High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens as you've never seen her before
Once a squeeky-clean teen in Disney’s musicals, Vanessa Hudgens is keeping it real these days. She tells Tara Brady about her latest role as a drug-addicted prostitute pursued by a serial killer
“It was definitely overwhelming,” she nods. “The only thing that made it bearable was that I wasn’t alone. I had my cast mates to get me through it. We were all in a state of shock together. None of us could have anticipated it. It’s just not something that happens every day. Or ever. But together we had moments when we could just hang out and be kids -- in a group. It was a very well rounded way to grow up despite what you might think.”
The official Hudgens story – or the one, she points out, people like to project on her – tells off a girl unleashed from Disney Channel servitude to go wild with such maverick talents as Harmony Korine and Robert Rodriguez (director of Machete Kills). She flatly denies this is the case and is quick to defend her former employers at the House of Mouse.
“There was so much creativity involved in High School Musical. A bunch of it. Creating those characters. Dancing. Singing. Using your voice and your body. It was really expressive. There was a more to it than just acting.”
Was there any pressure – either from within or without – to behave like a Disney role model?
“Not at all. I am the way I am. I love doing what I do. I got to where I am being the person I am. My personal life is my personal life but there’s nothing I need to hide. I’m the person I seem to be. I believe in staying passionate. Be yourself. Strive for the best. I’m not ashamed of that. It’s an awesome thing to share with young kids. And I love kids. I love my young fans.”
Since Springbreakers has she noted a shift in her demographics?
“Definitely. I definitely have a new fan base. A guy in his thirties stopped me yesterday. He sees me on the street and he says ‘Vanessa Hudgens? That’s so funny. Me and my friend were just talking about you. You were great in Spring Breakers. Okay. Bye.’ And then he walked on.”
She laughs: “I’m used to kids running up and looking for a photo and an autograph. Now there’s a whole coolsville thing going on.”