Article: Challenging Roles


Annika Marks loves a challenge.

Whether it’s urging Californians to care about the drought, lobbying for empowering roles for women on stage and screen, humanizing controversial characters, or creating safe homes for children in her hometown of Los Angeles and as far away as Nairobi, Marks tackles each mission with passion and purpose.

Born in Sweden, but raised mainly in Bellvue, Washington, Marks moved to New York to attend the Circle in the Square Theater School.  She hoped to make a living in theater, “which is sort of funny and sweet, looking back on it.  But that’s what I really wanted… and [theater is] always going to have my heart. It was sort of the nucleus for me.”

Marks expanded her repertoire to include film and television, landing small roles in Columbia’s Mona Lisa Smile, NBC’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Southland, CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans and Battle Creek.

More doors opened when she starred in Fox Searchlight’s highly acclaimed film The Sessions, for which she won the Special Jury Award for Ensemble Acting along with her co-stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and Moon Bloodgood.

Now residing in Los Angeles, Marks currently stars as Principal Monte Porter on ABC Family’s The Fosters.  Season two of the show left viewers aghast as Marks’s Monte shared a secret kiss with the married Assistant Principal Lena Foster (played by Sherri Saum).

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‘The Fosters’ star Annika Marks talks Monte, and performing in Wendy Graf’s play “All-American Girl”

Annika Marks, a name heard quite frequently amongst fans of the hit ABC Family drama The Fosters, has become well-known for shaking things up… on television that is. Marks, who plays Monte Porter on the heartfelt show about a close-knit and diverse family revolving around partners Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef (Teri Polo), can be seen playing the mildly timid but curious new Principal of Anchor Beach Community Charter School. Monte, a newly divorced woman recently locked lips with subordinate Lena in last seasons epic finale, leaving the fandom to literally lose their shit.

Although fans questioned the characters motives in the beginning it’s slowly becoming clear that Monte isn’t the malicious woman the overzealous kids make her out to be. She’s just trying to find herself, and kissing other people’s wives is a casualty of that. But seriously, when she’s not portraying a homewrecker on TV (just kidding, we love Monte), Marks can currently be seen on stage in InterAct Theatre Company’s presentation of “All-American Girl,” the world premiere of Wendy Graf’s provocative solo drama currently running up until July 26 at The Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.

We chatted extensively about the play, and its importance, as well as  got much needed insight into her character on the critically acclaimed hit drama series The Fosters.

MCKENZIE MORRELL: Can you tell us a little bit about All American Girl, the play you star in that’s written by, directed by, about, and starring women?

ANNIKA MARKS: Yes! Yes! That’s all true. It’s a one-woman show. It’s double cast, so there’s two of us doing it, reading back and forth [the role alternates with Jeanne Syquia]. We tell the story of a girl who starts off as sort of an idealistic, passionate, young woman, or young lady, an “all-American girl.” And she grows up to be a radical extremist who uses violence to make her point, or to fight for her cause. It’s really the story of how she gets there. We play her from the time she’s 7 till she’s 24, and we also play about 17 other people that she comes into contact with along her journey, who kind of influence her down this path. It’s really an exploration inside the mind of extremists. It humanizes something that’s very difficult and scary to humanize, but it’s important to humanize it if we’re ever going to have a conversation about why these things happen.

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Annika Marks Talks ‘The Fosters’: It’s ‘Not About Breaking That Marriage Up’


Annika Marks may not be playing the most popular character on The Fosters right now, but she’s going to win you over anyway. When Monte Porter shook things up at the end of last season, fans had a lot to say – and there’s still more to come. We spoke with Annika to discuss what it’s like to be in the middle of a buzzy storyline, and what makes tonight’s episode so big for Monte.

When next we see Monte, it’s going to be in a surprising situation. “Somebody from Stef and Lena’s inner circle asks to be set up with Monte, and it just becomes very awkward, uncomfortable, odd for all of them,” Annika teased, adding, “It’s a very well written episode.”

She knows all about uncomfortable, ever since Monte kissed Lena near the end of last season. The moment was as much of a surprise for her as it was for the fans. “I had no idea,” she told us. “I think we were all surprised by it. It was exciting and also a little bit scary, because we all have a massive investment in [Lena and Stef’s] marriage.

“This storyline is not about breaking that marriage up or anything like that. It’s about a marriage that is challenged with this,” she continued. “I knew the fans were going to be upset…but I knew the writing was so good that the fans would have a hard time hating Monte. The writing is so nuanced and layered and complicated that Monte’s not an easy person to hate.”

What’s it like for an actress when the fans are all talking? “It’s really interesting. The day that we actually filmed the kiss, Sherri [Saum] said – and she was joking – ‘You may want to hire security,'” Annika laughed.

“I haven’t gotten an overwhelming amount of hate. I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people saying ‘I want to hate you, but I like you’…I think the fact that’s the feeling that it’s evoking in fans is a testament to the writing.”

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‘The Fosters’ Star Annika Marks Talks Coming Between Stef And Lena, Reveals Why Fans Shouldn’t Worry

By Nicole Massabrook


Annika Marks has been stirring up drama in everyone’s favorite relationship on “The Fosters.” She booked a gig on the ABC Family drama last year, but she didn’t expect to be messing with a fan-favorite duo. As the married couple, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) used to seem like the most stable relationship, but then Monte and Lena kissed in the Season 2 finale. In Season 3, Lena has been keeping Monte’s kiss a secret, which has caused fans to worry. Marks spoke to International Business Times about Monte’s identity struggle, the fans’ reactions and why they shouldn’t be concerned about Stef and Lena’s marriage.

International Business Times: Were you shocked when you read Lena and Monte’s kiss in last season’s finale? Did they tell you that you’d be causing trouble in one of the main relationships?

Annika Marks: Not when I first got the job. I had no idea. I just knew that I was going to be the principal of the school. And I was thrilled to do that because I’d become such a huge fan of the show, that I was like, ‘Alright, you know, every once in a while I’ll run a teacher meeting or something and that’ll be fun.’ I had no idea that it was going to become such a personal, dramatic storyline.

As we were heading that way, as it was unfolding sort of organically, I didn’t know how far they were going to go with it, but I’ve loved every moment of discovering the story. There were rumors on set that it might lead to a kiss, but until we actually got there that day, it was sort of hard to believe that it was going to happen. Even on the day it sort of felt like, ‘Wow, are we really going to do this? Like, we’re really going to do this.’ It was a crazy day on set.

IBTimes: Stef and Lena have some dedicated fans and I saw you’re on Twitter. Have you heard any reactions from “The Fosters” fan base?

Marks: I have, and surprisingly, it’s more confused than anything else because I think part of what makes this show so fantastic is the writing, obviously. The writing is so complicated that none of these characters are easy to just dismiss or dislike entirely.

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The Fosters’ Annika Marks says Monte is no villain

ABC Family/Tony Rivetti

Stef and Lena Foster’s marriage on The Fosters may have hit a bit of a rough patch as of late. The problems between the two certainly weren’t helped by the fact that Lena’s co-worker Monte (Annika Marks) kissed her at the end of Season 2. Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef (Teri Polo) seem committed to working through any issues in their marriage, and Monte swears the kiss was a one time thing–having been married previously to a man, she claims that she’s not interested in Lena romantically.

Whether or not that is the case remains to be seen, and the Season 3 premiere saw Lena turn down Monte’s invitation to attend a work conference together in D.C. Can viewers, and Lena, believe Monte when she says she’s not interested? What happens when Stef, unaware of what happened between her wife and the principal, invites Monte over to the house? The TV Junkies caught up with the woman behind all this trouble, Monte herself, actress Annika Marks, to get answers to all of these burning questions.

The TV Junkies: So you’re quite the troublemaker on The Fosters.

Annika Marks: She’s definitely causing a lot of unrest among Fosters fans that’s for sure. I like that she’s a complicated person to dislike because she’s not a bad person. She’s just causing some trouble.

TTVJ: What was it like coming onto a show that’s so established, where the cast is so close like on The Fosters?

AM: I hadn’t watched the show before I got cast. I came in halfway through the second season and I binge watched the whole first season and first half of the second. I became obsessed with the show, like obsessed with everything about it because it’s brilliant! The writing is so sophisticated, they are so brave, the family feels like it’s your real family. I totally fell in love with this family.

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Annika on San Diego IndieFest

Below is a snippet from an article about San Diego IndieFest in which Annika comments about the festival:


Photo by Laurent Kramer
Annika Marks, of ABC Family’s The Fosters, who screened two episodes from her new short film PSA series about water conservation, Stay Filthy, Cali at the festival cited the success of this year’s IndieFest and her positive experience of the festival. “I had a wonderful time,” said Marks. “San Diego IndieFest is a true independent festival which is something we need more of. To me the purpose of a festival is to celebrate the independent spirit and the causes that bring creative minds together – not to make a profit as much as to make a difference. The music, art, food, community, film and energy at San Diego IndieFest are completely energizing – ego-less and inspiration-full.”

….IndieFest 10 – the anticipation is already building, summed up in four words from Annika Marks when we asked her if she would come back to San Diego IndieFest in the future:

“I would love to,’’ she said with a smile!

Source: LGBT Weekly