Vanessa Hudgens doing ‘everything’ to prove she’s proud to be Filipino
Despite being raised in an “extremely American” environment, Vanessa Hudgens maintained that she’s “doing everything” to let people know that she’s “proud to be a Filipino.”
Hudgens was met with criticism after she was appointed by the Marcos government as the global tourism ambassador of the Philippines last March, with some noting that other personalities like Hawaii-based influencer Bretman Rock should’ve been given the title.
Months after her visit in the Philippines, the singer-actress addressed critics in an interview with American women’s magazine Allure last Sept. 14, where she pointed out that “doing everything I can to let people know I’m Filipino because I am proud.”
“Yes, I had rice with every meal, but I didn’t necessarily feel like I was super separated from the other kids in school, just because my upbringing was so extremely American,” she said, adding that her mother “hadn’t returned to the Philippines” until a family member died in 2019.
Hudgens also recalled a time where she was “automatically assumed” to be Latina, due to her role as Gabriella Montez in the hit film series “High School Musical.”
“Everyone automatically assumed that I was Latina, and most people still do. And when I tell them I’m Filipino, they’re like, ‘What?!’ You haven’t met my mother,” she said. “I think that I’m quite ambiguous so people don’t really know. But I am doing everything that I can to let people know because I am proud.”
During the interview, the “Beastly” star said her stay in the Philippines was a “beautiful experience” as it helped her to get in touch with her heritage.
“I feel like I didn’t meet a single person that felt like they were having a bad day, everyone was just like, so happy… it felt so empowering to know where you’re from, and be able to represent your heritage,” she said.
Hudgens also expressed her delight over the increase of Filipino representation in the U.S., while citing Broadway star Lea Salonga and singer Olivia Rodrigo.
“The most incredible thing is when I have these girls come up to me, and they’re like, ‘you were the first person that I saw that looks like me on TV.’ I want to cry. It’s just really beautiful to be able to be an identifying person that helps allow others to feel seen,” she said.
Aside from receiving the global tourism ambassador title, Hudgens was also in the Philippines to film a travel documentary set in Manila and Palawan. EDV