Grown-Up Disney Veteran Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa was born in Salinas, California. She is of Spanish-Chinese-Filipino and Native American-Irish descent. She did not begin acting until high school, at which point she began getting bit parts.
Vanessa first was noticed in a supporting role of "Thirteen," a minor hit about a troubled teen. Landing the lead role in 2005 for "High School Musical," though, really set her career in motion.
"High School Musical," of course, is a musical... yes, that fact took a lot of research to dig up... and this opened up an entirely new career path for Vanessa. Vanessa got to demonstrate her singing voice and since has gone on to a successful singing career of her own. She and Zac Efron sang a duet in 2006, "Breaking Free," that hit the top five on the US singles charts and the top ten in Great Britain. She has released two albums, "V" in 2006 and "Identified" in 2008.
There was a bit of notoriety for Vanessa when she dated her "High School Musical" co-star, Zac Efron. The couple dated for about five years, announcing their split in 2010.
Vanessa also has dated actor Austin Butler for several years.
Vanessa continues to act and sing and is involved in all sorts of interesting projects, including the successful 2013 "Spring Breakers" film which gave her a more adult image.
Vanessa has worked steadily as an actress since "High School Musical" (2006) and its two sequels, "High School Musical 2" (2007) and "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" (2008).
While most of her projects have been in independent movies such as "Beastly" (2011), which also starred Mary-Kate Olsen from "Full House" in her final film role to date.
Vanessa also starred as Emily Locke in television series "Powerless" (2017). The show lasted for one season.
Vanessa has had some controversies over the years. They haven't been major issues, but they have kept her in the tabloids. For instance, in 2016 Vanessa got in trouble with the U.S. Forest Service for carving her initials and Butler's initials within a heart on a rock. That is pretty standard stuff for young lovers, but the rock happened to be in the Coconino National Forest. Hudgens wound up paying a small fine ($1,000). Nobody might have found out about the stunt, but Hudgens published a picture and description of the incident on her Instagram account.
In another notorious incident, in September 2007 someone hacked into her private phone account and leaked nude images of Vanessa that she had taken and apparently sent to Zac. This was right before "High School Musical 3" was scheduled for release. Vanessa apologized and Disney had no issues with the incident. This was one of many similar incidents over the past couple of decades when sex-related materials were released about actresses right before they had major projects scheduled for release. Such incidents are thought to generate publicity and help a project gain an audience.
Vanessa sued a web site when the second set of pictures was released in 2009 that wasn't timed with the release of one of her projects. Another group of pictures appeared in 2011.
In another incident, an agent, Brian Schall, sued Hudgens for breach of contract in 2007. Schall alleged that he was owed monies for helping Vanessa to launch her career. Another individual, Johnny Vieira, also sued Vanessa for alleged management services. Hudgens settled the latter case in 2009, and dodged the Schall case by asserting that the contracts that she had signed with him were void due to her being a minor.
Whenever anybody asks me, would I do nudity in a film, if I say that it's something I'm not comfortable with, they're like, 'BS, you've already done it.' If anything, it makes it more embarrassing, because that was a private thing. It's screwed up that someone screwed me over like that. At least some people are learning from my mistake.
After a long absence, Vanessa returned to the record charts in 2017 with "Reminding Me," a duet with Canadian singer Shawn Hook. Aya Tanimura directed a music video featuring Vanessa. The video continued Vanessa's transition to a more mature image, as it featured her ind Hook in romantic poses.
Power to the Peaceful.
I don't like being stagnant. I want to continue to grow and just be better at what I do, and the only way to do that is to keep stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Vanessa practices Pilates.
Vanessa hosted the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.
Aside from her Instagram account, Vanessa has an active Twitter account with over 6 million followers. Vanessa posts a lot of pictures of herself and her boyfriend on it.
I remember one time we were in London leaving an autograph signing and they escorted us to our car. As we were driving out, people were literally on top of the cars, just people everywhere -- shaking the car back and forth.
Vanessa reminisced about "High School Musical" in 2017, a full decade after the phenomenon, and brought up much earlier memories:
My parents put me in dance class when I was three and I was the only kid who actually memorized the choreography.
Vanessa is the "beauty ambassador" for EcoTools, which peddles makeup brushes with a Green orientation. Vanessa says about EcoTools:
They’re going to be taking the intimidation out of makeup application and just lifting women up and inspiring them to be their best selves. I feel like when you look good, you feel good, and there’s nothing more beautiful than a confident woman.