Vanessa Hudgens Racks Up The Racy Roles

We’ve already heard tons from Selena Gomez about her uncharacteristically adult role in “Spring Breakers,” but let’s not forget that this gritty indie drama about criminal college co-eds features another Disney girl gone wild: Vanessa Hudgens went bad-ass and blonde for her turn as one of the fearsome foursome in this film, and she’s talking all about it in this spring’s issue of Paper mag, where she sported some boundary-pushing looks that firmly establish her as a girl unafraid of risky business.

Those hoping for a glimpse of the Vanessa of old won’t find her in these pages; sporting vampy lipstick and a Joan Jett-esque hairstyle, the actress looks much more rock-n-roll than “High School Musical.” And in her interview, she said that making the transition to less-wholesome roles after her family friendly beginnings has been a long time coming.

“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,” she explained. And according to Vanessa, the director of “Spring Breakers” deserves just as much credit for giving her a chance to spread her wings as she does for wanting to fly: “But I also think it is about finding someone who truly believes in you. Harmony [Korine] took a really big jump in hiring me and [co-stars] Selena [Gomez] and Ashley [Benson].”

But now that she’s on this track, Vanessa says she’s not stopping; after all, this is what she’s always wanted. And her next role, as a homeless teen and sex worker in “Gimme Shelter,” was just what she was looking for.

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

It’s also a job that required more than just acting chops; Vanessa had to gain a substantial amount of weight, cut her hair, and cultivate a general griminess that left her feeling not-quite-herself by the end of filming. But while she’s willing to do anything and everything in service of a role, you’ll still be able to see Vanessa’s girly-girlishness on display when she’s not in character. She might be deadly serious when she’s on the job, but off-screen, she confesses: “I need my nails and my hair.”

Are you excited to see what’s next for Vanessa?