During an interview with The Guardian, Hudgens reflected on her role in “High School Musical” and her sudden rise to fame in the mid-2000s. According to her, “‘High School Musical’ was a fantastic journey, but it completely derailed me from where I originally saw my career.” She explained, “I’ve always wanted to be the independent girl; I’ve always wanted to be in movies where I play a drug addict or a stripper or a prostitute. That was my goal since I was, like, , 11 years old.”
Instead, Hudgens first made a name for herself in the Hollywood industry as the soft-spoken, shy Gabriella Montez. Whereas work for disney, the actress notably had to look into her family image at the risk of damaging her reputation. In 2007, she received backlash and criticism after nude photos of her were posted without her consent. At the time, Hudgens was forced to issue an apology. By talking to yahoo in 2020, she shared that the whole experience was “really traumatic”.
Ultimately, Hudgens moved forward to create a career for herself on her own terms. Not only did she subvert expectations with her role in 2012’s indie hit “Spring Breakers,” but she also returned to acting in 2016, receiving accolades for her performance as Rizzo in “Grease: Live. Currently, she’s established herself as the rom-com lead in Netflix’s ‘The Princess Switch’ franchise. While Hudgens may have reservations about her professional background, she’s certainly proven herself in Hollywood.