Checking in with Kelen Coleman
by Jay Bobbin
Kelen Coleman isn't worried about being politically correct. Her new character -- brassy daughter Jackie on CBS' Thursday sitcom "The McCarthys" -- leans on her often bawdy relatives, who live under the same Boston roof, as she deals with her formerly secret pregnancy by a just-deceased family friend. It's a far cry from the roles Coleman has had on such shows as HBO's "The Newsroom" and (earlier this season) ABC's "Scandal," but she welcomes the change ... and the work. "I've wanted to do this since I was born," Coleman says. "My dad (bluegrass-playing Grammy winner T. Michael Coleman) is a musician, and my mom was an actress when she was little, in summer stock and things like that. I grew up singing, dancing and acting, so I want to keep going and do this forever."
Though she's also appeared on series including Fox's "The Mindy Project" and TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles" in recent years, Coleman recalls, "When I first got out here (California), one of the first things my agent said was, ‘Be patient. Go have a life. Do things that will go into your acting.' That was really important, because with every audition, you hope you're the best and you want to get every part. And you just can't." Coleman learned that early, and forcibly, as her college days in North Carolina were ending: "I had come back from studying in England and was getting in shape, I already had a manager, I was walking across the street on graduation weekend ... and I was hit by a car and broke my spine in two places."
The accident didn't keep Coleman down for long. "The first thing where someone would come up and go, ‘Aren't you ... ?,' was ‘The Office.' I'd be serving at the bar where I worked and people would say, ‘Aren't you Dwight's girlfriend?' And I'd go, ‘Y-y-yes, I am. Would you like another Mojito?' "
Birth date: April 19, 1984
Birthplace: Nashville, Tenn.
Current residence: Los Angeles
Marital status: single
Other Television Credits Include: Other television credits include: "The Newsroom," "Californication," "Men at Work," "Super Fun Night," "Rizzoli & Isles," "Hart of Dixie," "The Mindy Project," "The Office," "CSI: NY"
Movie Credits Include: "The Night Is Young" (forthcoming), "Flock of Dudes" (forthcoming), "Stereotypically You" (forthcoming), "The Polterguys," "Cassadaga," "Dorfman in Love," "Children of the Corn: Genesis," "The Marc Pease Experience," "Fired Up!"