Name: Vanessa Anne Hudgens
Profession: Actress, Singer
Birth Date: December 14, 1988
Height: 5' 1 ½"
Vanessa Anne Hudgens was born on December 14, 1988 in Salinas, Calif. Hudgens, who spent much of her childhood in San Diego, is of Irish and Native American descent on her father's side, and of Filipino and Chinese descent on her mother's side. Her younger sister, Stella Hudgens, is also an actress.
Hudgens began performing at the age of eight, appearing in several musicals over the years, including "Evita," "Carousel," "The Wizard of Oz," "The King & I," "The Music Man," "Cinderella," "Damn Yankees," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and "The Little Mermaid." She later moved to Los Angeles after winning an audition for a commercial, eventually scoring roles on such TV shows as "Still Standing," "Robbery Homicide Division" and "The Brothers Garcia."
Hudgens then made her feature film debut in 2003, starring as Noel in the critically-acclaimed "Thirteen."
In 2006, Hudgens' popularity would begin to soar, most notably when she was cast as Gabriella Montez in the Disney TV movie "High School Musical," which went on to become a huge success. In the same year, Hudgens also starred in "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," as Corrie, a classmate of Maddie and London. Hudgens also appeared on "Drake & Josh," playing Drake's girlfriend, Rebecca. Hudgens was only 16 at the time.
Buoyed by her massive "High School Musical" success, Hudgens decided the time was right to fulfill her lifelong dream of recording an album of her own. Her debut effort, entitled "V," was released in September 2006, peaking at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 album charts. A music video for her first single, "Come Back to Me," debuted after the world premiere of "The Cheetah Girls 2" in late August. The official music video for her second single, "Say OK," was first shown following the premiere of Disney's "Jump In!"
"Let Go" and "Let's Dance" would both eventually be used in commercials for ABC. "Let Go" for a "Desperate Housewives" commercial, and "Let's Dance" for "Dancing With the Stars." "Say OK" was also used in commercials for ABC Family's "Lincoln Heights."
As a result of the popularity of Disney's "High School Musical," Hudgens was offered a contract by Old Navy to appear in multiple commercials for the company. She had previously appeared in a swimwear commercial for the company in 2005. Hudgens also appeared in a Blockbuster commercial for no late fees.
The first "High School Musical" spawned a hit soundtrack, a worldwide concert tour, a show at Walt Disney World, and even a book series that helped Hudgens land in the top 10 list of Forbes magazine's top-earning stars under 21. On the list, the then 18-year-old Hudgens was No. 7 (tied with actress Hayden Panettiere) with estimated earnings of $2 million.
In 2007, Hudgens returned for "High School Musical 2." In addition, at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, Hudgens was named the Choice Breakout Singer — Female, beating out other noteworthy nominees, including "American Idol" contestant Katherine McPhee, Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae and Lily Allen, who all have a decidedly older sound with their music.