High School Musical's Monique Coleman Reveals the Real Reason Her Character Wore Headbands

During a recent interview, High School Musical's Monique Coleman explained she came up with the headband idea after the crew styled her hair "very poorly."

By Elyse Dupre Jan 27, 2021 3:51 PMTags

Monique Coleman is sharing the story behind her High School Musical character's signature accessory.

During a recent interview with Insider, the 40-year-old star—who portrayed Taylor McKessie in the Disney films—said she came up with the idea to wear a headband after seeing the crew didn't know how to style the hair of a Black actress. 

"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 told the outlet. "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 suggested they "incorporate headbands into her character" and "just make that a part of who she is."

"I was very lucky," she said, "because the wardrobe department was very open to our feedback."

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Coleman continued to wear the piece in the second and third movies. Looking back at her time in the Disney franchise, Coleman spoke about what it meant to her to play Taylor.  

"I'm really grateful to have been someone who was able to bring representation at a time where there wasn't very much," she said, "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 also said it meant "the world" to her that Taylor was a "dynamic character and the smartest person at school," especially "at a time where, often, Black girl characters tended to be the ones who had an attitude or to be sassy."

"And I appreciated that that wasn't why people loved Taylor," she continued. "They loved her because she was smart and supportive. And it definitely means a lot to me for people to see her. There was Taylor before the Obamas were a thing. So we didn't have people to look up to. So knowing that this generation got to look up to her really is special for me."

E! News is reaching out to Disney for comment.