More than a decade since her scandalous nude photo leak, Vanessa Hudgens is calling it like it was: "really f$%ked up."
As fans may recall, back in September 2007, a nude photo of the former Disney star, then 18 years old, was leaked online, spurring headlines and humiliation for the young star.
"I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust mean the world to me," the High School Musical star said in a statement to E! News at the time. "I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends."
"Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment," network spokeswoman Patti McTeague commented 12 years ago. "We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."
While she bore the blame for the breach of privacy back then, Hudgens is not mincing words about that invasive scandal today.
"It was a really traumatizing thing for me. It's really f$&ked up that people feel like they are entitled enough to share something that personal with the world," she told Cosmopolitan UK. "As an actor, you completely lose all grip of your own privacy and it's really sad. It feels like that shouldn't be the case, but unfortunately if enough people are interested, they're going to do everything they can to get to know as much about you as they can, which is flattering, I guess, but then people take it too far and end up divulging things that should be personal."
Hudgens, who faced more leaks in the years since, continued, "I think that is because there's a disconnect when you see your favourite actress on the screen, and you see them now on your TV in your homes, and you can watch them whenever you want. There's almost—I don't want to say lack of respect because that sounds negative—but it just makes you feel like you know them even though you don't."
However, Hudgens, now 31 years old, is not afraid to confront mistreatment head-on.
"I have been talked to in ways that are not appropriate. I have been in situations where I've been talked to in inappropriate ways, but right then, in that moment, I was the person to just say, 'No. Why would you say that? You're completely out of line.' I'm the type of person in any situation, whether it's an audition or in work, if I feel uncomfortable, I'm going to walk away or let that person know they're making me feel uncomfortable," she told the magazine. "Then, if they don't respect that, they can go f off. If someone doesn't like that, literally they can f%@k off. As long as you hold your ground, no one will bring you down."
And, if that bothers someone, Hudgens sees the silver lining. "I've always been a big advocate of being true to yourself. Not everyone is going to like that—well, good," Hudgens said. "That makes you an individual. That makes you unique. And if we're all the same, what's the point? It's important to look out for each other, especially in this industry, and realize it's tough. It's hard enough. Nobody needs to make it harder."