Vanessa Hudgens Jokes 'High School Musical' Will Never Die Thanks to Fans (Exclusive)

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Vanessa Hudgens will always be synonymous with High School Musical. It's been nearly 15 years since the sequel hit theaters and still fans can't stop singing some of the film's best hits, and the 33-year-old's reminded it of that every day.

Hudgens spoke to ET's Lauren Zima ahead of her hosting gig at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards and she revealed being blown away how time has flown by since High School Musical 2 premiered in August 2007. Hudgens, who played the lovable Gabriella Montez, said that part of her life feels like a lifetime ago but there's a new generation keeping that part of her life vividly alive.

"The fact is kids are still watching it," Hudgens tells ET. "Kids are still being introduced to it. I just saw 'Gotta Go My Own Way' is trending on TikTok." As she finished that sentence, Hudgens looked into the camera and said, "It never dies, thanks to you guys!"

"Gotta Go On My Own" is her collaboration with Zac Efron for the sequel. All joking aside, Hudgens understands the significance of the franchise for the younger generation. And she understands because the 1961 classic West Side Story proved instrumental in shaping her life and, ultimately, her career.

"The fact is I would not have been into musical theater if it wasn't for Natalie Wood in West Side Story," she explained. "She will always be Maria to me. It was because of those films that really ignited my love for the arts. I feel like High School Musical has done that for the new generation. So, if that's something that I received from Natalie Wood I'm more than happy to pass it along to the kids."

It's hard to believe Hudgens almost never played Montez, but she's since made an impression on Hollywood that goes beyond her singing and acting roles. She's also mastered the role of playing host, from her recent gig at this year's Oscars to the Met Gala. Hudgens will play host again when the MTV Movie & TV Awards air on Sunday, June 5, and she offered ET a bit of what to expect. 

For starters, there's a new award this year that's in the realm of Best Kiss. It'll be steamy, to say the least. There's also the possibility that Snoop Dogg may or may not join as her special DJ.

Hudgens also confirmed her boyfriend, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, won't be in attendance (hey, it's baseball season!) at the show but she added he'll be watching on TV.   


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