Happy Birthday To Vanessa Hudgens! 5 Reasons This Year Will Be Her Best Yet!

by Emily Laurence

Our little Gabriella is all grown up! Vanessa Hudgens is 23 today, and we brainstormed a lot of ways to celebrate. We thought about turning our fave Zac Efron poster into a dartboard (but, c'mon, he's just too pretty to deface). We contemplated hosting a "High School Musical" sing-off. We even considered attempting to escape an insane asylum with our lingerie-clad friends. But birthdays aren’t about dwelling on the past. They’re about looking ahead, so we’re celebrating Vanessa’s big 2-3 by listing the top reasons why this year is going to be her best yet.

1. She’s scoring edgier acting roles. As a 22-year-old, Vanessa brought us such gems as “Sucker Punch” and “Beastly." But this year, she’ll star in “Gimme Shelter,” a movie about a pregnant teen whose family shuns her, leaving her homeless.

2. Her boyfriend won't steal the spotlight. For years, Vanessa got to run her fingers through Zac’s shiny locks, but dating him had a downside. Every interview and article about her always made references to Zac (including this one—sorry, V!). Now that she’s casually dating Austin Butler, everything is about her and not the dude on her arm.

3. As a style star, she’s only beginning to shine. As she gets older, Vanessa knows what looks good on her and the girl can werk it. She already has an endorsement deal with Candie’s, but since she has a penchant for rocking Cavalli on the red carpet, we predict higher-end labels will come calling too.

4. She’s spending Spring Break with James Franco. Yep. This year, Vanessa will start filming “Spring Breakers,” playing a college girl on vacay who ends up in jail. The movie also stars James and her friends Selena Gomez and Emma Roberts. Trapped on an island filming with a hot guy and your best gal pals? Hey V, wanna switch lives?

5. Vanessa knows how to live it up. If we know V—and we like to think we do!—she’s already celebrating being 23. Last year, Vanessa kicked off 22 by throwing a huge party for herself in Las Vegas. We expect nothing less from Vanessa than a fab treat yo self attitude all year long.

Happy 23rd birthday, Vanessa!

Do you think 23 will be a bang-up year for VHud? Leave your well wishes in the comments below!