Monique Coleman revealed on Christy Carlson Romano's 'Vulnerable' podcast that she felt depressed af...

This Sad High School Musical Moment Broke Monique Coleman’s Heart

“That heartbreak really hit me very deeply and did cause a bit of a depression.”

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Turns out the cast of High School Musical wasn’t always in it together. Monique Coleman is a titan of the HSM franchise, having appeared in all three films as Taylor McKessie. Over a decade later, she recently reprised her role in the spinoff series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Though Coleman still boasts her Wildcat pride, not all her memories at East High were swell. This included one experience following the third film that “broke her heart.”

On Dec. 13, Coleman appeared on fellow Disney alum Christy Carlson Romano’s Vulnerable podcast. During their conversation, Coleman recalled experiencing depression after Disney allegedly excluded her from the High School Musical 3: Senior Year promo tour.

“Disney really broke my heart because when I got to the third movie, I — in so many ways — really championed the film. I always spoke so positively, and I was a Black girl playing the smartest girl in school, which was a very big deal at that time,” she said. “And when it came to promoting the third movie, I wasn't invited on the tour.”

Coleman alleged Disney told her there wasn’t enough room on the plane. Her co-stars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, and Corbin Bleu were brought on the promotional tour. However, Coleman said Disney excluded her and Lucas Grabeel, who was another main cast member.

“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,” she said on the podcast.

Coleman also described that heartbreaking moment as the end of her possible “five minutes of fame,” which caused her to consider how she’d use her platform. “Maybe this is it in some way. And if that is the case, then what am I going to do with it?” she said.

Speaking out about her experiences is one thing she’s routinely done. In fact, this incident isn’t the only challenge Coleman says she faced while working with Disney. In January 2021, ahead of HSM’s 15th anniversary, Coleman told Insider her character always wore her signature headbands because the film crew allegedly didn’t know how to style her hair type.

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“We’ve grown a lot in this industry and we’ve grown a lot in representation and we’ve grown a lot in terms of understanding the needs of an African American actress,” Coleman said at the time. “But the truth is, is that they had done my hair, and they had done it very poorly in the front. And we had to start filming before I had a chance to fix it."

Coleman said it was her idea to wear headbands. “I was very lucky because the wardrobe department was very open to our feedback” she told Insider.

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To hear more of Coleman and Romano’s interview, listen to the Vulnerable podcast here.

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