It could have been just a dream back then but on the 14th of December 1988, a star was born. Greg and Gina Hudgens named the their first child Vanessa Anne, which 16 years after will be the name everyone will be saying around the world. Sister to Stella Hudgens, Vanessa was born in Salinas Californa – a true “Cali Girl” but is also of half-and-half nationality. She’s half Irish-Native American from her dad and half Filipina from her mom who was from Cebu but also has Spanish and Chinese blood flowing through her veins.
Since eighth grade, Vanessa’s mom started home schooling her and her sister as they kept moving around the country and later settled in California. Although she claims to not have experienced the high school drama, Mrs. Hudgens surely did not lack giving knowledge. Little did she know, later in her life, Vanessa will be experiencing the high school life she missed in reality.
Ever since she was really young, Vanessa has been a true performer as she started performing in various musical theaters and local productions when she was eight. A production of The Wizard of Oz was her first professional acting job playing the role of a munchkin. When asked about it in an interview for the character profile in the Road to High School Musical in 2007, she proudly said “I have to start somewhere.” Evita, Carousel, The King and I, The Music Man, Cinderella and Damn Yankees were among the other local productions she appeared in. Stepping in for a friend who couldn’t make to an audition got Vanessa her first gig.
Vanessa began her television appeareances by guest starring in television shows Quintuplets, Still Standing, Cover Me, Robbery Homicide Division and Brothers Garcia and in 2003, Vanessa appeared in the independent film Thirteen starring Evan Rachel Wood as Tracy and Nikki Reed as Evie playing Tracy’s former best friend Noel. Later in 2004, Vanessa landed the role of TinTin in Thunderbirds alongside Brady Corbet, who was also in Thirteen, as Alan Tracy, Soren Fulton as Fermat, Bill Paxton as Jeff Tracy and Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope.
In 2005, Disney wrote a musical made-for-television movie that later became a world phenomenon – High School Musical. The tv-movie was Vanessa’s first starring role playing the shy silent freaky genius girl, Gabriella Montez with then-rising star Zac Efron as basketball star Troy Bolton and Disney Channel’s Ashley Tisdale as drama queen Sharpay Evans. Joining in the six major cast were Monique Coleman as Taylor McKessie, Corbin Bleu as Chad Danforth and Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans. In January 20, 2006, High School Musical called out to millions of kids, teens, young adults and young at hearts and became a world wide phenomenon, which brought Vanessa Hudgens’s name to fame. She had been interviewed in various talk shows and live shows including NBC’s The Today Show in New York City. She had also began travelling the world promoting the movie in UK and Australia with the rest of the major cast.
She later appeared in two episodes of Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh as Drake’s (played by Drake Parker) girlfriend, Penny, which aired February 4, 2006 (Alien Invasion) and March 18, 2006 (Little Sibling). She also appeared in Disney’s The Suite Life of Zac and Cody in four episodes as London Tipton’s (Brenda Song) fan and classmate, Corrie, including Kept Man which originally aired on May 19, 2006, Neither a Borrower Nor a Speller Bee on April 14, 2006, Not So Suite 16 on March 24, 2006 and Forever Plaid on March 20, 2006.
Being such a huge hit, High School Musical made a sequel following Troy and Gabriella throughout summer in the second made-for-tv movie High School Musical 2 with all the cast and director Kenny Ortega returning. The movie hit over millions of viewers when it aired in Disney Channel on August 17 making it one of the most-watched movies in cable tv in America.
The year after, in October 24, 2008, the senior year story of the characters of High School Musical was put on featured length film as High School Musical 3: Senior Year hit the American theaters. Early releases were made in Europe and was later followed in the other parts of the world including Australia, Mexico and more. This movie had been the trilogy’s farewell to the original cast but also the welcome to three new characters played by Jemma McKenzie Brown as Tiara, Matt Prokop as Jimmie ‘The Rocket’ Zara, and Justin Martin as Donny Dion who was said to be continuing the franchise started.
Sometime in early 2008, Vanessa Hudgens was cast to play outsider Sa5m in Summit Entertainment’s Bandslam, which was formally known as Will and Rock On. Joining her in the cast list Gaelan Connel as Will Burton, co-Disney Star Alyson Michalka as Charlotte Barnes and Friends’s Lisa Kudrow as Karen Burton. Set in Utah and New York, the movie will rock the theaters on August 14, 2009.
On April 2009, news surfaced the internet confirming Vanessa’s casting on the first film project of CBS Films playing the role of Lindy in the movie “Beastly”. It is the movie adaption of the book written by Alex Flinn which retells the story of Beauty and The Beast in modern times. The story is set in New York which will be filmed mostly in Montreal starting early June 2009. Together with Alex Pettyfer and Mary-Kate Olsen, the movie is expected to be seen in 2010.
At the same time, Vanessa was confirmed to join the casting of Zack Snyder’s next project after Watchmen called “Sucker Punch”, which he describes as Alice in Wonderland with machine guns. It’s an all girl cast sharing the big screen with Emily Browning and three other girls. It is expected to see the story of a girl admitted to a mental hospital by her father and is imagining ways to get out in theaters in 2011.
The success of High School Musical brought Vanessa’s fame further to the music industry making her the first of the six original cast of the movie to have an album. V was released eight months after the movie was released on the 26th of September under Hollywood Records including hit songs Come Back To Me and Say OK.
The music video for Come Back To Me was released on August 25, 2007 featuring Vanessa’s sister and friends and pet dog Shadow. It was then followed by Say OK, which was released in two versions. The first version was released on January 12 to feature Vanessa singing the single and behind the scene footages in the High School Musical Concert held in various states of America. The official Say OK music video was released on March 16, 2007 featuring co-star Zac Efron and some of her friends.
After yet another success, Vanessa released her second album on July 1, 2008 which includes the hit single Sneakernight, which premiere on April 11, 2008 in Radio Disney. Sometime in September, the music video for the single was released on June 4, 2004 featuring HSM Back-up dancers and Red Ecko Sneakers.
More music videos for singles will hopefully follow Sneakernight, which was said to be either Identified or Amazed – featuring Lil Mama.
After the success of High School Musical, Vanessa accompanied the Cheetah Girls in 20 dates of their state tour on September 2006 as their opening act singing songs from her first album. It was then followed by her appearance in High School Musical: The Concert with the cast of High School Musical plus Drew Seeley on November 30, 2006 – May 29, 2007. On July 31, 2008, Vanessa launched her solo mini-concert called “Identified Summer State Tour” hitting the road across the country to sing her songs live and promote her new album. The tour included the Neutrogena Fresh Face Concert on September 7 in Los Angeles and was closed on October 2008.
Vanessa not only landed movie roles and albums, she has also been signed to endorse footwears, clothes and facial cares. She became the spokesperson of Neutrogena sometime in 2007 along with fellow celebrity Hayden Panettiere of the Heroes and did various commercials for the brand’s new products including Neutrogena Wave and Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash.
She has also signed a deal with Ecko Red footwear in 2007 where she did various commercials for the brand. Her music video of Sneakernight also endorsed sneakers from the said brand. And later in 2008, she became the face of Ecko, which not only did she make endorsements for footwear but as well as clothes.
In June 2008, Sears teamed up with Vanessa to promote their back-to-school campaign which began in July and appeared in various magazines and a five-part musical commercial with the theme: Don’t just go back, Arrive.
Personal Life »
Their characters might have portrayed rivals in the hit movie series but Vanessa and Ashley Tisdale are not in real life. Vanessa met Ashley a year before filming of High School Musical started and had become best friends. However, this reality is far different from her relationship with Zac Efron. Playing lovebirds Troy and Gabriella in the same movie, Vanessa confirmed in the October 2007 issue of Teen Magazine that she was dating Zac Efron and had been since the filming of High School Musical as is still going strong after 3 years.
She had been ranked as FHM’s 62nd Sexiest Woman and Maxim’s 12th in their 100 Hot List. She was included in People annual 100 Most Beautiful People list, 20 in Forbes magazine 2008 high earners under 30 and 7th at the ten best dressed list. Her latest achievement was Maxim’s Sexiest of 2009 list.
September 6, 2007 had played a cruel trick not only in Vanessa’s career but as well as her personal life. The internet had surfaced suggestive lingerie and nude photos of Vanessa. The photos wer only meant to be private but had been unfortunately been taken outside the privacy line. Vanessa later apologized to her fans saying she was “embarrassed over the situation” and regretted having taken the photos. This caused rumors that Vanessa will no longer play Gabriella Montez in the sequel of High School Musical, which turned out to be totally untrue and is an old rumor according to Disney Channel.
Vanessa has also been sued by her music producer Johnny Vieira, who claimed she made a deal to share her earnings with him after he helped make her a star. He said that he was dumped from Vanessa’s management team soon after she was cast in High School Musical but “it became clear that Hudgens and her new ‘team’ – all directed by her father – would take every possible opportunity to deprive Vieira of the benefits to be derived from the settlement agreement”, says in the lawsuit. And according to the suit, they subsequently reached a settlement under which Hudgens agreed to pay Vieira a percentage of her earnings from her first three albums under her solo recording contract with Hollywood Records.
Note: This biography was edited on June 14, 2009 by Auie for Vanessa-Hudgens.Org. A credit to the author is a must if you wish to copy the biography.