Ashley Tisdale is having a moment. Her “High School Musical” days now long behind her, the 29-year-old actress is engaged, slated to star in a TBS series from the creators of “Will & Grace,” and producing her very own ABC Family series, “Young & Hungry.” And while “Hungry” stars “Hannah Montana” alum Emily Osment instead of Tisdale herself, the actress formerly known as Sharpay will be making a huge guest appearance in the July 9 episode — as a gay character, named Logan.
“I’ve been trying over the past couple of years to push myself out of my comfort zone and play characters that people wouldn’t think of me for,” Tisdale told MTV News over the phone. “It’s awesome, when you produce a show you get to come up with those characters. So when ABC Family asked me to do an episode, I was like, ’Oh, for sure.’ There was no question about it.”
Of course, the reason that people wouldn’t necessarily think of Tisdale for the role is because Logan is a lesbian — a lesbian who kisses Osment’s character Gabi, who is straight — and Tisdale has never taken on an LGBT role like this before. But according to the actress, having her old Disney channel friend as her kissing costar made things a whole lot easier, and not only because she’s attractive.
“[Emily] is obviously really cute,” Tisdale said with a laugh. “She was great, and we had a lot of fun playing the characters and doing what we did together.”
Still, Tisdale didn’t hesitate to admit that she felt the pressure to pull the whole thing off.
“From the beginning, I’ve been part of every aspect of Logan,” she explained. “Although, when you talk about it and then it comes, you’re like, ’Oh, I hope I’m good at this.’ [Laughs] I’ve never done this before. So hopefully I pulled it off.”
The pulling it off part remains to be seen (we’re optimistic), but Tisdale did have a major bonus in that she got to cast both of her love interests on the show.
“Obviously, I’m part of the casting all of the time, but there’s a girlfriend of mine in the show,” Tisdale continued. “[Producers were] like, ’Who would be someone you’d want as your girlfriend?’ And I remembered Jessica Lowndes on ’90210.’ When I saw ’90210’ for the first time, I was like, ’Oh my god, that girl is so pretty!’ Then I saw her at a Nylon [magazine] event, and I walked up to her and was like, ’I just want you to know you’re super beautiful’… I think she knew that. [Laughs] She’s going to think I’m really weird, because a couple of years ago I said that, and then I cast her as my love interest.”
Lowndes is undoubtedly beautiful, but hearing about Tisdale’s casting prowess — she just booked yet another Disney star, Jesse McCartney, for “Hungry” — had us seriously hankering for a “High School Musical” reunion. And while Tisdale told us she hasn’t made any plans for an East High collaboration yet, we still shouldn’t rule it out.
“[Casting is] usually character by character,” she explained. “We didn’t think about casting Jesse until there was that character. And I’ve known Emily for a long time and I’ve auditioned with her, and I just think she is Gabi. She was perfect, and she’s so talented. But if there’s a character that calls for another Disney star, then for sure!”
Zac Efron, are you listening?