You know you’re getting old when you realise High School Musical came out almost 16 years ago. What a time that was, at least for the fans, considering how the musical/comedy was a major part of their teenage years. But it looks like certain actors might not have had such a gala time as the audience did.
Monique Coleman, the actress who played the iconic character of Taylor McKessie in the famous film series, recently opened up about what it was actually like behind the scenes of the classic movie, and it’s not the most picture-perfect scenario because during High School Musical 3, Disney might have played a part in triggering the actress’ depression by ostracising her completely.
Disney Didn’t Invite Monique Coleman for the High School Musical 3 Promo Tour
Monique Coleman might have risen to stardom in her career, in part, due to her role in High School Musical, but while Disney garnered her a substantial amount of fame and recognition, it also ended up being the very reason she suffered from a depressive episode.
On the podcast Vulnerable with Christy Carlson Romano, Coleman revealed the stark reality behind playing a teenage character at the age of 24 alongside co-stars who were almost half her age.
“I was 4-5 years older than my next co-star and I was 9 years older than my counterparts. So, Corbin and I are 9 years apart, Vanessa and I are 8 years apart. So, I was 24 years old, working with 16-year olds, 15 and 16-year olds, having an entirely different perspective.”
“I feel safe to say this, 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 vert big deal at that time. And when it came to promoting the third movie, I wasn’t invited on the tour. And they said something about there not being enough room on the plane, and they only invited Zac, Vanessa, Ashley, and Corbin, and Lucas and I weren’t included.”
Monique Coleman Was Depressed After Disney Excluded Her
Coleman, 42, admitted that not being a part of High School Musical 3‘s promo tour after giving her utter best in the film felt no short of a “heartbreak.” In fact, the We Are Family star even experienced a depressive episode during that time.
“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.'”
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But the Graceland star soon realized that she was more than just a character she portrayed in a film. Coleman remarked that being a “big sister” figure to all the younger co-stars she worked with at the time, all she did was what she “would have wanted” someone else to do for her during such times of hardships.
“I was their big sister, and then to take that out into the world, and say ‘You know what, I’m not going to feel reduced to Taylor McKessie. I’m gonna rise up and actually walk in the door and let people see me and connect this character that was their childhood with who Monique Coleman is and I’m gonna leave a message that lets you know that your dreams are also possible.”
Wiser words have never been spoken. We stan a self-aware queen.
The High School Musical film series can be streamed on Disney+.