Gabriella

Background:

“Being cool is being your own self, not doing something that someone else is telling you to do.” Vanessa Hudgens

Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens was first seen in films "Thirteen" (2003) and "Thunderbirds" (2004) before hitting it big in 2006 when she was cast as Gabriella Montez in the hit Disney Channel Original Movie "High School Musical," as well as in its television sequel "High School Musical 2" (2007) and the feature film "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" (2008).

“So many people try to grow up too fast, and it's not fun! You should stay a kid as long as possible!” Vanessa Hudgens

She has also appeared in several episodes of the TV series "Drake & Josh" and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and scored a recording contract with the label Hollywood Records, with whom she released the studio albums “V” (2006), which spawned the singles "Come Back To Me" and "Say OK," and “Identified” (2008), which yielded the top 10 Hot Dance Club Play hit "Sneakernight."

Vanessa, who is currently a Neutrogena spokesperson, the face of Sears and Eckō footwear, will next be seen co-starring with Gaelan Connell, Lisa Kudrow, and Alyson Michalka in an upcoming romantic comedy called "Bandslam."

“I want to let my fans get to know a little about me. I'm very thankful for everything they've done for me so of course I'm going to let them into my world a bit. But I really am a very private person and I love keeping my life to myself. That's how I've always been.” Vanessa Hudgens

On a more personal note, this 5' 2" Eurasian with long dark hair, who was on Forbes.com's “Hollywood's Top-Earning Tweens” list, Bop Magazine's 7th “Hottest Star as Hot Breakout Star,” People magazine's annual “100 Most Beautiful People” (2008), and Maxim magazine “Hot 100 of 2008” list, is now dating her “High School Musical” co-star Zac Efron. She revealed, “The second I met Zac I thought he was a really cool guy. It's hard not to have chemistry with someone who is quite attractive.”

The young star sparked controversy in September 2007 when nude photos of her surfaced on the internet. Vanessa, who has since apologized, later recalled, “I'm much better now. But truthfully I don't like talking about it. It was something that was meant to be private, and even though it isn't anymore, I'd still like to keep it as private as I can. It was very traumatic and I am extremely upset it happened. I hope all my fans can learn from my mistake and make smart decisions. But I wouldn't have been able to get through it if it wasn't for my family, friends, and fans, who supported me all along the way.”


Eurasian Beauty

Childhood and Family:

“Pretty much I'm Filipino and Caucasian, but within that, I'm Spanish, Chinese, American Indian, Irish.” Vanessa Hudgens

Daughter to a Filipino, Chinese, and Hispanic mother Gina Guangco, and an Irish and Native American father, Greg Hudgens, Vanessa Anne Hudgens was born in Salinas, California, on December 14, 1988. She has one younger sister, Stella Teodora Hudgens (born November 13, 1995), who is also an actress. Both sets of her grandparents were musicians during the Big Band era.

About her mother, Vanessa said, “She always knows what to do to cheer me up. Whenever I feel down, my mom will take me shopping or out to lunch. She's 100% there for me and always has been. My family keeps me going no matter what.”

Vanessa, nicknamed Nessa, V, Van, Baby V, or Vanney, picks science as her favorite subject in school. She wants to study business when she goes to college.

Vanessa is good friends with “High School Musical” (2006, TV) co-stars Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron, and Corbin Bleu. Her best friend is Erin Annis, who made her film debut in “Bridge to Terabithia” (2007).

“One of my friends was part of the popular group and I remember her telling them, 'Come on, we should let Vanessa in.' This one other girl didn't want to let me into the group. Finally I kind of got accepted and became good friends with her. I don't know, the whole popularity scene is funny.” Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa has a toy poodle named Shadow, three turtles, and some fish. She is a fan of horror movies.

“Ghost stories really scare me. I have such a big imagination that after I watch a horror movie like 'The Grudge,' I look in the corners of my room for the next two days.” Vanessa Hudgens


High School Musical

Career:

“When you're acting, you're a character and you can hide behind that. Music is who you are right then and there. You can't hide.” Vanessa Hudgens

At the age of eight, Vanessa Hudgens began performing in musical theater as a singer and appeared in local productions of “Carousel,” “Evita,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The King and I,” “The Music Man,” “Cinderella,” “Damn Yankees,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “The Little Mermaid,” among others. Vanessa, who also took piano lessons when she was younger and actually planned to audition for "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" (2002), was discovered when she replaced her friend in a filming of a commercial.

After winning an audition for a commercial, she moved to Los Angeles with her family and made her television debut in a 2002 episode of CBS’ sitcom “Still Standing.” The following year, she made her feature debut in Catherine Hardwicke's autobiographical drama film starring Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed, “Thirteen” (2003), and followed it up with Jonathan Frakes' live-action film based on the television series of the same name of the 1960s, “Thunderbirds” (2004), in which she portrayed Brady Corbet's love interest Tintin.

2006 proved to be Vanessa's breakout year when she was cast as Gabriella Montez, a beautiful and shy transfer student who excels in math and science, in the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie “High School Musical,” alongside Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman. The film became the most successful movie that Disney Channel Original Movie ever produced and spawned the television sequel "High School Musical 2" (2007) and the feature film "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" (2008), with Vanessa reprising her role in both. Her performance in the films won her Teen Choice Awards for TV - Choice Chemistry in 2006 and Choice Female Hottie in 2008.

“It's hard to find people you are very close to and can relate to, but with this movie we really did bond. I felt very blessed for that.” Vanessa Hudgens (on “High School Musical”)

Vanessa also guest starred in two episodes of the Nickelodeon sitcom starring Drake Bell and Josh Peck, "Drake & Josh," and in multiple episodes of Disney Channel Original Series’ starring twin brothers Cole and Dylan Sprouse, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." She also signed a record deal with the label Hollywood Records in June 2006 and released her debut album, "V," on September 26, 2006. It yielded the singles "Come Back To Me" (2006) and "Say OK" (2007), which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #67. The album debuted at #24 on the U.S. Billboard album chart and received gold certification.

She followed it up with her second album, "Identified," which hit the music stores on July 1, 2008. The album that received generally positive reviews from music critics produced the single "Sneakernight." Produced by J.R. Rotem, the song stayed on the Hot Dance Club Play for 9 weeks and peaked at #8. The album debuted at #23 on the Billboard 200 chart with sales of 22,000 copies sold in its first week.

During this time, Vanessa embarked on her first tour as a solo performer in order to promote her albums. She had Rooney, Corbin Bleu, Drew Seeley and Mandy Moore as opening acts on her tour.

Vanessa has completed her latest film project, "Bandslam," a musical comedy in which she co-stars with Gaelan Connell, Lisa Kudrow, and Alyson Michalka. The film, previously titled "Will and Rock On," is set for release in late July 2009. Vanessa, who appeared in a TV commercial for Old Navy swimwear (2005), is currently a Neutrogena spokesperson, and the face of Sears and Eckō footwear.


Awards:

  • Teen Choice: Choice Female Hottie, 2008

  • Teen Choice: TV - Choice Chemistry, "High School Musical," 2006

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