Vanessa Hudgens: Nude Photo Scandal Still Haunts Me

 Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

If Vanessa Hudgens had her way, the past would stay in the past.

After a third set of nude photos taken in 2007 surfaced online just last month, the 22-year-old actress opened up to The L.A. Times about the effect it's had on her career.

"It's just silly because I'm a very present person, and that's so in the past," Hudgens said. "The fact that somebody keeps bringing up the past is just selfish. I mean, it sucks. I already released a statement the first time it happened. It's just unfortunate that it keeps reminding people about the past and not the present."

Despite the unauthorized release of the photos, the Sucker Punch actress said she isn't afraid to flaunt her figure in risque costumes on film.

"A woman's body is a beautiful thing," she reasoned. "There's no reason why we shouldn't, like, be our best in our costumes."

The actress — who split with Zac Efron, 23, in December 2010 — credits The Four Agreements, a self-help book penned by a New Age spiritualist, for helping her overcome the scandal.

"It has honestly changed me, almost," Hudgens said. "You really have to stay strong, because times get tough. Especially in this business. It's a dog-eat-dog world. There's so many amazing actresses who got taken advantage of."

"A lot of women get walked all over on by not standing up for themselves, and that's just not what I'm about," she continued. "I'm figuring myself out now as a young adult more than I ever have. It's like my eyes are opening and I'm awakening to controlling my future."

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