Monique Coleman Says 'High School Musical' Crew Couldn’t Style Black Hair

Actress Monique Coleman revealed that her character “Taylor McKessie” from Disney’s High School Musical films wore headbands to cover up the on-set crew’s “very poorly” done hair styling job. 

“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. 

“But the truth is that they had done my hair, and they had done it very poorly in the front.” 

It was Coleman who suggested to “incorporate headbands into her character” and “just make that a part of who she is,” since they didn’t have time to fix the botched hair styling before filming started. 

According to People, Coleman, 40, said despite the challenges, she was glad to be a part of the movies. 

“I’m really grateful to have been someone who was able to bring representation at a time where there wasn’t very much, and I’m so happy when I see this next generation of young artists and there just being so much more room for people of color,” she said. 

Coleman isn’t the only Black actress to go through this. 

Twitter user @ctrlgrlz posted about multiple Black actress’ struggles of having to do their hair themselves, or, like Monique, adapt a solution into their character’s signature look.

Trina McGee who played “Angela Moore” on the hit 90s sitcom Boy Meets World revealed that she didn’t even have a hairstylist on the set of the show. “All of those little micro braids you see, I stayed up all night doing them right before I went on national television for myself,” she shared in an interview with USA TODAY

The same can be said for makeup artists who can apply the proper products to the range of hues of Black women who are going to be in front of a camera. 

“We’ve all cried in our trailers,” Florida Girls actress Laci Mosley said to The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m a dark skin actress in Hollywood and like 3 union makeup artist[s] know how to do my makeup and they’re all busy as hell.” 

Acting vet Taraji P. Henson said in an interview with THR that asking for another stylist could make you look “difficult,” but revealed that her hesitancy at one photo shoot set left her with hair damage after a stylist used a root booster. 

As more Black actresses share their experiences and call on industry leaders to respond, legislation like the CROWN Act, which bans hair discrimination in the workplace, is working to ensure more Black artists don’t have the same story.

The innovation, creativity, and sacrifice of our artists, however, should not be left unnoticed or unappreciated. They've made characters come to life on screen, so we can see ourselves in spite of the obstacles they face on set.

Photos: Getty Images 

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