High School Musical
African American actress Monique Coleman is probably best known for her portrayal of Taylor McKessie in the phenomenally successful “High School Musical” films. “’High School Musical’ is definitely the best thing that's happened to my career and I walked away with great friends from it,” she revealed.
Coleman also had a recurring role on Disney's “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” (2005-2006) and guest starred in many TV series, including “Boston Public,” “Strong Medicine,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Bones.” She received a Camie Award for “The Reading Room” (2005) and a Young Artist nomination for “The Ditchdigger's Daughters” (1997). Staring out in commercials, Coleman also competed in the third season of ABC's hit “Dancing with the Stars.”
Currently, Coleman lives in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys dancing, singing and acting.
Childhood and Family:
The daughter of Roz Coleman, Adrienne Monique Coleman was born on November 13, 1980, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She was educated at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School where she was involved in various activities, including performing in school plays, cheerleading and competing in forensic tournaments. In 2002, she graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, with a BFA in acting. As a child, Monique, known by family and close friends by the nickname Momo, began her training at the Workshop Theatre School of Dramatic Arts.
Momo is good friends with her “High School Musical” costars Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, and Corbin Bleu.
The Reading Room
First training as an actress at the Workshop Theater School of Dramatic Arts, young Monique Coleman won her first commercial role in an audition that she did not even realize she was participating in. She was hired to appear in TV ads after impressing a talent scout who pretended to be a guest teacher. After the success, the ambitious girl started auditioning for every role she could find in the southeast region, which led to appearances in a number of local and regional commercials. Eventually, the then 15-year-old Coleman made her feature acting debut by playing Dofimae in the independent 28-minute film “Mother of the River,” opposite Wayne Caparas as Demetrius. She got her first true notice by playing young Donna in the Family Channel television movie “The Ditchdigger's Daughters” (1997), which was based on Yvonne S. Thornton M.D. and Jo Coudert's book of the same name. The role brought Coleman a 1998 Young Artist nomination in the category of Best Performance in a TV Movie or Feature Film - Young Ensemble.
A very active participant at school and in her community, Coleman withdrew from public eye for several years to focus on her private and social life and did not make a comeback until after she completed her education in 2002. She began with a guest spot in the Lifetime popular medical series “Strong Medicine” in 2003, and followed it up with a three-episode arc in the David E. Kelly show “Boston Public” (2003-2004), playing Molly. More guest roles followed in 2004 and she was seen in episodes of “Gilmore Girls,” “10-8: Officers on Duty,” “Married to the Kellys” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”
After playing Gabrielle Pollard in a 2005 episode of “Veronica Mars” called “Lord of the Bling,” Coleman received a career boost when she landed the significant recurring role of Mary Margaret on six episodes of Disney's Emmy nominated series “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” a role she played from 2005 to 2006. However, it was her portrayal of Leesha in the Hallmark Channel production of “The Reading Room” (2005) that won the actress a Camie at the 2006 Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards. She shared the honors with costars such as James Earl Jones, Gabby Soleil and Austin Marques, among others, as well as director/actor Georg Stanford Brown, screenwriter Randy Feldman and producers Jeff Kloss and Albert T. Dickerson III.
Coleman enjoyed even bigger prominence when she won the important role of Taylor McKessie on the successful Disney Channel Original Movie “High School Musical” (2006), which was directed by Kenny Ortega. In the movie, she played the best friend of beautiful and brainy transfer student Gabriella Montez (played by Vanessa Hudgens). The film was seen by over 225 million viewers worldwide and collected several awards and nominations, including Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children's Program and Outstanding Choreography, the Humanitas Prize nomination for Children's Live-Action Category, a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming, and a TV Choice award for Best Comedy/Musical Show.
Also in 2006, Coleman appeared in the short film “Online.” However, it was her participation in the ABC popular show “Dancing with the Stars” that brought the actress further popularity. Partnered with Louis Van Amstel, she finished in forth place. She stated, “Dancing on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ really broadened my fan base. I jumped off the stage backwards one week and so many women come up to me now and say, 'You're so brave. I can't believe you put yourself out there like that.’ If that inspires some girl out there, then great, because boys aren't the only ones who get to have fun. We get to have fun too.”
Coleman reprised her role of Taylor McKessie on the television sequel “High School Musical 2” in 2007 and in the feature film “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” in 2008. With an original budget of $11 million, “High School Musical 3” was considered a massive box office success.
Recently, Coleman played Becca Hedgepeth in a 2009 episode of the crime series “Bones” called “The Salt in the Wounds.”
Character and Morality in Entertainment: Camie, “The Reading Room,” 2005