Did Vanessa Hudgens' Nude Photos Help Her Career?

The actress calls the scandal her "worst moment," but it may have aided in shedding her Disney image

Vanessa Hudgens is a good girl no longer. After moving past her High School Musical days and splitting with her High School Musical boyfriend, the 24-year-old actress is finally able to venture into darker roles. Her newest movie, Spring Breakers, is the culmination of that, with her character snorting cocaine and participating in three-ways alongside costars Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson.

Surprisingly, it was what Hudgens calls the "worst moment of my career" that arguably helped break her out of the Disney princess mold. Hudgens became one of many victims of a nude photo scandal when her intimate photos spread on the Internet in 2007.

"That was just a really s---ty situation that sucked," she tells Paper magazine. "That was by far the worst moment of my career."

But even she admits that it helped her shed her squeaky-clean image. "It's always been hard for actors to cross that bridge but honestly, you have to hold out and do what you think is right for yourself. I also think it is about finding someone who truly believes in you," she says of Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine. "Harmony took a really big jump in hiring me and Selena and Ashley."

Hudgens' venture in Spring Breakers is just the first of her edgier roles. She stars as a pregnant teenager from an abusive home in Gimme Shelter, while up next she'll play a drug addict and prostitute in Scott Walker's thriller The Frozen Ground. Photos of her sexy strip tease have already hit the Internet, and she admits that she's excited to try something so challenging.

"Ever since I was young, I wanted to play really heavy and intense roles and really push myself in a dramatic direction," Hudgens says. "So I was like, 'A prostitute! I can play a prostitute! This is going to be exciting.'"

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