“Always be ready for your dreams because you may not see them right away, but when they show up, you definitely want to be able to step in to whatever role it’ll be.” -Monique Coleman
Former Disney star Monique Coleman is an actress, philanthropist, dancer and now a badass-supernatural heroin.
When she’s not battling for a better world as an activist, you can find her kicking some major scifi-butts in New Form Digital’s web series The Fourth Door. This new interactive show narrates the amazing journey of Lain (Monique Coleman) who must rescue her boyfriend Colin from another dimension, all while fighting off evil entities that once haunted him (no biggie). We recently caught up with Monique to talk about life after High School Musical and her heroic battles, both on and off-screen!
CS4U: You’re constantly fighting for a better world, both on and off-screen! How important is it for people to show their support for their community as well as other places around the world such as Paris and Japan?
Monique: “I think it’s an incredible opportunity! Especially for someone who’s in a career that’s in the spotlight. It’s an opportunity to lend your voice to causes and things that matter to you. It’s also very important that you do show solidarity. Like Paris for example, everyone can use this opportunity to express their deepest empathy for everything that’s happened and work hard to promote peace. But one of the pitfalls of social media is that people sometimes share things without necessarily know what they’re standing behind. There are instances where I find people are just following trends and not really formulating their own opinion. It’s important to speak up about things that are important to you, but it’s equally important to be informed and sincere about what you do.”
CS4U: I completely agree! Do you have any tips for our readers who want to help make a difference, but don’t know where to start?
Monique: “I think the first thing is to start with what you’re passionate about or what makes you mad. A lot of the times we’re looking for someone else to solve the things that upset us. If you’re the one who’s bothered by it, you’re a great place to start in order to help fix it. There are so many things where we can apply our passion. Like if you’re passionate for makeup, there’s an organization called GlamourGals that are doing makeovers in convalescent homes to help give them the opportunity to get visitors and help raise their self-esteem. Sometimes young people can think that what they’re interested in doesn’t fit into a cause or it isn’t important enough, but I would take everything that matters to you and use it for good somehow. Simply being your best self is inspiring to other people as well. Sometimes you just have to start with being the best you.”
CS4U: In addition to your work as an activist,, You’re also starring in a new supernatural web series called The Fourth Door. Can you tell us more about that?
Monique: “The Fourth Door feels like a dream come-true to me on so many levels! As you mentioned, I’m into social activism and philanthropic work, but I started out as an actress and it’s what has really opened so many doors for me and it’s given me a platform to talk about the things I care about. It’s exciting and fun to be doing a project that I believe in and to be a strong female lead in a show that’s essentially a hero’s journey. It’s a story of a girl who is facing all of these crazy obstacles in limbo, which is the space between life, death and whatever happens to us next. This show really touches on many things like relationships, your fears, overcoming those things and what happens to you after you die. For me, it’s been the most wonderful experience to go from the auditions to watching it now and even discovering it with the audience!”
CS4U: You play this badass heroin name Lain whose trying to protect the 13-year-old version of her boyfriend from his fears. Do you have any fears of your own that you’ve overcame?
Monique: “So many! My biggest fear which might sound strange, is that I’m scared to be too much. One of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson is, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”, and I believe that very much. I’ve been afraid to take up too much space and to shine too brightly that it somehow diminishes someone else’s light. I don’t want to be perceived as being arrogant or overly confident, but like Demi Lovato’s song Confident, I do think it’s good to love ourselves. I think that we’ve gone completely in the other direction. We are spending so much time not liking ourselves and it’s not good. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve overcome and now, I’m embracing wherever my life takes me and enjoying it no matter what.”
CS4U: In the show you’re doing your own stunts for the first time ever! What was your favorite stunt or fight scene you’ve done so far?
Monique: “In the first episode there’s a scene that I get to fight three Rippers from a film that really scared Collin as a kid and I just got to totally kick their butts. It’s awesome! I also love that weapons are not a big part of this film, it’s a lot of hand to hand fighting. But there are some moments when there’s an obstacle that’s too big and Lain can believe that a sword will be there and it suddenly appears! Its really fun!”
CS4U: Sounds like a lot of fun! So what can your fans expect from the upcoming episodes?
Monique: “In the beginning, the show seems very fantasy driven. It’s so big and beautiful, bigger than life really! But as the series progresses, you really get to know more about Lain and Collin’s relationships as adults. In the beginning, you identify more with Lain and the alter-ego she plays. But as it moves on, you get a lot more of her back story and you get to see what makes her human. You’ll really want to stick with it until the end because there’s a big evolution that she goes through which I think is really neat and hopefully, there will be many more seasons to come!”
CS4U: It was your birthday recently, Happy Belated Birthday! how did you celebrate?
Monique: “Thank you! The launch party for The Fourth Door just happened to fall on my birthday so that was awesome! There was a screening at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood which is a pretty iconic place. Then we had a cocktail party at this place called Teddy’s which was so much fun. Although it was always on the schedule, I just pretended that it was all for me! I was surrounded by a lot of friends and honestly, it was the best way to celebrate! I’m so proud of this project and grateful for where I am in life. It was just a really nice time! And some of my friends from High School Musical got to come and support me which is really cool!”
CS4U: That’s great! Was it like a High School Musical reunion of some sorts?
Monique: “Kind of! I mean people have been saying that, but the reality is that we actually are friends. So when we post a picture, it’s like when we post pictures with anyone else.”
CS4U: That’s great! So as everyone knows, you grew up as a Disney kid. Do you like what the channel has become or do you think they should they bring back the old Disney?
Monique: “Too be honest, I haven’t really kept up with the new shows as much so I’m not really aware of what’s on Disney Channel. I do see that floating around on social media and I think as we grow up, we long for the things of our past so it’s a very natural thing for people to be nostalgic about the past. But I’m not really aware of what is on the channel to personally say whether I like it or not. But I love Disney! I call Disney my Alma Modern, it’s like I graduated, but not saying that I wouldn’t go back.”
CS4U: So if you had the chance to go back on Disney, do like a movie or show, would you?
Monique: “There’s a lot that goes into that, but I would definitely consider it!”
CS4U: In High School Musical, Dancing With The Stars, and your current show, you’re active and constantly moving. How do you stay in such great shape?
Monique: “Oh, thank you! I try to incorporate a heathy diet and exercise into my lifestyle. I just really enjoy being physical and I find that for me, it’s less about keeping my body in shape, as much as it is about my mental health. I think one of the greatest things we can do for ourselves and our mental health is to exercise. That’s not a replacement for real treatment if you have a real issue of course. But for myself, whenever I’m feeling bad or uncomfortable, I find that if I just run or do anything that I love, I feel better instantly.”
CS4U: I’m really happy to hear that! So for my last question, the girls and I at CelebSecrets4U are really big fans of High School Musical! Do you have any behind-the-scenes secrets that your fans don’t know about?
Monique: “That’s so hard! I do have one and it’s not juicy, but it’s one that always makes me laugh. For the prom scene, there were two copies of my prom dress that were made specifically because I sweat so profusely. So in between takes, they had to change me out of one costume and into the other. I would pour swear during the number so they would take my dress and blow dry it while I’m putting on the other one. I would always ask myself, “How are people so perfect?”, well they’re not.”