IU alum takes on role in Fox’s new comedy, ‘Enlisted’

Even if you missed the recent series premiere, you really should tune into this week’s episode of Fox’s new comedy, “Enlisted.”

Why? To see alumna Angelique Cabral take on the role of Staff Sgt. Jill Perez, the confident, funny and tough female counterpoint to the show’s male lead character — a dream role for the musical theater major who graduated from IU Bloomington in 2001.

“Enlisted” stars Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young as three brothers posted on a small Army base in Florida, part of a rear detachment left behind there when other soldiers deployed overseas. It airs Friday nights at 9 on Fox 59.

“Every single thing about this show has felt right,” Cabral told Art at IU from her Los Angeles home last week. “She’s my dream role — a strong, independent woman who is career-minded, who has a little chip on her shoulder, who can hang with the boys but still has this girly side to her. She’s a fully-rounded, fully-developed character and, honestly, she came so easy to me.”

Cabral grew up on stage, joining the Screen Actors Guild at age 8 after doing an episode of “America’s Most Wanted.” Lured to Bloomington in the late 1990s by a Wells Scholarship, she quickly fell in love with the theater program here.

IU alumna Angelique Cabral as Staff Sgt. Jill Perez in Fox's new comedy, "Enlisted."

IU alumna Angelique Cabral as Staff Sgt. Jill Perez in Fox’s new comedy, “Enlisted.”

After graduation, she moved to New York City with several friends, where she snagged roles in several soap operas and off-Broadway shows. That prompted a move to L.A., where she quickly picked up roles on “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” and “Devious Maids” before landing her latest gig. She also appeared in feature films “Friends with Benefits” with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and “The Perfect Family,” starring Emily Deschanel, Jason Ritter and Kathleen Turner.

“Those years in New York were tough, and they really shaped me. They made me a fighter, a hard worker and someone who appreciates things,” Cabral said. “All of that time in New York helped me really bite the bullet and go for it, move to L.A. and see what would happen.”

Once on the West Coast, she began working with acting coach Lesly Kahn.

“She’s my everything, and I attribute everything I am to her and her classes,” Cabral said. “But the training and experiences I had at IU obviously set the ground floor for that. I’m so proud of my time at IU. I was a Wells Scholar, I took 20 or 22 credit hours each semester, I sang and performed in theater, with Ladies First, the Singing Hoosiers, was in Delta Gamma. But all that taught me how to balance my life, and to not limit myself.”

All that work put her in the right place to carry her new role, she said.

“The rear detachment, we’re the ones who stay home while the infantry is deployed, so this is a new and different kind of show,” Cabral said. “But it’s also a very emotional show, with a lot of heart. It’s a family comedy, and one I believe America can get behind.”

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