It’s no secret that Vanessa Hudgens has gone through some hardships in her life. Especially after her father unfortunately passed away from cancer in 2016. But the tragedy certainly hasn’t stopped the actress from living her best life. In fact, Vanessa recently revealed that she feels like it was a huge contributor to the person that she’s become. You know what they say — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

“My 20s were such a roller coaster,” Vanessa recalled to Haute Living. “I had so many high moments, but I lost my dad. My [boyfriend of seven years, actor Austin Butler] also lost his mom. We dealt with a lot of death.”

But instead of crumbling, the High School Musical actress revealed that she used her hardships as a learning lesson. “I felt like [the death of my father] really pushed me to expand and grow as a person, whether I liked it or not,” she continued. “I [now] feel like those moments are really great to have because they force you to reassess your life, what you believe in, what you stand for, who you want to be.”

As J-14 readers know, the actress recently celebrated her 30th birthday, and in doing so, she admitted that she feels like she’s gone through a huge change in her life. “The last year of my 20s was very informative as to the woman I am becoming,” she explained. “I feel very empowered and very scared because I know there are big things ahead of me. I feel like I’m grounded, I’ve gotten rid of my baggage, so to speak, and have made way for myself to go into my 30s just a bit more streamlined, leading with love and light.” 

We are loving her positive attitude! But as exciting as it is, Vanessa added that she felt “extremely overwhelmed” over the responsibilities of being an adult. “I am not a child anymore,” she noted. “I am not a teen. I am fully an adult, and there are so many responsibilities that come with that.”

But the 30-year-old is as confident as ever. “[Right now I’m doing a lot of] self-reflection, cleaning up in all different areas of my life and getting myself to a place where I feel very confident in all the decisions I’m making, and that they’re aligned with who I am,” she concluded. “There’s something empowering about pushing through something extremely uncomfortable and surviving it. I love getting into my beast mode. For me, that’s the moment when you’re working out and you feel like you’re going to collapse. But then you open up that secret, special compartment that holds your reserve energy. Whenever I tap into that, I feel like I can conquer the world.” You go girl!

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