From Peppermint Patty to Lisa Davis, Toni Trucks is drawn to strong characters

Jul 17, 2020

Toni Trucks on the set of SEAL Team

When Toni Trucks learned she'd be going on tour with the USO last summer, she thought she'd need to prepare a song and dance routine to perform for the troops. 

That wouldn't have been a stretch for her. After all, Trucks studied musical theater at Interlochen Arts Camp and Academy as well as the University of Michigan.

Her first role on stage was at the Ramsdell in Manistee, where she sang in the chorus of "Sweet Charity" at the age of seven.

Toni Trucks as Peppermint Patty in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" at Interlochen Arts Academy

At Interlochen, she appeared in "Cabaret," "Sweeney Todd" and, perhaps most notably, as Peppermint Patty in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

Trucks quickly learned that she would not be performing on the USO tour. At least, she wouldn't need to pack her tap shoes. Instead, Trucks had to challenge one female soldier at each base to a push-up contest.

She won at every base, by the way, except during their final stop in Djibouti. Trucks is sure that the woman who defeated her was a "ringer," though.

The push-up contest was certainly inspired by Trucks's current starring role on the CBS series SEAL Team, where she plays Intelligence Officer Lisa Davis. 

She recently spoke with Classical IPR from her home in Los Angeles. Trucks recently purchased a new home - an old house that she's in the process of remodeling. 

Toni Trucks celebrating her hometown of Manistee

"I love old houses," Trucks says. After all, she notes, she grew up in Manistee, "the Victorian port city of Michigan."

She attended Camp and Academy at Interlochen as a teenager, but it wasn't just the opportunities for artistic development that attracted her to the institution. Laughing, she says she was "enamored" with the knee socks and knickers of the camp uniform. 

After her breakout role in the Showtime series "Barbershop" (based on the hit films), Trucks has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies. Some notable roles include the vampire Mary in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2," Deputy Sheriff Janelle Farris on "Grimm" and attorney Anita Haskins on "Franklin & Bash." 

Toni Trucks with "Franklin & Bash" co-stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer

Lately, Trucks is optimistic about the work being done in Hollywood and more broadly with regard to Black Lives Matter. "If feels like people are ready to have these conversaions," she says. "I'm excited." 

Trucks also told Classical IPR why she dressed up as a character from the TV show "Saved by the Bell" while she was on the set of "Franklin & Bash," what kind of role she'd like to play but hasn't had a chance yet, and why her official legal signature includes a picture of a truck.

Listen to the entire conversation below.

Credit Toni Trucks