It’s time we give Monique Coleman her flowers.
Here are six things to know about the actress, who played the Black girl in STEM on Disney’s “High School Musical.”
1. She began writing, directing, and producing in high school.
Coleman first rose to fame for her role in “High School Musical.” However, prior, she was awarded for her performance in a feature film titled “Mother of the River” and nominated for a Young Artists Award of Hollywood for her performance in “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters.” She even wrote, directed, and produced her own play while she was just in high school.
3. Her character in "High School Musical" was a Black girl in STEM.
Her character on “High School Musical,”Taylor McKessie, was the captain of the East High Scholastic Decathlon Team. In the movie, she sent a computer code to disrupt the power during the basketball finals. It helped Gabriella Montez and Troy Bolton reunite to finish their callback audition.
“It means the world to me, particularly because Taylor is such a dynamic character and the smartest person at school and all of that at a time where, often, Black girl characters tended to be the ones who had an attitude or to be sassy,” Coleman told USA Today. “I appreciated that that wasn’t why people loved Taylor. They loved her because she was smart and supportive. And it definitely means a lot to me for people to see her. There was Taylor before the Obamas were a thing. So we didn’t have people to look up to.”
4. She's faced road bumps, too.
“Disney really broke my heart because when I got to the third movie… In so many ways, I really championed the film. I really, you know, always spoke so positively, and I was a Black girl playing the smartest girl in school, which was a very big deal at that time. And when it came to promoting the third movie, I wasn’t invited on the tour,” Coleman explained during Christy Carlson Romano’s podcast Vulnerable.
She continued: “That heartbreak really hit me very deeply and did cause a bit of a depression because it helped me to recognize that I was overly identifying with what I was doing and not who I was. And that was what led me to take that step and say, ‘Maybe this is my five minutes of fame, maybe this is it in some way. And if that is the case, then what am I going to do with it?'”
@christycarlsonromano @Monique Coleman is one of the strongest women I know. ❤️ @Vulnerable Podcast #hsm #hsmtmts #disneychannel #podcast #moniquecoleman ♬ original sound – ChristyCarlsonRomano
5. She seems to be a woman without limits.
Coleman channeled that moment of uncertainty to open her mind to new possibilities. She started nurturing other passions, such as dance, and starred in the Lifetime holiday movie “A Christmas Dance Reunion,” alongside Corbin Bleu. Plus, she was also in “Greed: A Seven Deadly Sins Story” shortly after, among other roles.
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6. There's still a special place in her heart for "High School Musical."
No matter where our journey takes us, we never forget where it started. With that said, Coleman is making a return to “High School Musical” and will appear in the “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”
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