Vanessa Hudgens is in a good place now.

The actress’s mantra “Be you. Do you. For you.” is written across her social media, and she says she’s “comfortable” with herself – but it took her a while to get there.

“I feel like I’ve lived many, many lives just because I’ve been in this industry for so long,” she spoke to Glamour UK for their December digital issue’s cover story. “I had big dreams and was so excited and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. You know, I think it takes time to get comfortable with yourself, like, truly comfortable.”

In fact, it’s a process Hudgens finds herself repeating through different times in her life.

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“I know the pandemic – like having to sit at home with myself and really work on my shadow self; those things you don’t really want to face – has forced me to grow because it’s uncomfortable,” she explained. “Those are the moments that challenge you and really force you to make an opinion as to who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world.”

She added, “I feel like I’ve had that moment multiple times throughout my life and it’s been evolving and changing just like I am.”

Vanessa Hudgens – Photo: Mike Rosenthal
Vanessa Hudgens – Photo: Mike Rosenthal

The 32-year-old actress went through a difficult time in 2016 with her father’s death. He had been fighting stage 4 cancer and the news came right before her performance as Lizzo on “Grease: Live!”, which was broadcast live nationally.

Thinking about her father, Hudgens pressed on.

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“There was never a moment where I thought that I wouldn’t do [“Grease: Live!”] because my dad would want me to do it,” she recalled. “He gave so much time and energy into me achieving my dreams and for me to have a career where I can do what I love. So I felt like I needed to do it, because that’s what he would’ve wanted [me] to do. Obviously if I [hadn’t], that would be OK, too. But knowing that I was kind of doing it in honour of him is what made it really special and made me feel even more connected to him.”

Vanessa Hudgens – Photo: Mike Rosenthal
Vanessa Hudgens – Photo: Mike Rosenthal

It was an experience that helped the “Tick, Tick… Boom!” actress understand her own relationship with mental health and what self-care looks like.

“You’ve got to take care of yourself. It’s easy to spread yourself in a million different directions, but at the end of the day, you are left to deal with yourself,” she reflected. “You have to take the appropriate steps. … Skincare is a big thing for me. It’s really nice at the end of the day and in the morning to have a moment with yourself in the mirror and know that you’re taking time out of your day to love on yourself.”

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Read the full interview in the Glamour UK December Digital Issue online now.