11/05/2008 at 01:00 AM EST
BIRTHDAY: DEC. 14
PLAYS: SUPER SCHOLAR GABRIELLA MONTEZ
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MISS ABOUT PLAYING GABRIELLA?
She's so sweet and so happy. At times things get stressful, and it's hard to stay cheerful all the time. But my character is so happy, it just cheers me up. It's an amazing thing.
WHAT'S THE BEST THING THAT'S COME OUT OF THIS EXPERIENCE?
Truthfully, there are so many things. We made a major accomplishment: We brought musicals back. I'm proud that kids growing up have that again.
AND THE WORST?
We kind of lose our privacy. But you know, we're—oh my gosh, I almost said, "we're all in this together!" But that's what makes us close. We've grown together, we've had these experiences, and we're still going through it together.
ZAC SAID YOU PICKED UP THE WALTZ MORE QUICKLY THAN HE DID IN THE PROM SCENE. TRUE?
That's very sweet. Girls are naturally more graceful, and guys are—how do I put it?—clumsy? But he did so well.
IS ZAC A KLUTZ?
I'm the clumsy one out of everyone. I actually tripped and fell down the stairs just before the prom number!
WHAT HSM MOMENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO RELIVE?
Gosh, you know, the first High School Musical when we were doing rehearsals was so fun. We were getting to know each other. We'd go out to dinner every night; we'd hang out by the pool. We were kids, and we were just silly and funny and fun.
HOW HAVE YOU GROWN UP OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS?
I'm much more responsible. I used to be the one who would leave my stuff everywhere. I know where my things are now! Most of the time, anyway. I've come out of my shell. When the first movie started, I was shy. I learned how to drive. I bought my first house.
I just got my keys yesterday. It's such a big deal! I'm packing up my things from my parents' house. It's the first time I'll be out on my own—I'm scared! I'm used to waking up and having my mom make me breakfast. But it's part of growing up. It's exciting. It's going to be fun.
HOW DO YOU TREAT YOURSELF AFTER A LONG DAY OF DANCING?
I'll eat something yummy. French toast, candy. I try not to let myself eat too many bad things. I used to eat ice cream before bed. I realized maybe I should give vegetables a shot.
YOU'VE BEEN ON A CONCERT TOUR LATELY. IS IT LONELY TRAVELING WITHOUT THE GANG?
Not really. I have six backup dancers with me on tour and three of the girls are on my bus. It's so fun hanging out with the girls, feeding off each other's energy onstage as performers, and then going back to the bus, just being girls, hanging out, eating and watching movies.
WHAT KIND OF ROLES DO YOU WANT TO PLAY IN THE FUTURE?
I'd like to do an action flick where I play a butt-kicking chick. It's fun to be a fighter. For women, it's empowering.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR FUTURE HSM STARS?
Just be smart and don't do things you'll regret. But I'd say that to everybody.
WILL YOU MISS WORKING SO CLOSELY WITH ZAC?
No one says it's the last time. Who knows what the future will bring.