Vanessa Hudgens is proud to be a Filipino, and she would like everyone to know it.
In a recent interview with American women’s magazine Allure, the Filipino-American actress said she is doing everything she can to let people know of her Filipino heritage because she is “proud” of it.
This was following the mixed reactions Vanessa received after she was appointed the Philippines’ Global Tourism Ambassador by the Malacañang earlier on March 2023.
The appointment coincided with her visit to the Philippines—her first—with Filipino mother Gina Guangco.
Many Filipinos praised Vanessa for representing the Philippines globally, given her popularity and wide reach as a Hollywood actress.
But others pointed out that there are other international personalities who would be “better” at promoting the country as Vanessa as not been to the Philippines prior her appointment.
In the Allure interview, Vanessa admitted that she was raised “super, super American,” adding that her mother did not speak a lot of Tagalog at home.
However, Vanessa said that it was “later in life” when she felt she was “missing a piece” of piece due to her lack of connection to her Filipino roots.
She acknowledges that people assumed she was Latina due to her role as Gabriella Montez, a character of Hispanic descent in the “High School Musical” film franchise.
“[My] character is Gabriella Montez, so 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. I think that I’m quite ambiguous so people don’t really know,” she said.
Vanessa added: “But I am doing everything that I can to let people know because I am proud.”
She also said that it is “so empowering to know where you’re from, and be able to represent your heritage.”
Vanessa said that she is grateful that there is now more Filipino representation in the US including Broadway star Lea Salonga and singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo.
She told Allure: “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.”
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