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Monique Coleman  

Actress, Activist for International Youth, Women and Girls' Empowerment

Monique Coleman (born on November 13, 1980) is an American actress and singer from South Carolina. She is best known for being one of the co-stars of the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical, in which she plays Gabriella Montez's (Vanessa Hudgens) best friend Taylor McKessie. Coleman also has a recurring role on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, as London and Maddie's friend, Mary-Margaret. She also competed in the third edition of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, finishing in fourth place.

Monique Coleman was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina and started her acting career in theatre and television at a very young age in Columbia, South Carolina. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Her training began at the Workshop Theatre School of Dramatic Arts where she performed in over 15 plays. An acting class taught by a guest teacher actually turned out to be an audition, and resulted in her booking her first commercial. Then Coleman then began auditioning for anything she could in the Southeast region, landing several local and regional commercials as well as a few supporting roles in films. In addition to acting, Coleman was very involved in her community and school where she did everything from performing in plays to competing in forensic tournaments, volunteering with abused children, running track, and even cheerleading.

Coleman went to Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. Then, she attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, earning her BFA in Acting in 2002.

Monique Coleman made her first lead in the independent feature entitled Mother of the River which was shot in the historic Charleston, South Carolina. The film won numerous awards at film festivals in Chicago. Two years later, Coleman appeared as Young Donna in The Family Channel Movie The Ditchdigger's Daughters for which she was nominated for a Young Artists Award of Hollywood. During her sophomore year of high school, Coleman wrote, directed, produced, and starred in her own one-person play entitled "Voices from Within" with standing room only - audience numbering in the hundreds. On stage in Chicago, Coleman starred in productions of Noises Off, Polaroid Stories, The Real Thing and The Colored Museum.

Since the debut of Disney Channel's Original Movie High School Musical in January 2006, Coleman has traveled to Sydney, Australia and London, England for promotions as well as appearing on shows such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN Showbiz Tonight and TRL. She has been voted as one of Teen People's 25 hottest stars under 25, and has been featured in Bop, Popstar, Tigerbeat, Cosmo Girl, Word Up, Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Newsweek, and in other international publications. In July 2007, she appeared along with Rihanna on the cover of the African-American hairstyle magazine Black Hair. On April 13, 2007, Coleman finished filming the highly anticipated High School Musical 2, which was shown on Disney Channel USA in August 2007. The movie was the highest rated basic cable broadcast of all time.

During the Teen Choice Awards 2006, Coleman and the cast of High School Musical accepted the award for Choice TV Show in the category of Comedy/Musical for which Coleman thanked her fans and encouraged them to vote for her on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.

Coleman also is a former UN Youth Champion, current Champion for, CEO/Founder of and contributor for Justine magazine.

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