Vanessa Anne Hudgens (born December 14, 1988), also known simply as Vanessa Hudgens, is an American actress and singer. She made her screen debut in 2003 and appeared in the Hollywood films Thirteen and Thunderbirds, before reaching fame in the 2006 hit Disney Channel film High School Musical. Hudgens also began a music career and released her debut album, entitled V, in 2006. In 2007, Hudgens became the spokesperson for Neutrogena.
Hudgens was born in Salinas, California, the daughter of Gina (née Guangco) and Greg Hudgens. She has a younger sister, Stella Hudgens, who is also an actress. Hudgens's father is an American of Irish and Native American descent, and her mother, who grew up in Manila, is a Filipino-born of Filipino, Spanish and Chinese descent. Hudgens has been home-schooled since after her seventh-grade year at the Orange County High School of the Arts.
Starting at the age of eight, Hudgens performed in musical theater as a singer, and appeared in local productions of Carousel, The Wizard of Oz, The King and I, The Music Man, and Cinderella, among others. Hudgens successfully auditioned for a commercial and subsequently moved to Los Angeles with her family, with whom she is still close.
Film and television
Hudgens began performing at an early age, appearing in musicals starting at age eight, by taking over a friend who couldn't go to the audition, and moved to Los Angeles after winning an audition for a commercial. She scored roles on shows such as Quintuplets, Cover Me, and Still Standing, then made her feature debut in Thirteen as Noel and appeared in the 2004 film Thunderbirds as Tintin. In both her first two films Hudgens appeared alongside Brady Corbet.
Her television appearances include guest roles on Quintuplets, Still Standing, The Brothers Garcia and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, as Corrie, a classmate of Maddie and London. Hudgens also appeared on Drake & Josh, playing Drake's girlfriend, Rebecca.
High School Musical
Hudgens' largest role among teenage audiences has been starring in the Disney Channel movie High School Musical, staring as the shy, intelligent student Gabriella Montez. The show premiered in January 2006; BBC News said that the film's success turned Hudgens into a "household name" in North America. Hudgens and Efron had won "Best Chemistry" award at the Teen Choice Awards for their roles. The first High School Musical spawned a hit soundtrack, a worldwide concert tour, a show at Walt Disney World, and even a book series that helped Hudgens land in Forbes magazine's list of top-earning stars under 21." In the list, the 18-year-old Hudgens was No. 7 with estimated earnings of $2 million.
Hudgens reprised her role in High School Musical 2 on April 13, 2007, in St. George and Salt Lake City, Utah. The film premiered on the Disney Channel on August 17, 2007
As a result of the first film's popularity, Hudgens was offered a contract by Old Navy to appear in multiple commercials for the company. Hudgens had previously appeared in a swimwear commercial for the company in 2005. She also appeared in a Blockbuster commercial for no late fees, as the teenage daughter. Also, Hudgens is set to be the new face of Neutrogena in 2007, appearing in both film and print ads. Hudgens is also an endorser of the Ecko line. Hudgens participated in the Disney Channel Games 2006, which was filmed in April 2006 and aired two months later.
On January 11, 2008, The Hollywood Reporter announced that that Hudgens will star in the comedy, Will. Hudgens will play 15-year old Sam. The story is about an outcast, Sam, and a popular girl who develop mutual bond through their love of music. The duo gather up their friends to form a rock group to compete in the school's battle of the bands. Shooting is stated to start in February in Austin, Texas. Hudgens will still be in the third installment of High School Musical, even while filming Will.
Hudgens was also to have starred in Prom Night but turned down the offer to work on her music. Brittany Snow was offered the role instead.
Despite early speculation that Vanessa would be dropped from High School Musical 3 due to her public photo scandal (see below), Disney denied the reports, saying, "Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."
It was reported by OK! Magazine that due to her nude scandal Vanessa would be replaced by Adrienne Bailon or Sabrina Bryan from the Cheetah Girls in HSM3, Access Hollywood has confirmed that the cast is still in negotiations and Vanessa will not be cut from High School Musical 3. Vanessa's rep. quoted "Totally untrue. It is an old rumor," the rep told Access. "OK! magazine never bothered to fact check with me but they did call Disney who said it wasn’t true, but yet OK! ran it anyway. Apparently OK! magazine was having a slow news day."
Hudgens' debut album, entitled V, was released in early September 2006. She is signed with Hollywood Records, a Disney-owned record label. A music video for her first single, "Come Back To Me", debuted after the world premiere of The Cheetah Girls 2 in late August. The official music video for her second single, "Say OK", was first shown following the premiere of Disney's Jump In! "Let Go" and "Let's Dance" have both been used in commercials for ABC, "Let Go" for a Desperate Housewives commercial, and "Let's Dance" for Dancing With The Stars. "Say OK" has also been used in commercials for ABC Family's Lincoln Heights.
In August 2007 at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, Hudgens was named the Choice Breakout Singer - Female, beating out other noteworthy nominees including American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee, Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae and Lily Allen.
Second album (2008-Present)
Hudgens has been seen stepping into the recording studio for work on her upcoming album which is expected to have a late May/early June release date. So far, two title tracks have been revealed - “Whisper” which is described as a sexy new style for Vanessa, and “It Feels Right”. Also, a song titled “I Will” which has been written by Hilary Duff has also been confirmed.
The album is being currently planned for a summer release.Her publicist said that they are shooting for a June 24th, release but it's still a little sketchy. Also they are planning to release the CD world wide so she'll be visiting places like Australia and Japan to promote it. They also think she might have a tour to promote the album as well. Just like her HSM co-star Ashley Tisdale who had a tour to promote her album Headstrong. A representative for the singer confirmed the news to E!: "She is wrapping up in the recording studio right now". After finishing the work in the studio she'll be heading to Austin,Texas to film there the teen comedy movie "Will", then in April, the shoot for the new HSM movie will begin, and a couple of months later she'll start the new album promotion.
Hudgens confirmed in an interview with Teen Magazine that as of October 2007, she is dating her High School Musical series co-star Zac Efron. In an interview, Vanessa's publicist stated that her music video for 'Say OK' was their official 'coming out' as a couple.
On September 6, 2007, controversy erupted after nude photos of Hudgens surfaced online. A statement from her publicist claims that the photo was taken privately and it was "unfortunate" that they were released on the Internet. Hudgens later apologized, saying that she was "embarrassed over the situation" and regretted having "taken [those] photos." Disney Channel spokeswoman Patti McTeague indicated that Disney will still be working with Hudgens, stating, "Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment. We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."