"I'm really short and because regular pants don’t fit me right I always get to wear my own clothes on my shows like Undeclared and Dawson’s Creek.” Monica Keena.
5' 1" tall rising actress Monica Keena first caught attention while playing the recurring role of the nasty Abby Morgan (1998-1999) on The WB’s teen series “Dawson's Creek.” She then arrived on the big screen and played major roles in such films as Ripe (1996), All I Wanna Do (1998), Crime and Punishment in Suburbia (2000), and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). The petite actress who played freshman Rachel Lindquist on the short-lived TV show “Undeclared” (2001-2002) recently starred in 2005 films A Fate Totally Worse Than Death (a.k.a. Bad Girls From Valley High), Man of the House (opposite Tommy Lee Jones) and Long Distance. She will soon appear in the upcoming films Left in Darkness and Fifty Pills.
Childhood and Family:
"My grandmother and my mother raised me, and we always shopped at the Salvation Army. We'd find things that were really cheap, so it's hard for me to justify spending a lot of money on material things." Monica Keena.
The second daughter of parents Bill (financial sales manager) and Mary Keena (real estate), Monica C. Keena was born on May 25, 1979 in New Jersey. Along with older sister Samantha (college student), Monica grew up in Brooklyn, New York and still lives in the city. Monica, nicknamed Monikers, studied Dramatic Arts at LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. After graduation, she enrolled in New York University, where she took English.
Since a young child Monica has been roller-skating and skateboarding. While not filming, she enjoys her hobbies: drawing, painting, singing, dancing, acting and writing. She also loves spending time with family, friends and her boyfriend.
“I love acting but it can be hard. People have the tendency to want to make you into a cliche, to dress a certain way, be a certain weight, look a certain way. If you don't fit into those categories, it's almost like you're secondary.” Monica Keena.
While taking acting lessons at LaGuardia, Monica Keena went to play the character Bertha in a stage reading of August Strinburg's "The Father," along with Al Pacino and Julianne Moore and followed it up with a role in a short film entitled Burning Love. In 1994, Monica portrayed Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul on CBS biographical movie A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story. She was also spotted as a guest in a February 1995 episode of "Law & Order."
Jon Turteltaub's romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping (1995, starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman) was Monica's feature film debut, in which she appeared as Mary Callaghan. Two following year, Monica snagged her first leading role as Violet, a 14-year-old girl who crawls with her twin sister (played by Daisy Eagan) from the ruins of the car accident that killed their parents and hide out in a nearby Army base, in writer-director Mo Ogrodnik's highly controversial Ripe (1996). Michael Cohn then cast her to portray Lilliana Hoffman, the title heroine Snow White figure, in his adaptation of Grimm Brothers' fairy tale Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997, originally made for theatrical release, film aired on Showtime), opposite Sigourney Weaver who played her evil stepmother. She also played a small part in Taylor Hackford's thriller inspired by Andrew Neiderman's novel, The Devil's Advocate (starring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino). Meanwhile, Monica appeared as a guest on the TV series "Feds" and "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Monica was originally recruited as a guest performer on the first season of The WB’s series "Dawson's Creek," but she was invited back as a regular. From 1998 to 1999 “Dawson’s Creek” fans watched Monica playing the recurring role of the bitchy, trouble-making Abbie Morgan on the teen drama series starred by James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes. During her stint in the series, Monica acted in writer-director Sarah Kernochan period comedy Strike! (1998, a.k.a. The Hairy Bird, All I Wanna Do). In the film about a closely-knit group of friends at a traditional New England all-girls boarding school in 1963, Monica played Tinka Parker, the beautiful aspiring performer with slightly loose morals, along with actresses Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffmann, Lynn Redgrave and Rachael Leigh Cook. Monica also played the title role in Armand Mastroianni-directed TV movie First Daughter (1999), alongside Mariel Hemingway, Doug Savant and Gregory Harrison.
In the new century, after appearing in Linda Yellen's drama comedy The Simian Line (with Lynn Redgrave, Harry Connick Jr. and Cindy Crawford), Monica starred as the most popular girl in school, outwardly perfect and popular teen Roseanne Sklonick, in Rob Schmidt's contemporary fable loosely based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic novel, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia. In the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Monica shared the screen with Ellen Barkin, Michael Ironside, Vincent Kartheiser and James Debello. Afterward, Monica won the regular role of chirpy, experimental college freshman Rachel Lindquist in writer-producer Judd Apatow's brief-lived co-ed sitcom "Undeclared" (2001-2002, starring Jay Baruchel). Filmmaker Jake Kasdan gave her a role in his teen comedy Orange County (2002, starring Colin Hanks and Jack Black) and director Ronny Yu later handed her the supporting role of survivor Lori Campbell in the teen horror film Freddy Vs. Jason (2003, starring Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger), based on the characters from the films "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th."
"I've only seen two horror movies in my life, and one of them was Nightmare on Elm Street, when I was about eight years old. And it scared me so much that I couldn't sleep for two or three months. So I always swore I would never do a horror movie. It was very cathartic to be working with Freddy and to realize he's not a real person. Robert Englund is a really sweet guy under all the make-up." Monica Keena (on working on Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)).
Monica played the recurring role of Kristen on the HBO comedy "Entourage" (starring Adrian Grenier) since 2004 and guest starred as Beatrice Onorato Mailer in March 2005 episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." On the silver screen, Monica teamed with Julie Benz and Nicole Bilderback, playing three snobbish high school girls, in John T. Kretchmer's feature filmmaking debut based on the acclaimed young adult novel by Paul Fleischman, A Fate Totally Worse Than Death (2005, a.k.a. Bad Girls From Valley High). She also starred opposite Tommy Lee Jones in Stephen Herek's lackluster comedy Man of the House, playing the highly-strung, panic attack-prone cheerleader Evie.
"Tommy Lee's talent is amazing. In playing our father figure, our protector, he got to play these sweet emotional scenes that made me want to cry. Whenever I was in scenes with him, he made me miss my own dad." Monica Keena (on working with Tommy Lee Jones in Man of the House (2005)).
In Marcus Stern's 2005 thriller Long Distance, Monica played the female lead role of Nicole Freeman, a young, lonely woman misdials a phone number by one digit and became involved telephonically in a string of murders, alongside costars Ivan Martin, Kevin Chapman and Tamala Jones. Monica is currently on set and will soon complete her upcoming films, Steven R. Monroe's horror Left in Darkness (along with David Anders) and Theo Avgerinos's college comedy Fifty Pills (starring Lou Taylor Pucci and Kristen Bell).
"If I won an Oscar I'd first thank my mother. She's always been the most supportive of me. She's been there for me my whole life." Monica Keena.