Vanessa HudgensVer no iTunes
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Best known as Gabrielle Montez from the hit Disney Channel movie and soundtrack album High School Musical, actress/singer Vanessa Anne Hudgens has also appeared on Drake & Josh and The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody. Born in Salinas, CA, and raised in San Diego, Hudgens began performing at an early age, appearing in musicals starting at age eight, and moved to Los Angeles after winning an audition for a commercial. After moving to England to study drama and music at Kingsbrook Business and Enterprise College, she returned to L.A. and scored roles on shows such as Quintuplets, Cover Me, and Still Standing, as well as films like Thirteen and Thunderbirds. After the 2006 phenomenon High School Musical — which included the best-selling soundtrack and several Teen Choice Awards — Hudgens was offered a recording deal, and began working on her album that summer. Simply named V, the album came out that fall, just as Hudgens began working on the High School Musical sequel. She also toured with fellow Disney sensations the Cheetah Girls that fall and winter. In August 2007, Hudgens won the Choice Breakout Singer — Female award at that year's Teen Choice Awards. That month, High School Musical 2 and its soundtrack were released; a few weeks later, some of Hudgens' personal photos, including one of her nude, leaked onto the Internet. During the ensuing controversy, it was unsure whether or not she would be back for the third High School Musical installment, but Disney kept her in the franchise. Her second pop album, Identified, arrived in summer 2008, and High School Musical 3: Senior Year appeared that fall.