Vanessa Hudgens is a household name around the globe, thanks to the success of the High School Musical franchise but how did Vanessa Hudgens become the star she is today?
Vanessa Hudgens was born on December 14, 1988 in Salinas, California in the United States. She was born and raised a Roman Catholic and has a very mixed, multi cultural background. Vanessa’s father is of Irish and Native American descent, while her mother is a native of Manila, Philippines and is of Chinese, Filipino and Spanish descent. Music has always been in the family and all of Vanessa’s grandparents were musicians.
Vanessa Hudgens took her first steps toward stardom at the age of 8, when she took up musical theatre starring in local productions such as Carousel, The Wizard of Oz, The King & I, The Music Man, Cinderella and many more. Two years later, Vanessa decided that she wanted to up things a bit and began to audition for television commercials and television shows. Hudgens landed a role in a television commercial and her family moved to Los Angeles where the commercial was being filmed.
At the age of 15, Vanessa Hudgens took another step towards movie stardom, as she won her first role in a feature film. Vanessa attended the Orange County High School of the Arts for a brief time before leaving to be home schooled by tutors, as her acting career began to take off. 2003 saw Vanessa Hudgens in her first movie, as she had a minor role in the Indie movie Thirteen, starring alongside Evan Rachel Wood. The movie received critical acclaim and made back more than its $4million budget.
In 2004, Vanessa Hudgens won the role of Tintin in the movie Thunderbirds but the film flopped both financially and critically. However, Vanessa put the heavy criticism behind her and continued along the acting path, appearing in a number of television shows in 2005, including Quintuplets, Still Standing, The Brothers Garcia, Drake & Josh and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Then, late in 2005, Vanessa got the big break that would make her a household name.
Vanessa Hudgens auditioned for the role of Gabriella Montez in 2005 and was to audition alongside Zac Efron. The chemistry that the young couple showed in the audition won them both the lead roles in High School Musical. The movie became a huge success and the chemistry that Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron showed on screen, spilled off screen and the two stars began dating.
After the success of High School Musical, Vanessa Hudgens decided to turn her hand to a music career. In September 2006, Vanessa released her debut album V and readers of Billboard voted it as the seventh best album of the year. Hudgens was then named Female Breakout Singer at the Teen Choice Awards in 2007. V was certified Gold on February 27, 2007.
2007 was quite an up and down year for Vanessa Hudgens. Vanessa reprised her role as Gabriella Montez for High School Musical 2 but came under a little criticism for her performance and was deemed average. On September 6, 2007, some nude pictures of Vanessa Hudgens appeared on the internet. Hudgens admitted that she was deeply embarrassed by the nude pictures, which she had taken in the privacy of her own home.
Also in 2007, Vanessa Hudgens was sued by Brian Schall, who claimed that Vanessa was in breach of contract and that she owed him $150,000 after he helped her to make over $5million from her music career. However, Hudgens claimed that she was underage when she signed the contract in October 2005, since she was on 16 years old and disaffirmed the contract is 2008. It would not be the last time that Vanessa would be sued.
Vanessa Hudgens was again sued in 2008 by Johnny Vieira, who claimed that he was owed a share of advances, royalties and merchandising revenue. The case was settled in May 2009. On July 1, 2008, Vanessa released her second album, Identified, which debuted at Number 23. Vanessa went on an Identified Summer Tour which began on August 1, 2008 and ended on September 9, 2008.
In 2009, despite reports that Vanessa Hudgens would be dropped Disney, she reprised her role as Gabriella Montez once again for High School Musical 3. Vanessa’s performance received better reviews that in High School Musical 3 and Hudgens went on to be named Favourite Movie Actress at the Kids Choice Awards 2009. By now, Vanessa Hudgens had firmly established herself as a household name but she did not want to be tied to Disney forever and wanted to show her acting diversity.
After High School Musical 3, Vanessa Hudgens revealed that she would be taking a break from her solo singing career. Next up for Vanessa was Bandslam, which was released on August 14, 2009. While the movie was huge flop, Hudgens was praised for her performance and her acting was compared to that of Thandie Newton and Dorothy Parker. August was quite the eventful month for Vanessa, as more nude pictures of her emerged online. Vanessa was very upset that her private photos had been made public and released a statement.
She explained, “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, 'Bullshit, 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.” It was announced in 2009 that Vanessa Hudgens would be appearing alongside Alex Pettyfer in the big screen adaptation of the Alex Flinn novel Beastly. After the movie, Vanessa Hudgens was recognised as one of the ShoWest stars of Tomorrow.
After forging a success movie career for herself, Vanessa Hudgens decided to return to the stage and appeared as Mimi in the musical Rent, which ran from August 6 until August 8 in 2010. Many people criticised Vanessa’s involvement but the director, Neil Patrick Harris claimed, "Vanessa [Hudgens] is awesome. She's a friend. I asked her to come in and sing to make sure she had the chops for it. And she was very committed and seemed great."
December 2010 saw the end of her relationship with her High School Musical boyfriend Zac Efron after the couple admitted that they had simply drifted apart due to their busy work schedules. In March 2011, Vanessa Hudgens appeared in the action movie Sucker Punch and, while the movie received mixed reviews, it was her first step in to more grown up roles. Rumours began to surface in mid 2011 that Vanessa was rekindling her romance with Zac Efron but those rumours proved to be unfounded, as Hudgens began dating Austin Butler.
2012 is set to be a huge year for Vanessa Hudgens, as she already has three movies set to be released and filming to begin on a fourth. Vanessa will appear alongside Josh Hutcherson and Dwayne Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which is released on February 10, 2012. Vanessa will then be seen in the gritty drama Gimme Shelter, a role in which Hudgens had to chop off her long hair, something she found difficult to do but knew she needed to for the role. She will also appear alongside Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in the Thriller The Frozen Ground, which is based on actual events and will be released on December 1, 2012.
Vanessa Hudgens is also set to begin filming in the spring of 2012 for the movie Spring Breakers, which will see her starring alongside Selena Gomez, Emma Roberts and James Franco. The movie is expected to be released in 2013. With these much more grown up roles under her belt and the fact that she has shown that she is willing to make personal sacrifices for her movie roles, Vanessa’s career is really moving in the right direction. It is only a matter of time before Vanessa Hudgens receives that big role, where she gives an Oscar winning performance. Expect Vanessa Hudgens to be a Hollywood superstar for many years to come.