“Growing up there weren’t really that many women who looked like me and my mom and my family on screen,” said Hudgens.
Ever since bursting into the scene by belting high notes as Gabriella in High School Musical to bringing down the house as Karessa Johnson in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Tick, Tick… Boom!, Vanessa Hudgens has been singing songs penned by other people on screen. Her theater roots run deep, that much has been put on vivid display, but the Rent and Grease songstress has yet to tell one story: her family’s.
In a recent interview with Glamour Magazine, Hudgens disclosed her desire to one day tell her immigrant mother’s story on screen.
“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,” the Princess Switch star says. “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,” she added.
Hudgens’ mother immigrated to the United States at the age of 25, and didn’t return to the Philippines for 30 years. Hudgens herself hasn’t been to the Philippines yet. Nonetheless, she hopes that, through a book authored by her mother, she will be able to adapt the story of her mother’s journey into a movie.
“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,” she continued.
Buoyed by over four million people in the United States, the Filipino-American community remains one of the underrepresented groups in Hollywood today. This, despite having top stars of Filipino descent such as Dave Bautista, Hailee Steinfeld, Shay Mitchell, Manny Jacinto, and Hudgens, among others.
Thus, should Hudgens vision become a reality, not only will it give Filipino-Americans the representation they rightly deserve, but it will also shed light on the struggles that immigrant citizens face today.
Until then, Hudgens will have her hands full putting word out about Tick, Tick… Boom! as well as her upcoming holiday movie, The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star, both coming from Netflix.
Art Daniella Sison