Minka Kelly worked as a nurse before landing a role on Friday Night Lights

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Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly opened up about how she got the role of Lyla Garrity on the now cult TV show and her surprising non-acting roots. During an event thrown by house hunting website Trulia, Minka (who I’m sure was glad to not have to address any rumors about her love life), discussed how she learned about the role as well as the show’s enduring popularity.

Her initial thoughts on FNL: “It was the first pilot that I auditioned for! I was working as a nurse at the time and I remember my agent saying they had an audition for me for this Friday Night Lights, and I’d seen the movie, and I was like, ‘Why? A sports show? Based on a movie? Ugh, OK’…I had no idea I’d be so lucky. At that time in my life and my career, I would have taken anything! I would have done anything! But that happened to be it!”

An impromptu reunion with an FNL co-star: “I ran into Jesse Plemons [Landry Clarke] at the airport recently and there’s this moment of, ‘Ahh!’ and I’m just so proud of him. He’s doing so great. I love when I see any of them.”


On FNL’s increased popularity since streaming on Netflix: “We were hanging on by the skin of our teeth when we were shooting it – we barely got every season that we got because the ratings were so low. It’s like, ‘Where were you guys back then?’”

On Amy Schumer’s “flattering” FNL parody: “I’m such a huge fan of hers. It was very funny. With the big, huge wineglasses!”

On her upcoming LA relocation: “I’m moving because the house I’m in now is surrounded by trees and I don’t get a lot of natural light, and I live in a canyon so there’s no sidewalks to walk my dogs.”

[From US Magazine and New York Daily News]

In addition to her acting endeavors, Minka graduated from culinary school last year. Her Instagram feed has documented her journey, with mouthwatering photos of her souffles, fresh pastas, and delicious salads. Her dishes look perfect for entertaining. With a group of friends like Minka’s, I’m sure there are lots of opportunities for dinner parties. Minka has quite an impressive squad, including Mandy Moore, Chrissy Teigen and Kourtney Kardashian. She recently told InStyle magazine, “I’ve surrounded myself with such strong, intelligent, fiercely loving women. They inspire me every day. Love from women is like nothing else.”

I’m impressed to hear about Minka’s pre-FNL life. I’m sure her medical background helped her with her culinary knife skills. Since she’s friends with Chrissy, you know there’s probably a Minka cookbook coming soon. May I suggests “Friday Night Bites” as a title? Sorry, I know that was terrible.

💃🏼

A photo posted by Minka Kelly (@minkak) on


Minka Kelly Gets Her Workout In

Minka Kelly leaving Rise Movement gym

The Art of Elysium Presents Vivienne Westwood & Andreas Kronthaler's 2016 HEAVEN Gala

Minka Kelly out for a dog walk

Photo credit: WENN.com, Fame Flynet, Instagram/Minka Kelly

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55 Responses to “Minka Kelly worked as a nurse before landing a role on Friday Night Lights”

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  1. Kate says:

    She seems like she’d be a fun friend to have. I like that she’s multifaceted in a world where so many of her peers seems one dimensional!

    • Sasha says:

      I love the friendship between her and Mandy Moore. They seem like super tight girlfriends.

    • SOUTH says:

      Are people really offended by her saying she was nursing prior to acting? Maybe even if she wasn’t a qualified nurse, she was performing in that capacity at that time. All nursing means is to care for someone. To either nurse them back to health or to support them through their illness.

      If you’re a nursing student who doesn’t understand that, re-evaluate your life choices. It’s an honour to care for people, ANYONE can earn a degree.

      Before anyone jumps on me to attack my background is:

      Registered nurse with bachelor of science, Masters of nursing, post graduate degrees in intensive and critical care, trauma and coronary care.

      I’m currently working a double 12 hr shift and haven’t slept in 72 hours coming off of short change nights, I’m on my first break in 18 hours after surviving on stale crackers I found in the bottom of my locker. There’s also been some very questionable Easter eggs. If Minka was doing the same, but without some letters after her name, does it mean she can’t own that???

      • KHLBHL says:

        According to Wikipedia, Minka Kelly was never technically a nurse.

        “While on a test shoot for a modeling agency, she was approached by a former Playboy Playmate who was interested in managing her, and who placed Kelly as a receptionist at a surgeon’s office who would provide Kelly breast augmentation in exchange for hours worked. She ultimately decided against the procedure, leading to her being fired. That exposure to the medical field prompted her to attend school for a year to become a surgeon’s assistant; afterward, she worked as a scrub technician. During the four years she spent in that vocation she continued auditioning for film and television roles.”

        But I can understand that she said “nurse,” because it’s hard for the general public to differentiate between all the roles and the hierarchies in the medical field. I have experience as a CNA and on average patients I had could not differentiate my role from a nurse’s role (though of course the role and training are much more expanded for nurses!) Perhaps that’s why she referred to herself as a nurse instead? I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.

      • OrangeCrush says:

        Holy smokes, SOUTH – you rock!

      • Katie says:

        You’re awesome. :)

  2. jesb says:

    She wasn’t a nurse. She went to school for one year to become a medical assistant in a surgeons office. An honorable job, but not a nurse.

    • Danielle says:

      Oh…I was going to say how impressive it was that she was a nurse before acting. That takes quite a bit of education. So….did she really gradiate from culinary school or did she take a couple of classes?

      • Krista says:

        I think she took a couple of courses. I won’t spite her for that. But I’m graduating from nursing school in 2 months, so I will hold it against her for calling herself a nurse. I’ve worked so dang hard, so it’s a sore spot for me.

    • Jayna says:

      Well, an LPN is a one-year course of study, and what you see often in doctors’ offices.. Maybe she was a licensed practical nurse? To be an RN, that’s at least a two-year degree or my friend even got her B.S. degree in nursing..

      • Merritt says:

        More and more places are getting rid of LPN programs because the job market for LPNs has shrunken. Most places now want RNs, and more often than not BSNs.

      • Katie says:

        Probably because the RNs have to do a good portion of the LPNs work. They can’t push IV meds, start IVs, can’t give meds via feeding tubes, can’t do assessments so an RN HAS to do an intake eval and assessment on admission, etc, etc. At least that was in Ca in 2006, hopefully those nurses got some relief by getting rid of the LPNs and hiring more RNs! I get why they did it because LPNs don’t make as much as RNs.
        By law, the rule then was in a subacute environment you could only have six patients, I was ecstatic since I had worked in subacute rehab prior and had up to TEN pts per shift depending on census. What they don’t tell you is you have to take on all the LPNs stuff that they aren’t allowed to do. So they were never given admits and we could have an additional 1-4 extra meds to give each med pass. They habitually gave more than six patients but worked it so one was going while one was coming. The only thing that takes longer than a discharge is an admit. Admits were absolute PITAs. I absolutely loved being an RN but a lot of the crap we had to put up with was ridiculous! I miss it…most of the time. Lol

    • Skyblue says:

      I’m a nurse as well and I also have a sore spot when it comes to medical assistants calling themselves nurses. Not the same thing. Anyway, perhaps she does have a nursing degree.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I think people are just going to call anyone who works for a doctor a nurse. Let it go.

      • Artemis says:

        My friend studied long and hard to become a medical assistant (Ba) and aspired to be a nurse in her first year of studies…until she saw their course load was double the work and basically knowing near as much as a GP.
        There is a huge difference and people would make that distinction where I come from. If it’s all the same, then the course load wouldn’t be so distinctive.

        Also medical assistants in my country tend to do office-related tasks which is reflected in their placement whereas student and qualified nurses run around for 12+ hours and deal with patients directly.

        Don’t take credit/praise for a job you don’t do. You look like a shitty person otherwise and if she wanted to do nursing work, then she should have worked for it; like everybody else on this planet.

      • Merritt says:

        @GNAT

        Right, we should just let go the constant disrespect. People act like being a nurse is a super simple job that anyone can do. That is not true and as long as people get away with misrepresenting the amount of education and work it takes, most of us will not “let it go”.

    • perplexed says:

      I’m not a nurse, but I was wondering if she had the level of education a nurse does. If she doesn’t, I can see why herself designating herself as one that would annoy real nurses. Nurses do a lot of work, and are required to have certain credentials.

      • tanesha86 says:

        GNAT it would be hard if not impossible for actual nurses to “just let it go”. While it is true that every position in the medical field plays an importanf role there is a huge difference between a nurse and a medical assistant in terms of education and scope of practice. I’m a nursing student myself set to graduate in less than 2 months and this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. If she wasn’t a nurse (be it RN or LPN/LVN) she shouldn’t call herself one and people have every right to call her out on it.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I say that as a former paralegal. We were also called legal assistants. Then secretaries decided that secretary wasn’t good enough for them, so they changed it to legal assistant. So there was mass confusion about who did what, who had what degree, etc. It’s not worth the energy. I say again, let it go. Mistakes will be made. You know who you are.

      • perplexed says:

        I can understand other people making the mistake, if they don’t know — the problem here is that she’s the one making the mistake, when most likely she knows the difference if she’s worked in some kind of hospital setting. That’s probably why people are irritated. She’s the one calling herself a nurse, and if that really wasn’t the case, that’s a deliberately misleading title she’s giving herself. It’s the deliberate nature of what she’s explicitly trying to call herself which I think nurses do have a right to be agitated about (if she doesn’t have the actual credentials).

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @perplexed, yes I a gree she shouldn’t call herself a nurse if she’s not one. I’m talking about other people referring to medical assistants as nurses and all that petty crap. It’s not worth it.

  3. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    She seems nice and I love her scruffy little dogs. Whoever styled her hair in that first picture should be removed from society.

    • Kitten says:

      LOL.
      Every time I see her I cannot believe that she’s around my age. She looks like she’s 25. She’s very beautiful and apparently, struck the genetic lottery.

  4. Another Nina says:

    She explained in one of her earlier interviews that she took job in the aesthetics surgery medical center because they offered her a discount to get some work done on herself. And she said that that surgery was suggested by her agents in Hollywood but I think she did not get it done because she got her part in FNL?

    And she had a very unusual life preFNl – her mom was a pole dancer in Vegas, and Minka often waited for mom in her “office”… She has a rather famous dad from the French band, whose name escapes me but they did not connect until Minka’s teen years…

    FNL has been one of my all time favorites, so I can talk about all of them in deep details …:)

  5. CornyBlue says:

    I appreciate Minka’s hustle but what does she really do? How do these people who do not work for years on end supprt the Hollywood lifestyle? Does TV play very well in US ?

    • KeishaMarie says:

      I wonder the exact same thing!! I’ve been to California and it is sooo expensive….how do they pay their bills, what do they live on and how do they maintain the lifestyle when some of them, like Minka Barely work…?!!?

  6. Christina says:

    She was a scrub tech not a nurse. She’s talked about this in detail during her fnl /Derek jeter days. Don’t know why she switched to nurse all of a sudden but lying is no good. Let’s not forget that she also was a homewrecker when she first got into Hollywood and slept with married men for roles. One being Donald Faison. She wrecked that marriage

    • Jayna says:

      She wrecked that marriage? Where is the “he” in wrecking his marriage to his wife? I’m not condoning cheating with a married man, but the spouse is the one betraying his wife and isn’t some victim preyed upon by a woman. Most cheating married men are pretty aggressive and blatant about making passes at women. There is no shame in their game. And if not a typical cheater, but one that got into an affair, it was mutual, and the man has to arrange his life in order to accomplish cheating and become a great liar for that affair.

      He wrecked his marriage.

  7. Loo says:

    Minka Kelly is a terrible actress. I can’t get over that she keeps landing roles.

    • als says:

      What roles? I know she did something post – FNL but nothing really took off.
      She is very beautiful and I think she had some chances but nothing stuck, probably because of bad acting skills.

  8. shutterbug99 says:

    Minka seems like a sweet girl, but her acting in FNL was pretty awful.

    Love the show. Would love to see a Netflix revival – but only if they can get Riggins back! #33

  9. Algernon says:

    “During an event thrown by house hunting website Trulia”

    What kind of envelope opening event….

  10. wow says:

    I recall her mentioning working in the hospital in some interview she did during her time of dating Derek Jeter. I think she said she was like a nursing assistant or something and only for a short time. Still commendable.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall during a gab session between her and Chrissy T. , especially since Chrissy is also friends with Derek Jeter’s model fiance, Hannah Davis.

  11. Christina says:

    It’s not commendable to lie, wow. Everyone attacked that young boy who pretended to be a doctor and here we have minka pretending she was a nurse in her former life. Celebitchy writers have become terrible about fact checking.

  12. Happy21 says:

    Her and the actress that played Julie Taylor were the WORST thing about FNL. I hated the star crossed lovers thing with her and Riggins, it seemed so forced to me. Girl can’t act. It was painful to watch her on screen. I have no idea what she’s done post-FNL but it must be something.

    That being said as a real person – like the real Minka Kelly, she seems pretty sweet and down to earth. I don’t appreciate the lying about being a nurse but who really knows for sure? LOL, is there a way to find out? I’d have to say that she probably worked as an LPN or just an assistant in a medical office. I can’t see her putting in the time and effort to be a registered nurse and to then decide to pursue acting gigs.

  13. Sylvia says:

    She may seem down to earth, but she’s a bitch IRL. My friend had to wait on her more than once, and she was an awful entitled bitch each time. You can even see the entitled attitude in this interview when she says it was her first pilot audition and she was working as a [nurse? or scrub tech?] at the time, but when told what the project was her response is “ugh, ok”. But she would’ve taken anything! Done anything! Yet still asking ‘Why is this a thing? Ugh…’ Like, bitch you’re lucky to even get auditions with your untalented ass!

    I think she even said in an interview how she learned to talk in a baby voice to be less threatening and more liked, and I think she’s mastered that and that’s why so many think she’s so sweet. She’s not, it’s just the only good acting she does.

    • Naddie says:

      Shit, I liked her a lot… One more ugh celebrity in a long list.

    • shutterbug99 says:

      Man, I hated Lyla’s baby voice!

      • INeedANap says:

        THAT BABY VOICE IS THE WORST
        I tried watching an interview she did with Colin Ferguson and he was totally smitten but MAN I couldn’t handle her stupid sexy baby voice.

    • als says:

      @Sylvia – I can’t say I am surprised. She always struck me as very controlled and I remember that scene with Jeter and the pap, her shutting everything down. That was ugly.
      She seems to be similar to Garner, very sweet and likeable package.
      @shutterbug – that is Minka’s real voice. You can look for her interviews on YouTube, it is her real voice.
      And I don’t like it either. If it is intentional I don’t get why, it’ s mostly annoying.

  14. A says:

    I just saw someone on Tumblr say Minka looks like she’s 38 and LOL’d. I know Minka is disliked for being a gold digger and I’m never going to defend that chick but please stop reaching. All that botox makes her look younger than her age tbh. There are other things that you can drag her for tho ;)

    • sizzi says:

      Didn’t they say she could pass as a 32-38? That’s a big difference between saying she looks like a 38-year-old. There are a lot of women that age that look young and botoxed

  15. Zucchini says:

    Celebs with real jobs (in the past or whatever) fascinate me because their industry is so fickle and the successes we see hide the rest – 99% who can’t pay their bills. I wonder how hard it is psychologically to get a real job if you fail at it. I just saw some article on Chris Klein (Holmes’ ex) becoming an alcoholic. I’d never go into such a fickle industry and if I weren’t as lucky as Minka Kelly to get booked pretty quickly, I’d be out and doing something practical at college within a couple of years of failed auditions. Aside, her father was an an Aerosmith band member, wasn’t he? I guess she’s not a trust fund baby though. I’m not impressed by her friends: Chrissie Teigen is on par with the Kardashians but Mandy Moore seems a bit smarter.

  16. Christina says:

    @jayna, she knew he was married and his wife had one on the way but she still chose to pursue the relationship. Both of them wrecked that marriage but she played a role too.

    She definitely looks her age and then some when she stops the Botox. Watch her snaps, the forehead lines don’t lie

  17. 4evaRedd says:

    A nurse? Explains why she was such a bad actress on FNL. Maybe her skills have improved by now…?

  18. N says:

    i think she still with Chris Evans quietly and he paid her bills!!!

    • May says:

      Keep reaching, friend. If they were ‘together’ she’d make sure everyone knew about it.

  19. Katie says:

    “I’ve surrounded myself with such strong, intelligent, fiercely loving women…”
    A LARDASShiam? Strong and intelligent? 😂😂😂😂😂 CTFU