Vanessa Anne Hudgens (born December 14, 1988) is an American actress and singer. As an actress, she guest starred in television shows like Quintuplets, Still Standing, The Brothers Garcia, Drake & Josh, and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Hudgens made her screen debut in the drama film Thirteen (2003) as Noel. She got her first starring role in the 2004 Thunderbirds movie as Tintin.
Hudgens garnered prominence with her portrayal of the fictional character Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical series. She earned critical acclaim for her role as Sa5m (the 5 is silent) in the 2009 film Bandslam.
Hudgens' debut album V was released on September 26, 2006. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number twenty four, and was later certified Gold. Hudgens released her second album, Identified, on July 1, 2008 in the U.S. She has since taken a break from her music career.
Her films took on a darker tone. She has done Beastly, a more mature film of the idea of Beauty and The Beast made up to date, where she plays the beauty, but with real family issues and fitting in problems; and Sucker Punch, a film where she plays a mental patient with depression and anger issues. In 2013, she starred in Spring Breakers with fellow Disney star Selena Gomez, Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson, Glee star Heather Morris, and James Franco.
Hudgens' fame has also been marked by scandal caused by the release of private, self-taken nude photographs of herself on the Internet without her permission, first in 2007, then again in 2009, and again in 2011.
Hudgens has European and Native American ancestry on her father's side, while her mother is a Filipina-American.
- Thirteen (2003) (As Noel)
- Thunderbirds (As Tintin) (2004)
- The High School Musical series (As Gabriella) (2006-2008)
- Bandslam (As S-a-5-M) (2009)
- Beastly (As Lindy Taylor) (2011)
- Sucker Punch (As Blondie) (2011)
- Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (As Kailani) (2012)
- The Frozen Ground (As Cindy Paulson) (2012)
- Spring Breakers (As Candy) (2012)
- Machete Kills (As Cereza) (2013)
- Gimme Shelter (2014) (As Agnes "Apple" Bailey) (shot in 2011, released in 2014)
- Grease: Live (As Rizzo) (2016)
- Powerless (2017) as Emily Locke
- Dog Days (2018) as Tara
- The Princess Switch (2018) as Stacy de Novo and Duchess Margaret
- The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020) as the aforementioned characters and Lady Fiona Pembroke
- The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021)
- Polar (2019) as Camille
- Bad Boys for Life (2020) as Kelly
- My Little Pony: A New Generation (2021) as Sunny Starscout
- tick, tick... BOOM! (2021) as Karessa Johnson
- Entergalactic (2022) as Karina
- Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas (TBA)
- V (2006)
- Identified (2008)
Tropes that apply to her work and career:
- Billing Displacement: Thanks to Retroactive Recognition, newer editions of Thunderbirds have her front and centre even though Tin-Tin isn't a lead.
- Brownface: She's given skin that's a bit browner than her natural colour to play Tintin in Thunderbirds.
- Cast the Runner-Up: She auditioned for the role of Lovable Alpha Bitch Charlotte in Bandslam and was instead cast as the Cool Loser Sa5m.
- Contractual Purity:
- Encountered it while she was still with Disney. There was a scandal involving nude photos of her that got leaked - never mind that they were private. Nonetheless she wasn't dropped from the third High School Musical movie, despite speculation. She said the scandal affected her career in an odd way; she's been asked to do nudity since and when she's declined, people would express surprise since "you've already done it".
- The scandal may not have helped her break out of it, but as soon as she left Disney she opted for darker and more sexual roles in Sucker Punch and Spring Breakers.
- Creator Backlash: She allegedly despised the sex scene with James Franco in Spring Breakers so much, she told her agent she'd rather kiss another woman than lock lips with him again.
- Dawson Casting:
- She played pregnant teenager Apple in Gimme Shelter; she was 22 during production.
- She was in her twenties playing the high schooler Lindy in Beastly.
- Dyeing for Your Art:
- Chopped off her own hair on screen for a scene in the film Gimme Shelter. For continuity reasons she had to keep it in its haphazard cut for the rest of filming.
- Endured severe weight and weapons training for Sucker Punch that she found especially tough.
- Averted for Spring Breakers as she just wore a wig.
- Enforced Method Acting:
- Fake Nationality: As Indian Tin-Tin, Mexican-American Gabriella, Italian-American Rizzo, and on Broadway, French Gigi. She's of Caucasian, Filipino and Native American ancestry in reality.
- Playing Against Type:
- Real-Life Relative: Her mother Gina has a cameo in Gimme Shelter.
- Reality Subtext: Blondie's breakdown in Sucker Punch paralleled Vanessa's own Creator Breakdown at how tough the preparation for it was.
- Romance on the Set: Famously with Zac Efron. They split up in 2010.
- Talent Double: Although she did learn to play guitar for Bandslam, the actual music is dubbed by Jason Mozersky.
- Those Two Actors: She's starred with Ashley Tisdale and Monique Coleman in the High School Musical franchise as well as The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
- What Could Have Been: Before getting signed by Disney, she had planned to audition for American Idol.