When Kody Keplinger penned "The DUFF" while still in high school, she probably couldn't have guessed that a few years later Kylie Jenner would be strutting down the street in a T-shirt inspired by her debut young adult novel -- a T-shirt reading "I'm Somebody's DUFF." For those not in the know, "DUFF" stands for "Designated Ugly Fat Friend."
I'll let you get alllll of this out of your system now...
Now that we've all expressed ourselves, allow me to explain. In both Keplinger's book and its cinematic adaptation, out Thursday (February 19), "The DUFF" isn't used solely as a nasty lunchroom insult. The book centers around a teen named Bianca, a relatively popular kid with a cadre of hot female friends whose perception of herself is turned upside down when popular Man Whore Wesley tells her she's the "DUFF."
Despite his hurtful designation, however, Wesley and Bianca strike up a relationship -- (realistic) sex and all -- and Bianca sets off on a journey of self-exploration that culminates in the realization that everyone considers themselves the DUFF at one time of the other, regardless of looks or weight.
The film follows roughly the same storyline -- minus some sex and plus an ill-fated makeover scene.
As the flick's release date grows closer -- and more celebs are embracing their inner DUFF-dom -- MTV News hit up Keplinger to talk the film and the term. Check out eight things we learned about the YA author below:
She's Pretty Disruptive On Set
"I got to meet the cast and I got to see where they were shooting and watch them film some -- which was really, really funny and cool because the scenes I watched were a couple of scenes with Robbie [Amell, who plays Wesley] in them. He would always just improv random lines, so I got in trouble once for laughing too loudly."
She Has A Cameo In The Film!
"While I was on set the director was like, 'Hey, do you want to do a cameo?' and I just said, 'Sure!' So we did that that night and it was just so strange. I remember doing it but I didn’t know if it would make into the movie. So when I saw the screening of it, and I was in it, I was like both excited and mortified because I was just like, 'Oh, God, I’m on screen!’"
Another 'DUFF' Book Is Coming
"I have a book coming out in April called 'Lying Out Loud,' and it is a companion novel to 'The DUFF.' It’s actually a companion novel to all three of my first books. But the characters from 'The DUFF,' mainly Bianca and Wesley, play a fairly big part in the story. They’re not the main characters, but Wesley’s little sister is."
The Film Could Have Been More, Uh, Adult
"Yes, the [book and movie] are different. One of the big reasons for that is that if the book was adapted as-is [with all the sex], it would be rated R. I know CBS wanted to give it out to a PG-13 audience, reaching a wider audience that way."
The Casting Of The Film Was SPOT ON
"In 2010, before 'The DUFF,' came out, I did a blog post. I love fan-casting my books; that sounds weird, because I’m an author, but that’s a thing I do. I like to have actors in my head, usually two or three for each character, to help me write. It helps a lot. I made a post about some of the actors in my head who I was imagining as the characters. All the way back in 2010, Mae Whitman was actually one of them for Bianca."
Bianca Is Kind Of An Everywoman
"In the book I actually never describe what Bianca looks like. I describe what she thinks she looks like, which is a little different. I did that deliberately because I think anybody can be Bianca."
She Didn't Come Up With The Term 'DUFF'
"One thing I want to make clear is I didn’t create the word DUFF. I think a lot of people assume I did because maybe the book is the first place they’d heard it. But actually that word was being used in my high school when I was a teenager. So I wrote the book as a way to reclaim the word. I realized after talking to my friends that we all thought we were the DUFF. Everybody thinks they’re the DUFF."
But She's Happy People Are Reclaiming It
"I think it’s awesome to see someone like Kylie Jenner, who is beautiful and who is very well-known, wearing a shirt that says ‘I’m Somebody’s DUFF,’ because everyone has felt that way. How can you use that word as a weapon when even Kylie Jenner says she’s a DUFF?"