Smash Hit High School Musical Makes Hudgens An American Houshold Name
The record-breaking success of Disney’s High School Musical in 2006 quickly turned co-star Vanessa Hudgens into a North American household name. Born on December 14, 1988, Hudgens was groomed for stardom from a young age, appearing in her first musical when she was just eight years old. After successfully auditioning for a commercial, her family packed up and moved from their home in Salinas, CA to Los Angeles so that the aspiring young star could pursue her acting career. As with many child prodigies Hudgens opted for home schooling, leaving Orange County High School of the Arts after finishing the 7th grade.
Hudgens’ acting career includes TV, commercials, and the movies. Her feature debut on the big screen was her role as the character Noel in Thirteen. In 2004, she played Tintin in the Thunderbirds movie. Hudgens had small roles in TV shows such as Quintuplets, Still Standing, and The Brothers Garcia. In 2005, she landed a role in a swimsuit commercial for the clothing retail giant Old Navy.
Her largest role by far, however, was as Gabriella in High School Musical in 2006, for which she, along with co-star Zac Efron, received the Teen Choice “Best Chemistry” award. The Disney TV movie propelled Hudgens to stardom and opened up new doors for the actress. She played the teenage daughter in a Blockbuster commercial and signed a contract to become Neutrogena’s face for 2007. She also became an endorser of Ecko clothing and sneakers and was offered a multiple-commercial job with Old Navy.
The popularity of the movie also led to Hudgens’ debut album ‘V’. Released in September of 2006, six months after the movie first aired on TV, big hits from the album include ‘Come Back To Me’, ‘Say OK’, ‘Let Go’, and ‘Let’s Dance’. Since the release of High School Musical 2 in August of 2007, Hudgens has been offered several roles, including Prom Night, but decided to turn them down to focus on her music career. In all, High School Musical produced a chart-topping soundtrack, a worldwide concert tour, a Walt Disney World show, and a book series, propelling Hudgens to #7 for top-earning stars under 21 according to Forbes magazine, who listed her earnings at some $2 million.
The quick rise to fame also led to a photo scandal for Hudgens. After nude pictures of the actress appeared on the internet in September of 2007, her publicist told the media that the photos were taken in private, and Hudgens stated that she was “embarrassed over the situation” and regretted taking the pictures. Disney, for its part, has confirmed that it wishes to continue working with the actress.
Whether on the screen or on the airways, you can be sure that this girl will be around for long time.
Justin Stanitis is a freelance writer specializing in entertainment and travel writing. Download High School Musical Ringtones.