By the pop-culture powers vested in us, we’re crowning Vanessa Hudgens the new queen of the rom-com. You probably first got to know her as Gabriella in the High School Musical trilogy, but Hudgens has since transformed her career with a wild turn in Spring Breakers, an action-packed, blood-soaked role in Machete Kills, and the star of non-high-school musicals Grease and RENT. But it’s her recent turns in rom-coms that seem to have connected the most with fans, and for good reason. She held her own against Jennifer Lopez in last year’s Second Act. And her memorable turns in Netflix original movies The Princess Switch and The Knight Before Christmas, which premieres today, stand out from the usual dime-a-dozen holiday movies that flood the market this time of year.
Both movies have also allowed Hudgens to show a balance humor, heart, empathy, and chemistry with her co-stars that keeps even the most far-fetched plot-lines and twists captivating. The Princess Switch proved to be so popular, in fact, that a sequel is in the works, with Hudgens on board as a producer. Movies like these are often written off as fluff, but Hudgens is here to change that. She says she’s not looking to reinvent the wheel—just elevate it, and have fun in the process.
Below, we talk with Hudgens about that, how she feels about her legacy being split between her High School Musical past and Netflix rom-com present, and more. Read on.
Glamour: We’ve crowned you the new queen of the Christmas romantic comedy, and—
Vanessa Hudgens: [Cheers] I love that! Thank you. What an honor.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank Netflix for making us all believe in the magic of the Christmas spirit and J.Lo for being such a staple in my romantic comedy viewing experience.
Did you get any advice from her during Second Act that you applied to your rom-coms?
She’s just her. She lives behind the camera and in front of it honestly and truthfully. I think that’s what so captivating about her. Just spending time with her as an individual and seeing the way that she lives her life was really wonderful and educational.
What’s your favorite J.Lo rom-com and your favorite scene?
The Wedding Planner. My mind instantly goes to her and Matthew McConaughey sitting on a log and then they danced because there’s music and it’s sad music and it’s really beautiful.