‘High School Musical’ Star Opens Up About Depression After Being Excluded From Film Promo

in Disney, Movies

Taylor smirks in a green shirt in a screenshot from 'High School Musical.'

Credit: Disney

High School Musical (2006) star spoke out this week about her experience working on the film series and the barriers she faced as a young Black woman working at The Walt Disney Company.

In an interview with Christy Carlson Romano, Monique Coleman, who played the bright and ambitious Taylor McKessie, revealed that she was purposefully excluded from the High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) press tour.

chad and taylor high school musical
Credit: Disney

“Disney really broke my heart because when I got to the third movie, in so many ways, I 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,” Coleman recalled.

“And when it came to promoting the third movie, I wasn’t invited on the tour,” Coleman continued. “They said something about there not being enough room on the plane.”

chad and taylor high school musical
Credit: Disney

Coleman’s costars Zac Efron (Troy Bolton), Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella Montez), Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay Evans), and Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth) were taken on the press tour. Notably, Bleu played Coleman’s on-screen boyfriend.

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Also excluded from the tour was Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), known for playing an East High School student that many fans and even director Kenny Ortega see as gay.

Disney channel stars
Credit: Disney

“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,” Coleman said. “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. If that is the case, what am I going to do with it?’”

You can watch Coleman’s full interview on Romano’s podcast here:

More on High School Musical (2006)

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Credit: Disney

2000s Disney Channel kids will definitely remember this classic musical film that went on to inspire two sequels and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney Plus. From Disney:

Troy and Gabriella meet unexpectedly during their winter vacation without knowing that Gabriella is transferring to East High — Troy’s school. There, Gabriella and Troy are encouraged to audition for the new school musical, rivaling the talented siblings Sharpay and Ryan. As they overcome their fear of trying out for the play, they have the whole school challenge the status quo.

Do you remember watching the High School Musical series? 

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