Monique Coleman Exclsuive Interview

Monique ColemanMonique Coleman drew major Hollywood attention with her role in the Disney Channel Original Movie, High School Musical. She stepped it up, literally, as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.

THE STAR SCOOP:
What has been your personal journey to becoming a celebrity thus far?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
I started at a very young age knowing that I wanted to perform, and that I really felt that acting, specifically, was something that I really could express myself in. Just anything that involved being able to spread a message. I started out, I lived in South Carolina, and I did work in the southeast region, and I got my first agent when I was a kid. It was really important for me and for my family that I maintained a really normal childhood. I went to a regular school, I did all the plays, I did community theater. From there I graduated from high school, and I went to college. I moved to California to continue. This is something that didn’t really come to me over night, it’s something that I’ve been pursuing for a very long time.

When I got to Los Angeles, I actually felt a little bit behind because I was a little bit older than some of the people that were auditioning for the same roles as I am because of how young I look. That kind of put me in a category, with people that were significantly younger, and I felt like it was sort of a disadvantage. At the same time, school and education were so important to me that I felt like, as long as I can break in eventually, then hopefully the sills that I learned in school will help me to maintain a career. That’s really how I landed here. In Los Angeles, I started with like a line, literally, I did guest staring roles. Really it’s been a step by step process for me, very gradual. Everything sort of hit the fan with High School Musical, that’s when it all came together.

THE STAR SCOOP:
You mentioned school and its importance. How can you convey this idea to kids who want a career in this business?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
The way that I’d say it, is that, it’s the difference between wanting to have a career and have a job. I believe that patience is truly something that helps you to have longevity. I do believe that college helps you develop socially as a person. It gives you a little bit of time to figure out who you are, so that when it happens, you’re better prepared for everything that comes with it, not just being an actor.

THE STAR SCOOP:
Can you tell us about your High School Musical experience?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
High School Musical
is definitely the best thing that’s happened to my career and I walked away with great friends from it. Coming into it, I think everyone was kind of skeptical, because Disney Channel puts out a lot of movies, and none of them have been as successful as High School Musical. It was a life changing experience. It was so much fun to shoot and it was difficult. Through High School Musical, I learned a lot about press, everything. It really felt like, not only a launch pad, but also a training ground as well for how to be on the business side on the industry. I was the character that really was, in some ways, the backbone of the story, in terms of revealing the peer pressure that teens go through in terms of people telling them that they should do one thing and not the other.

THE STAR SCOOP:
You’re doing Dancing With The Stars. How did that come about?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
Dancing With The Stars
approached two other cast members before me, because this movie was such a big hit, and they felt like, what a great segway to take High School Musical and incorporate that, and put someone on. Those two people had other engagements. It just kind of occurred to us that even though they didn’t think of it, because I didn’t have such a significant role in the film as a singer/dancer, I really was the one that was most passionate about that project. I was the one who was like, I would love to do that. And then I realized that High School Musical was big enough that I could approach there on it, and I did, and I fought for it. And I’m just grateful that they believed enough in me, I really do feel like they gave me a chance. They took a risk by putting me on this show, and that’s part of the reason why I go out there week after week and do my very best. I’m honored by the fact that they were willing to consider me a celebrity and put me on the show.

THE STAR SCOOP:
What’s the pressure been like?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
I think some of that comes from my experience in college. Under a lot of pressure, stress. Everything is relative. This is the same thing, on a much bigger scale. I think the way I approach it is, just do the work. For me, each dance is my last dance.

THE STAR SCOOP:
So now that we’ve talked about acting and dancing, complete this sentence. I act, I dance, but please don’t make me…

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
Please don’t make me…oh my goodness. I act, I dance, but please don’t make me be anything other than who I am.

THE STAR SCOOP:
So what’s next for you?

MONIQUE COLEMAN:
When Dancing With The Stars is over, I’m am going to get a massage (laughs). I’m probably going to spend like a week at a spa, and I’m really gonna regroup. I’m in no hurry at this point to make any drastic decisions about what’s next in my career. I’ve been so blessed to this point to have the things that have been on my resume be things that are very positive, and that I can stand behind, and I want to continue with that streak, and I think that that takes a lot of time and thought. One thing that is on the roster for sure is the sequel to High School Musical. We start filming in February, and it should be out, hopefully, by next summer.

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