Minka Kelly
Minka Kelly 2012.jpg
Kelly at The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2012
Born (1980-06-24) June 24, 1980 (age 42)
  • Actress
  • model
  • philanthropist
  • memoirist
Years active2002–present
Notable work

Minka Dumonte Kelly (born June 24, 1980)[1] is an American actress, model and philanthropist. She rose to fame for her role as Lyla Garrity on the NBC drama series Friday Night Lights (2006–2009).[2] In 2011, Kelly starred in the films The Roommate and Searching for Sonny and had a recurring role as Gaby on NBC's family drama series Parenthood (2010–2011) and a main role as Eve French on the season 6 revival of ABC's action series Charlie's Angels (2011).[3] Kelly portrayed Dawn Granger / Dove on the first three seasons of the superhero series Titans (2018–2021).[2]

Kelly is also the author of her memoir Tell Me Everything: A Memoir (2023), which became a New York Times Best Seller.[4][5]

Early life

Kelly was born in Los Angeles.[6] She is the only child of former Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay and the late Maureen Dumont Kelly.[7] She has French, Irish, and Dutch-Indonesian ancestry.[8][9] She was raised by her mother, who worked various jobs, including as a stripper and bartender.[10][11] "My childhood was colorful and chaotic, unstable and inconsistent, unpredictable and hard a lot of the times. But the silver lining is that it made me a very adaptable person," Kelly said in a 2022 People interview.[12]

Kelly and her mother moved to various communities before settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico by the time Kelly was in junior high school.[13] Kelly's mother was struggling to make ends meet and at one point they lived in an old storage shed and a garage at an apartment complex after losing their apartment unit.[12] Kelly was physically abused by her mother's then-boyfriend.[14] When her mother left town for weeks and months at a time, Kelly lived with numerous different acquaintances.[15] She once lived with a family friend, who beat her and also with an emotionally abusive then-boyfriend.[14] She moved constantly and changed schools numerous times. She had an abortion at age 17.[14][11] Kelly later learned that her mother had transported drugs across the border, got caught and spent time in a jail for a short time.[14] Kelly's mother Maureen died in 2008, at age 51, from colon cancer.[16]

She attended two high schools, before graduating from Valley High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico,[17] Kelly connected with her father and returned to live in Los Angeles.[13]


2002–2005: Career beginnings

While on a test shoot for a modeling agency in Los Angeles, she was approached by a former Playboy Playmate who was interested in managing her. She helped Kelly find work as a receptionist at a surgeon's office who would provide Kelly breast augmentation in exchange for hours worked. Kelly decided against getting the surgery and was fired.[13] Her exposure to the medical field spurred her to attend school for a year studying to become a surgeon's assistant; afterwards she worked as a scrub technician. During the four years she spent in the vocation she continued auditioning for film and television roles and appeared in commercials for Old Navy and Clearasil.[13]

In 2003, Kelly made her acting debut as an extra in the short film The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious, a six-minute introduction to the action film 2 Fast 2 Furious. This was followed by a special guest appearance on Cracking Up. She has since appeared in a number of television shows such as Entourage, Drake & Josh, and American Dreams. In 2005, Kelly landed a three episode recurring role in The WB comedy series What I Like About You.

2006–2010: Breakthrough with Friday Night Lights

In April 2006, Kelly was cast as a series regular on the NBC drama series Friday Night Lights. The show was based on the high school football film of the same name; it follows a high school football team in the fictional small town of Dillon. Kelly played the role of high school student and cheerleader Lyla Garrity. In preparation for her role as a cheerleader she trained with the Pflugerville High School cheerleading squad. The series premiered on October 3, 2006, with Kelly receiving praise for her performance with The New York Times calling her performance "heartbreaking." At the end of the show's third season Kelly left the series as her character left for college.[18]

In 2006, Kelly starred in the horror slasher film The Pumpkin Karver as Tammy Boyles, and had a bit role in State's Evidence. In 2007, she reunited with Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg in the film The Kingdom in a cameo role as Ms. Ross alongside Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner.[19] In 2009, she also appeared in the final scene of the film 500 Days of Summer as Autumn, a potential new love interest to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character.

In August 2008, Kelly had been cast as the protagonist in The CW pilot series Body Politic. She played the role of Francesca "Frankie" Foster, who moves to Washington, D.C. to work for a senator and befriends a group of eager up-and-comers. Despite acclaim from critics who viewed the pilot,[20] The CW did not pick up the series. Kelly also appeared in the pilot for the short-lived CBS comedy series Mad Love playing the role of Kate, a Midwestern girl who falls in love with Henry at the top of the Empire State Building. When the series was picked up, Kelly was replaced by Sarah Chalke.[21]

Kelly in 2012.

In April 2010, Kelly appeared on the NBC drama series Parenthood.[22] She played the role of a behavioral aide to the child character Max who is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.[23] Kelly went on to appear in nine episodes of the show before making her final appearance in the episode "Taking the Leap" which aired on March 29, 2011.

2011–2020: Charlie's Angels, Titans and success with films

In December 2010, ABC announced that Kelly was cast in the planned reboot of the crime drama series Charlie's Angels. She played the role of street racer Eve French. The pilot was filmed in March 2011 and the series was picked up on May 13, 2011. Charlie's Angels premiered on September 22, 2011, to over 8.76 million viewers. The series received unanimously negative reviews from critics. Despite a planned 13 episodes, ABC cancelled the series after the premiere of the fourth episode due to low ratings.[24] The series concluded on November 10, 2011.

Kelly starred in the thriller film The Roommate (2011) as a college freshman whose roommate, portrayed by Leighton Meester, has an obsession with her that turns violent. Although released to generally negative reviews, the film went on to make over $15.6 million in its opening weekend and over $40 million worldwide. She accepted a role in the Off Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore for an April 27–May 29, 2011,[25] run with Conchata Ferrell, AnnaLynne McCord, Anne Meara, and B. Smith.[26]

Kelly wearing Oscar de la Renta on the runway during The Heart Truth Fashion Show at the Hammerstein Ballroom on February 6, 2013 in New York City.

Variety announced that Kelly was cast as the lead in the mystery comedy film Searching for Sonny (2011). The film follows two reunited friends who are suspects in a murder mystery that is similar to a play in which they appeared during high school. Production took place in May and June 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. The film won the "Best Narrative Feature" Award at the Festivus Film Festival. In February 2012, she was one of the celebrities who modeled in red dresses for The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection show, part of New York Fashion Week. She wore a Diane von Fürstenberg dress.[27] In June 2012, she appeared in the music video for "One More Night" by Maroon 5.[28] In 2013, she appeared in the film The Butler as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.[29]

In September 2017, it was announced that Kelly had been cast on the DC Universe series Titans in a recurring role as Dawn Granger / Dove.[30] The series premiered on October 12, 2018. Kelly was promoted to a series regular for the second season in September 2019. In May 2018, Kelly appeared in the video game Detroit: Become Human as North, the right-hand woman and potential love interest of protagonist Markus.[31]

2021–present: Television roles and memoir

Euphoria's show creator Sam Levinson specifically wrote the role of Samantha for Kelly, offering her the part in 2021.[32] She played Samantha, a rich young mom, in four episodes of Euphoria’s second season.[32] On October 13, 2022, Deadline announced that Kelly will co-star alongside Maggie Grace and Dermot Mulroney in the upcoming psychological thriller Blackwater Lane, an adaptation of the 2017 novel The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.[33]

Kelly's book entitled Tell Me Everything: A Memoir was released on May 2, 2023 by Henry Holt and Company.[34] Her memoir is a tribute to her mother and all working-class single mothers "who were dealt a bad hand."[34] Publishers Weekly called it an "an immensely moving story of one woman’s unconquerable spirit."[35] Kirkus Review wrote in a favorable book review: "The author is not shy about discussing difficult topics, and this candid text will appeal to Kelly’s fans and to readers seeking a courageous story of self-acceptance. A generous and humane memoir."[36] Actress Drew Barrymore called it "incredible and "powerful."[37] The book was a major best-seller, debuting at number 12 on The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list for the week ending May 21, 2023.[5]

In the media

Public image

Kelly has been included in various magazine lists of the world's most beautiful women.[13][38] She appeared on People magazine's annual list of 100 Most Beautiful People in 2008.[38] In 2011, Kelly was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" in the annual Esquire magazine feature.[13] She has been a regular on Maxim's Hot 100 list since 2007, ranking at number 42 in 2007,[39] at number 54 in 2008,[40] at number 84 in 2009[41] and at number 51 in 2011.[42] Kelly was chosen as the fittest woman at the Gold's Gym 2nd Annual Hollywood’s Hottest Bodies Awards.[43][44]

Kelly has appeared in print ads and commercials throughout her career. She has been a brand ambassador for Dove chocolate,[45] and modeled in ads for Madge Cosmetics.[46] She has appeared in commercials for Johnson & Johnson,[46] Mucinex.[47] and Bud Light's Super Bowl commercial.[48] In 2016, Kelly became a spokesperson for online real estate marketplace Trulia to launch their "Best Neighborhoods in America" tool.[49][50][51] She has graced the cover of numerous fashion and lifestyle magazines, including Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Self and Health.[52]


A brunette woman wearing a black jacket and gray scarf smiles
Kelly at a USO holiday troop visit at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in 2011

She joined an eight-day, four-country United Service Organizations tour in December 2011 with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Robert Horry, Jordin Sparks, Thomas Miles, and Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia.[53][54]

Since 2009, Kelly has worked with retailer ABLE, which is dedicated to creating sustainable jobs for vulnerable women in Africa.[55] ABLE started by employing and training women in Ethiopia who were former sex workers.[56] In 2015, Kelly teamed up with ABLE to create a pouch in honor of International Women's Day.[56] Kelly designed the clutch herself, including leather, color, stitching, size and color of the zipper.[57] "I was affected on such a deep and profound level when I heard that one woman chose to go into the sex industry because she had to pay for sister's breast cancer treatment," Kelly said in a 2015 People interview.[58] In 2019, she designed a jewelry collection "The Barbara Collection" for ABLE, which was named after one of ABLE's first jewelry designers, Barbara.[56] The collection features rings, necklaces and hoop earrings, priced between $28 and $88.[56]

List of charity products by Minka Kelly
Year Title Organization Product
2015 "Minka x FashionABLE" FashionABLE The Hibret Zippered Pouch[59][58]
2019–present "ABLE x Minka" Jewelry collection[56][60]
2023 "ABLE x Minka Kelly" The Minka Jewelry Collection 2023[61]

Personal life

She has been friends with actress Mandy Moore since 2007.[62][63] She was previously in a relationship with comedian Trevor Noah, but the two split in 2022.[64]


Kelly enjoys cooking and baking.[65] She graduated from the New School of Cooking in Culver City, California, in June 2015.[65][66] She has expressed an interest in launching a traveling cooking television show.[67] In 2016, she appeared in Food Network's cooking show Star Plates, in which celebrities work as line cooks alongside top chefs in a restaurant kitchen.[68][69][70]



Year Title Role Notes
2003 The Turbo Charged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious Girl Uncredited, short film
2005 Devil's Highway River
2006 The Pumpkin Karver Tammy Boyles
2006 State's Evidence Girl #3
2007 The Kingdom Miss Ross [citation needed]
2009 500 Days of Summer Autumn
2011 The Roommate Sara Matthews
2011 Just Go with It Joanna Damon
2011 Searching for Sonny Eden Mercer
2013 The Butler Jackie Kennedy
2015 The World Made Straight Dena
2015 Papa: Hemingway in Cuba Debbie Hunt
2017 Naked Callie Uncredited
2018 Night Hunter Angie [citation needed]
2019 Shady Friend Kara Short film
2020 She's in Portland Sarah Hill
2021 Lansky Maureen
TBA Blackwater Lane Cassandra Anderson Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Cracking Up Monica Episode: "Panic House"
2004 Drake & Josh Stacey Episode: "Movie Job"
2005 American Dreams Bonnie Episode: "Home Again"
2005 What I Like About You Ricki 3 episodes
2006–2009 Friday Night Lights Lyla Garrity Main role (seasons 1–3); guest role (season 4)
2009 Body Politic Francesca "Frankie" Foster Unaired TV pilot (The CW)
2010–2011 Parenthood Gaby Recurring role; 9 episodes
2010 Entourage Herself Episode: "Lose Yourself"
2011 Charlie's Angels Eve French Main role
2013–2014 Almost Human Valerie Stahl Main role
2015 Away & Back Jennie Newsom Television film
2015 Man Seeking Woman Whitney Episode: "Sizzurp"
2016 The Path Miranda Frank 4 episodes
2016 Star Plates Herself 2 episodes
2017 Jane the Virgin Abbey Whitman 3 episodes
2017 Bull Kara Clayton Episode: "School for Scandal"
2018 The Beach House Cara Rudland Television film
2018–2021 Titans Dawn Granger / Dove Recurring role (season 1); Main role (seasons 2–3)
2019 Drunk History Maurine Dallas Watkins /

Florence Nightingale

2 episodes
2019 Ludo à la Maison Herself Web series; Episode: "Quiche Lorraine by Chef Ludo Lefebvre and Minka Kelly"[71]
2020 Legends of Tomorrow Dawn Granger / Dove "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 5"; Archive footage from Titans
2020 Robot Chicken Arya Stark, Mascot

Judge (voice)

Episode: "Petless M in: Cars Are Couches On The Road"
2022–present Euphoria Samantha 4 episodes

Music videos

Year Title Artist(s) Ref.
2002 "She Hates Me" Puddle of Mudd
"If You C Jordan" Something Corporate [72]
2012 "One More Night" Maroon 5 [73]

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2018 Detroit: Become Human North Voice acting and motion capture


Year Title Role Theatre
2011 Love, Loss, and What I Wore[74][75] N/A Westside Theatre (April 27–May 29, 2011)

Awards and nominations

List of awards and nominations received by Minka Kelly
Year Ceremony Award Work Result
2007 Spike Guys' Choice Awards Gift from the Gods[76] Friday Night Lights Won
2007 Gold Derby Awards Ensemble of the Year (shared with cast) Friday Night Lights Nominated
2009 Won
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Drama Friday Night Lights Nominated
2011 Gold's Gym Annual Hollywood's Hottest Bodies Awards The Fittest Female[43] Won
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Drama The Roommate Nominated
2011 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Scared-As-Shit Performance Nominated
2011 Spike Guys' Choice Awards Best Girl on Girl Scene (shared with Leighton Meester) Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Female Hottie Nominated
2012 Phoenix Film Festival Best Ensemble[77] Searching for Sonny Won
2014 Acapulco Black Film Festival Best Ensemble Cast (shared with cast) The Butler Nominated
2020 Fashion Scholarship Fund Social Impact Trailblazer of the Year[78][79][80] Won



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External links