Vanessa Hudgens always thought she’d star in films where she’d play strippers and drug addicts.
The actress is currently starring in family-friendly comedy Dog Days alongside Eva Longoria, and though she has starred in edgier movies such as Spring Breakers and Machete Kills, many of her fans would consider her wholesome role as Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical franchise to be her most famous work. However, Vanessa admitted that when she first considered an acting career, she intended to play very different kinds of characters.
“High School Musical was a fantastic journey, but it completely derailed me from where I originally saw my career going,” she shared in an interview with the Guardian. “I always wanted to be the indie girl; I always wanted to be in the movies where I’m playing a drug addict or a stripper or a prostitute. That was my goal since I was like, 11.”
The 29-year-old added that she “got very comfortable with saying no” to teen friendly roles in a bid to move away from her High School Musical persona, and went on to play a prostitute in 2013 thriller The Frozen Ground alongside Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, while also stripped off for her role as Blondie in Sucker Punch. And with three more films in the pipeline, Vanessa now plans “to say yes and see what happens” in a day and age where opportunities for women are improving.
“For a long time, such a prominent thing was girls not supporting each other, backstabbing each other, trying to tear each other down,” she lamented. “One of the positive side-effects of the #MeToo movement and the burning spotlight on the need for more female directors, writers and roles, is that those girls have become a community of grown women.
“We’re being heard in a way we haven’t been heard in a long time and people gravitate towards that. It’s a very special time to be a woman.”