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Another Turn as Tessie

Monique Coleman returns in High School Musical 2

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Monique Coleman at the premiere of <i>High School Musical 2</i> at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. (Photo: ©Ciao Hollywood/Splash News/NewsCom)<br />
Monique Coleman at the premiere of High School Musical 2 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. (Photo: ©Ciao Hollywood/Splash News/NewsCom)

Monique Coleman is back for more dancing and decathlon as Taylor McKessie in High School Musical 2. Monique recently talked with Scholastic News Online about how dance helped her become a performer, the cast of HSM, and more.

Q: Was dancing something you always wanted to do?
Monique: It was something that I was interested in and passionate about. At a young age, I knew that I really wanted to be a performer, but I didn’t know in what venue. I felt acting encompassed everything, including music and dancing. Being on this show is really a dream come true because I’m allowed to make that childhood dream happen and it’s awesome.

Q: Earlier this year you did Dancing With the Stars—was it hard?
Monique: I think it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, especially in a career sense. I literally went from High School Musical, which was already such a big deal with more exposure and more publicity than I’ve ever done in my whole life—to a show that gets 20 million viewers every night, where I’m always having to learn something new and it’s live television. It was a whirlwind, but it’s awesome.

Q: What was the coolest thing about High School Musical?
Monique: Getting to know the cast. We never realized how much time we would end up spending together. But being a part of a team where there is no weak link and there aren’t people who don’t get along is a very rare thing and that was the best part of it.

Q: Was there any one thing that you learned that you didn’t know before?
Monique: On a professional level, I didn’t know that I was allowed to have input. Working for the Disney Channel is great because everything’s very collaborative. They’re very conscious of including you in decisions like costumes and what your character would sing or use as props. Having that kind of input made me feel so comfortable.

Q: Did you go to regular school?
Monique: I had the most normal school experience. I went to a public school and a private high school. Then I went to college for a B.A. in acting from DePaul University.

Q: When you were in school, were you in any sort of specific group?
Monique: I was a floater. I was most connected to the theater group, for sure. I did all the school plays and the choir and all that. But I was also a cheerleader, ran track, and participated in speech and debate. I saw high school as a chance to find out what I wanted to do.

Q: What was your best subject?
Monique: English. I loved it because it’s the way you express yourself. I love language. I love grammar. How I communicate is something that has always been very important to me.

Q: Was there any question about your going to college?
Monique: There was no question about going to college. Education has always been very important to me. My mother strongly encouraged it, but she didn’t have to. In my sophomore year of high school, I was already getting books about colleges that I could go to.

--Interview by Marie Morreale

High School Musical is Back!

Troy, Gabrielle, and the gang are back for High School Musical 2. Check out our special report to read more interviews with the cast!

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