Why Vanessa Hudgens Hopes To Tell Her Parents' Immigrant Story On Screen One Day

Vanessa Hudgens in Tick Tick Boom
(Image credit: Netflix )

Since Vanessa Hudgens’ beginnings in High School Musical at 18, the actress and singer feels that she’s lived “many lives” in the world of Hollywood. Having broken free of Disney Channel over a decade ago, she has found herself in many pockets of the industry, between continuing to flex her musical theatre roots in projects such as Rent and Grease Live!, Tick, Tick… Boom!, her role in the Princess Switch movies and so forth. As it turns out, as Hudgens gets older, she would like to get personal in the future by adapting her parents’ experiences to film. 

Vanessa Hudgens has hopes to tell her mother’s immigrant story, as she recently told Glamour Magazine. The actress may be a California native, but her mother, Gina, immigrated to the United States at the age of 25. As she shared:  

My mom is from the Philippines, and growing up there weren’t really that many women who looked like me and my mom and my family on screen. It’s so important to share all the different stories because America is a massive melting pot, [just like the] world. There are so many different stories that need to be told so that we are exposed to them and can have more empathy towards different people.

Vanessa Hudgens said that she hopes her mom will write a book about her experiences that she can then adapt to film. As the actress pointed out, there are not a lot of movies being made about her particular experience, yet it would be relatable to so many people. Hudgens continued: 

As an immigrant, coming into the States and not knowing anyone, I can’t even imagine how difficult and challenging that is and what challenges she faced as a woman. And my father was a firefighter, so he was gone for a week and home for a week. I feel like that’s such a relatable story to so many women all over the world. The more that we can share, the more we can lift each other up.

In the past few years, Vanessa Hudgens has started to produce more, nabbing behind-the-scenes credits on her recent Netflix holiday films The Knight Before Christmas and the last two Princess Switch movies. The actress’ pitch is a great idea, because it would offer more representation to the Filipino-American community, which is estimated to be represented by over four million people in the United States. 

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Filipino-American movies are a rarity in Hollywood, and it would be an inspired decision on Vanessa Hudgens’ part to help bring one, especially considering she already has an established audience behind her. It’s also a great idea because Vanessa Hudgens’ mother is not a celebrity, she’s the mother of one. Her story of settling into the United States is likely quite relatable, as Hudgens stated, along with being grounded in this everyday American story. 

Hudgens’ father, Gregory Hudgens, sadly died of cancer in 2016 on the evening before Vanessa Hudgens performed Grease Live!. He was reportedly of Irish, French and Native American descent. It would be interesting to see how her parents met and navigated their lives raising Vanessa and her younger sister Stella as they grew up across California and Oregon. Hopefully, she can truly tell this story one day. Until that moment comes, you can check out Hudgens in her latest projects, Princess Switch 3: Romancing The Star and Tick, Tick… Boom, both now streaming on Netflix.  

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.