Matt Sayles/AP
November 28, 2007 03:35 PM

Achieving celebrity was never a big life goal for Vanessa Hudgens – and now that she is famous, she’s more than a bit ambivalent about it.

“I became an actress and started singing and dancing because I truly loved it,” the 18-year-old tells Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “I did not want to be a celebrity. … I think fame is just something that comes along when you are in something that is such a success.”

The High School Musical star, who suffered public embarrassment this fall when a nude photo of her reached the Internet, says a major downside of becoming famous is the lack of privacy.

“Everyone is trying to get into your business,” she says. “I don’t like people staring at me all the time, and I don’t want people following me around.”

For some young stars, she adds, it can become a crippling love/hate affair. “People become jaded and infatuated with Hollywood,” she says. “I think it happens to a lot of celebrities, and it messes with their head.”

In the end, though, Hudgens knows it’s the price she has to pay as a performer, if she wants her work to be seen. In fact, had High School Musical not come along, she says she would have tried out for American Idol.

“I was 15 at the time … and you had to be 16 to audition,” she says. “So I thought, ‘One more year.’ Then, when I turned 16, High School Musical came along and I got to do it. So I thought I’d skip on American Idol.”

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