Hudgens appears on the cover of Seventeen, where she opens up about her nude photo scandal. "Truthfully I don't like talking about it," she tells the magazine. "It was very traumatic, and I am extremely upset it happened. I hope all my fans can learn from my mistake and make smart decisions." Surprisingly, though, she reveals that her mom was "just so cute. She was like, 'Well, everyone can be naked if they want to.'"
After returning to the Utah set of HSM 3: Senior Year and filming her non-Disney effort, Will, Hudgens lands on PEOPLE's Most Beautiful list – without a stitch of makeup. "Just recently I've learned to be okay with myself without wearing makeup," the Neutrogena spokesmodel tells PEOPLE. "I think it was a special someone telling me that I didn't need it."
Hudgens releases her more grown-up sophomore album, Identified, which she tells EW is "definitely sophisticated. But it's also funky and fun – something that I would, like, actually listen to." Her first single, "Sneakernight," "is a fun song about hanging out with girlfriends and wearing sneakers," the singer-actress explains.
Hudgens and her HSM costars cover PEOPLE's HSM3: Senior Year special issue. "We spent three years together," Hudgens tells PEOPLE. "I got to go to prom. I wore a cap and gown. HSM was my version of high school." And as for the future? "No one says it's the last time." When the film opens in October, it takes the No. 1 spot, making $42 million in its first week.
Hudgens channels her inner rock star for her new musical flick Bandslam, where she plays Sa5m, a student with untapped musical talents. "It was awkward for me," she says of the role. "I don't do rock ... that's not my thing." But nothing could be more awkward than comedian Dane Cook telling Hudgens at the Teen Choice Awards to keep her clothes on, after a second round of nude photos surfaced online.
Hudgens, 22, enjoys a PDA-filled evening with actor Austin Butler, who starred with her BFF Ashley Tisdale in Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. The single starlet, who was most recently linked to actor Josh Hutcherson, attended a birthday party with Butler, 20, before smooching at a Hollywood restaurant later that night.
Starring alongside Selena Gomez and James Franco, Hudgens stars as hard-partying college girl Candy in Spring Breakers. "I read the script, and that was the role that I wanted. I loved how fierce and fearless she was," she tells NYMag.com. Though the film fails to make a dent at the box office, it proves a critical success.
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