"I'm really short and because regular pants don’t fit me right I always get to
wear my own clothes on my shows like Undeclared and Dawson’s Creek.” Monica
5' 1" tall rising actress Monica Keena first caught attention while playing the
recurring role of the nasty Abby Morgan (1998-1999) on The WB’s teen series
“Dawson's Creek.” She then arrived on the big screen and played major roles in
such films as Ripe (1996), All I Wanna Do (1998), Crime and Punishment in
Suburbia (2000), and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). The petite actress who played
freshman Rachel Lindquist on the short-lived TV show “Undeclared” (2001-2002)
recently starred in 2005 films A Fate Totally Worse Than Death (a.k.a. Bad Girls
From Valley High), Man of the House (opposite Tommy Lee Jones) and Long
Distance. She will soon appear in the upcoming films Left in Darkness and Fifty
Childhood and Family:
"My grandmother and my mother raised me, and we always shopped at the Salvation
Army. We'd find things that were really cheap, so it's hard for me to justify
spending a lot of money on material things." Monica Keena.
The second daughter of parents Bill (financial sales manager) and Mary Keena
(real estate), Monica C. Keena was born on May 25, 1979 in New Jersey. Along
with older sister Samantha (college student), Monica grew up in Brooklyn, New
York and still lives in the city. Monica, nicknamed Monikers, studied Dramatic
Arts at LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. After graduation, she enrolled
in New York University, where she took English.
Since a young child Monica has been roller-skating and skateboarding. While not
filming, she enjoys her hobbies: drawing, painting, singing, dancing, acting and
writing. She also loves spending time with family, friends and her boyfriend.
“I love acting but it can be hard. People have the tendency to want to make you
into a cliche, to dress a certain way, be a certain weight, look a certain way.
If you don't fit into those categories, it's almost like you're secondary.”
While taking acting lessons at LaGuardia, Monica Keena went to play the
character Bertha in a stage reading of August Strinburg's "The Father," along
with Al Pacino and Julianne Moore and followed it up with a role in a short film
entitled Burning Love. In 1994, Monica portrayed Olympic figure skater Oksana
Baiul on CBS biographical movie A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story. She was
also spotted as a guest in a February 1995 episode of "Law & Order."
Jon Turteltaub's romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping (1995, starring Sandra
Bullock and Bill Pullman) was Monica's feature film debut, in which she appeared
as Mary Callaghan. Two following year, Monica snagged her first leading role as
Violet, a 14-year-old girl who crawls with her twin sister (played by Daisy
Eagan) from the ruins of the car accident that killed their parents and hide out
in a nearby Army base, in writer-director Mo Ogrodnik's highly controversial
Ripe (1996). Michael Cohn then cast her to portray Lilliana Hoffman, the title
heroine Snow White figure, in his adaptation of Grimm Brothers' fairy tale Snow
White: A Tale of Terror (1997, originally made for theatrical release, film
aired on Showtime), opposite Sigourney Weaver who played her evil stepmother.
She also played a small part in Taylor Hackford's thriller inspired by Andrew
Neiderman's novel, The Devil's Advocate (starring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino).
Meanwhile, Monica appeared as a guest on the TV series "Feds" and "Homicide:
Life on the Street."
Monica was originally recruited as a guest performer on the first season of The
WB’s series "Dawson's Creek," but she was invited back as a regular. From 1998
to 1999 “Dawson’s Creek” fans watched Monica playing the recurring role of the
bitchy, trouble-making Abbie Morgan on the teen drama series starred by James
Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes. During her stint in the series, Monica acted in
writer-director Sarah Kernochan period comedy Strike! (1998, a.k.a. The Hairy
Bird, All I Wanna Do). In the film about a closely-knit group of friends at a
traditional New England all-girls boarding school in 1963, Monica played Tinka
Parker, the beautiful aspiring performer with slightly loose morals, along with
actresses Kirsten Dunst, Gaby Hoffmann, Lynn Redgrave and Rachael Leigh Cook.
Monica also played the title role in Armand Mastroianni-directed TV movie First
Daughter (1999), alongside Mariel Hemingway, Doug Savant and Gregory Harrison.
In the new century, after appearing in Linda Yellen's drama comedy The Simian
Line (with Lynn Redgrave, Harry Connick Jr. and Cindy Crawford), Monica starred
as the most popular girl in school, outwardly perfect and popular teen Roseanne
Sklonick, in Rob Schmidt's contemporary fable loosely based on Fyodor
Dostoyevsky's classic novel, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia. In the film
premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Monica shared the screen with Ellen
Barkin, Michael Ironside, Vincent Kartheiser and James Debello. Afterward,
Monica won the regular role of chirpy, experimental college freshman Rachel
Lindquist in writer-producer Judd Apatow's brief-lived co-ed sitcom "Undeclared"
(2001-2002, starring Jay Baruchel). Filmmaker Jake Kasdan gave her a role in his
teen comedy Orange County (2002, starring Colin Hanks and Jack Black) and
director Ronny Yu later handed her the supporting role of survivor Lori Campbell
in the teen horror film Freddy Vs. Jason (2003, starring Robert Englund and Ken
Kirzinger), based on the characters from the films "Nightmare on Elm Street" and
"Friday the 13th."
"I've only seen two horror movies in my life, and one of them was Nightmare on
Elm Street, when I was about eight years old. And it scared me so much that I
couldn't sleep for two or three months. So I always swore I would never do a
horror movie. It was very cathartic to be working with Freddy and to realize
he's not a real person. Robert Englund is a really sweet guy under all the
make-up." Monica Keena (on working on Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)).
Monica played the recurring role of Kristen on the HBO comedy "Entourage"
(starring Adrian Grenier) since 2004 and guest starred as Beatrice Onorato
Mailer in March 2005 episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." On the silver
screen, Monica teamed with Julie Benz and Nicole Bilderback, playing three
snobbish high school girls, in John T. Kretchmer's feature filmmaking debut
based on the acclaimed young adult novel by Paul Fleischman, A Fate Totally
Worse Than Death (2005, a.k.a. Bad Girls From Valley High). She also starred
opposite Tommy Lee Jones in Stephen Herek's lackluster comedy Man of the House,
playing the highly-strung, panic attack-prone cheerleader Evie.
"Tommy Lee's talent is amazing. In playing our father figure, our protector, he
got to play these sweet emotional scenes that made me want to cry. Whenever I
was in scenes with him, he made me miss my own dad." Monica Keena (on working
with Tommy Lee Jones in Man of the House (2005)).
In Marcus Stern's 2005 thriller Long Distance, Monica played the female lead
role of Nicole Freeman, a young, lonely woman misdials a phone number by one
digit and became involved telephonically in a string of murders, alongside
costars Ivan Martin, Kevin Chapman and Tamala Jones. Monica is currently on set
and will soon complete her upcoming films, Steven R. Monroe's horror Left in
Darkness (along with David Anders) and Theo Avgerinos's college comedy Fifty
Pills (starring Lou Taylor Pucci and Kristen Bell).
"If I won an Oscar I'd first thank my mother. She's always been the most
supportive of me. She's been there for me my whole life." Monica Keena.