Minka Kelly is an American actress known for her roles in American films and TV shows. She rose to fame with her breakout role in the high school drama ‘Friday Night Lights’ where she portrayed the role of a cheerleader. Before that, she got signed on to play several small and big roles in TV series such as ‘Drake and Josh’ and ‘American Dreams’. But ‘Friday Night Lights’ took her fame to the next level and the creator of the show was so impressed with her talents that he offered her a role in his first feature film venture ‘The Kingdom’ where she starred alongside Jamie Foxx. Two years later in 2009, she appeared in another big movie titled ‘500 Days of summer’ alongside Joseph Gordon Levitt. Apart from her acting stints, she has been quite a talk of the town for her looks and has featured in several men magazines and was named ‘sexiest woman alive’ by a 2010 version of the popular Esquire Magazine. As her popularity is going only upside day-by-day, she keeps herself busy with her regular appearances in TV and big screen.
Childhood & Early Life
Minka Kelly was born on 24th June 1980 in Los Angeles, California, USA. She was born in a family associated with performing arts. Her mother, Maureen Kelly, used to be an exotic dancer, and her father, Rick Dufay, is a former guitarist of the very popular and acclaimed band ‘Aerosmith’. Her grandfather, Richard Ney, also happened to be a pretty famous actor back in his times.
After her father abandoned the family, she stayed with her mother in New Mexico, but her feelings towards her father took her to Los Angeles. She still shares a close bond with both her parents and keeps visiting her mother regularly.
Kelly grew up staying with her mother as the daughter mother duo kept hopping around places and finally settled down in Chicago. Kelly was then in junior high school and finished rest of her schooling from there. Acting was her hobby initially and she studied to become a surgical professional and moved to Los Angeles to be with her father. And then acting grew from a mere hobby to passion once she took up acting classes and a few auditions followed.
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She started auditioning in late 90s and a talent manager located her during one of her modelling test shoots, but it ended up non-pleasant and in order to make the ends meet, she worked as an assistant for a surgeon for almost a year and later worked as a scrub technician. Four years went by and she kept auditioning during all this time but to no avail. She finally began her acting career with a short film in 2003, which was the role of an extra in a six minute introduction short film to ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’.
This first stint got her a minor role in the series ‘Cracking Up’ and her mesmerizingly good looks landed her small roles in some more shows such as ‘Entourage’, ‘American Dream’ and ‘Drake and Josh’. In 2006 came the biggest role of her career that would officially establish her into the American pop culture.
She was selected to play the role of a cheerleader in NBC show ‘Friday Night Lights’ and Kelly received acclaim for her role. New York Times reviewed her performance positively and said her performance was ‘heartbreaking’. Kelly said goodbye to the series after the third season due to her character leaving for college.
The film roles started pouring in and Kelly appeared in 2006 horror film ‘The Pumpkin Karver’, ‘The Kingdom’ and ‘500 Days of Summer’. Most of these films had her appearing in guest roles but she was able to leave her mark with her scintillating on screen presence and talent.
In mid 2008, she had her first role as a protagonist in CW series ‘Body Politic’ and although the pilot received acclaim for its drama heavy content, the series wasn’t picked up by the network. Her bad luck continued with another series ‘Mad Love’, which although got picked up, but Kelly got replaced by Sarah Chalke when the show went on air.
Kelly received praise for her portrayal of behavioural aid of a mentally ill kid in NBC drama ‘Parenthood’ where she appeared for a few episodes of the show in 2010. The very next year, the Esquire magazine named her as the ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’, getting her into the league of beauties such as Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson. In the same year, she went on to do a play ‘Love, Loss and What I wore’, receiving acclaim once again.
She also featured in the reboot of the show ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and the show opened to a lot of views by the TV audiences, but the extremely poor reviews compelled the producers to take the show off air, and it was eventually cancelled after four episodes. Her next venture was a thriller film in 2011, where she got the lead role as a college freshman in ‘The Roommate’. Although the film was a moderate box office success, it was universally panned for its cheapness and unoriginality.
Another film she did titled ‘Searching for Sonny’ went on to receive accolades in film festivals and ended up winning the ‘Best Narrative Feature’ at the Festivus Film Festival. Her other stints include a few fashion shows for charity events and the New York Fashion Week. In June 2012, Kelly collaborated with Maroon 5 to appear in their music video ‘One More Night’ for their album ‘Overexposed’.
She has since appeared in films such as ‘The Butler’, ‘The World Made Straight’, ‘Away and Back’ and ‘Nomis’ and has made some brief appearances in the TV shows such as ‘Jane the Virgin’, ‘The Path’ and ‘Man Seeking Woman’.
Her dating history is quite vivid. She has dated actors such as Donald Faison, Chris Evans, John Mayer, Derek Jeter and Wilder Valderrama.
As of July 2017, Minka Kelly’s net worth is USD 3 Million.