a new Artistic Director for their company and, when all was said and done, chose Preuss for the role.

Speaking about her new gig, which came with a start date of Nov. 1, 2018, Preuss gushed, "I'm invigorated by Downstage's fresh approach in creating excellent theatre that engages Calgary's community in innovative ways, while addressing important social issues." She added that she was "excited" to head back to Alberta for her new role as Artistic Director and was looking forward to "collaborating with a wide variety of local artists, organizations and community members on new leading-edge theatre projects."

Board President Salimah Kassam also couldn't have been happier, declaring, "With her theatrical acumen and knowledge of social impact, Clare is an ideal choice to lead Downstage into our future. We look forward to welcoming her to our wonderful city and Downstage community in the fall."

Clare Preuss has certainly come a long way from her days as Mean Girls' Caroline Kraft!