Vanessa Hudgens has a knack for playing strong women. In the Sunday, January 27, live production of Rent, the actress is set to portray Maureen Johnson, an outspoken artist who – after breaking up with Mark – begins dating the very conservative Joanne. This is the second live special for Hudgens, 30, who portrayed Rizzo in 2016’s Grease.
“I think that they are both strong, independent women who tend to put on a face in the fear of vulnerability, but they are very, very different women at very different times,” the High School Musical star told Us Weekly and other reporters during a recent press junket. “They are both very strong; they are just who they are, which also inspires me to live that way in my own personal life. They are both forward thinking.”
Living life her way includes appearing in as many musicals as possible, too! “It’s my favorite thing to do. I told myself this year, ‘If I do a musical a year then I consider my career a success,’” she revealed. “It’s my happy place. It’s where I feel the most at home, the most free, the most creative. I just love it.”
The Princess Switch star, who landed the title role in the Broadway musical Gigi in 2015, finds herself relating to Maureen a bit, too.
“Maureen loves being the center of attention and I found myself through doing musical theater, through being on the stage through being the center of attention. I’m not gonna lie, I still love it to this day,” she admitted. “So she definitely lives a bit loud and extravagant. … I definitely have my reserved moments, but I feel like I’m thriving the most when I am in that lane.”
While Hudgens, who’s been dating Austin Butler since 2011, says she thinks she’s “a bit more decisive about my relationships than she is,” the singer’s aware that others can relate to Joanne and Maureen’s on-off relationship: “I myself am not one of those people, so I don’t, but she’s just a fun one to play because she is very decisive in each moment, but her choice is constantly changing.”
Rent Live airs on Fox Sunday, January 25, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Carly Sloane
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