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Abbott Elementary's Lisa Ann Walter Sees Some Similarities With Her Character Melissa

"Abbott Elementary" is one of the latest shows to take advantage of the mockumentary style of comedy honed in previous hits like "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation." Like any good mockumentary series, "Abbott Elementary" relies on the unique personalities of its characters to win over audiences. And if the series' popularity is any indication, fans are loving the teachers at the titular elementary school. 

One of the characters keeping Abbott Elementary together is second-grade teacher Melissa Schemmenti (Lisa Ann Walter), a hard-willed character who typically doesn't feel the need to hold back. Walter has popped up in plenty of widely seen films and television shows over the years like "Grey's Anatomy," "War of the Worlds," and perhaps most notably the Lindsay Lohan starring remake of "The Parent Trap." 

Walter is far from a second-grade teacher in real life, but the actor has opened up about the major similarities between her and Melissa, as well as one surprising difference. 

Lisa Ann Walter and Melissa Schemmenti are both strong women

According to Lisa Ann Walter, the biggest similarity between herself and her "Abbott Elementary" character Melissa Schemmenti is their shared independent spirit. Melissa is definitely not afraid to speak her mind on "Abbott Elementary" and she is rarely one to back down, something that can surely be traced back to her Brooklyn upbringing. 

"Both Melissa and myself are bold, ballsy, take-no-crap women — and powerful," the actor told Warner Bros. TV in a behind-the-scenes promo for "Abbott Elementary." While Melissa and Walter have a strong connection, Walter did reveal one major difference between the two. The external contrast between actor and character has actually influenced Walter and helped her overcome body issues, according to the same Warner Bros. interview Walter gave about portraying her firecracker character. 

"Melissa being able to wear clothes that are form-fitting is not something Lisa would have done before I got this role. My generation grew up with a lot of body issues and self-loathing. Melissa didn't have time for that. That's not who she is. And I'm also surrounded by some really powerful Black women on this show who are like, 'No, girl, you look great.' All of that together has made me much more confident in myself," Walter said.