Inside "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" with the Film"s Female Stars

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High School Musical 3 Press Conference

What did Kenny Ortega say that was so emotional?

Monique Coleman: "We're the ones that get the attention from this movie primarily and that's not necessarily where all the attention is due. It's an ensemble; it's the writer, producers, everyone involved. But, Kenny really is sort of the cornerstone for us. He obviously made all our dreams come true. He said, 'You know guys, I'm so proud of you but I want you to know that this is my dream.

It was my dream to be able to do this in my career and I owe it to all of you and the performances that you gave and the energy that you put behind this and I'm eternally grateful to you.' We were just like [she starts mock-crying] to know that not only has your life been changed but you're able to do that back, and that's what this whole thing is about. We're inspiring kids, but then kids get to turn around and inspire us back. There's nothing more exciting than for some child to talk up to you and say, 'Oh my gosh, I love Taylor McKessie or, 'I wear glasses too,' or just the little things that we don't even realize that kids pick up on or connect to."

Vanessa, in all three of these movies you seem really happy. What makes you so happy all the time?

Vanessa Hudgens: [Laughing] "I get to do what I love. It's amazing. I grew up acting and singing and dancing and I get to work with my best friends. This is the dream job and I really love my character. She's this strong, positive young woman who is always fighting for the right things so she's a fun character to play.

I'm a happy person as well, so it's always easy to put a smile on your face."

Vanessa, the ballroom dancing with Zac Efron, was that something you had both done before or something you had to learn?

Vanessa Hudgens: "Oh no, we definitely had to learn. It was the most difficult dance that I've had to do throughout the three movies, just because it's so different. I've taken tap and jazz and hip-hop but nothing could have prepared me for doing the waltz. The lifts we do, the turns we do, it was a lot. When Kenny told me about it I thought he was kidding because it's just so far-fetched, but I'm really proud of it. Like Monique said, it is kind of a throwback and it's just so classic and so classy and it's so sweet and romantic that it actually turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the movie and I'm really proud that it came out so well."

Do you have a favorite scene or a favorite song?

Vanessa Hudgens: "It's so hard. We've done three movies. It's been three years of our lives that we've had the most amazing time. We've done so much together and been through so much that picking one memory is almost impossible. One really great thing for me was 'We're All in This Together' because it was kind of where our magic really came into the picture. We became this family, and it was a moment that was really special, really magical. I remember me and Monique were crying, Monique was crying and it was a really great moment for me."

Monique Coleman: "Like Vanessa said, it's been such an incredible ride and we've gotten to do things that other actors don't get to do ever in their careers, from doing concert tours to this amount of press that we're doing for this feature, we did for a TV movie and went all over the world and got exposed to so many more things. Every single day, whether it be working with the Make a Wish Foundation or having someone that you really admire, like Chandra Wilson of Grey's Anatomy whom I love, having her know who I am...every day there's something exciting to remember."

How did your real-life senior year compare to this film?

Ashley Tisdale: "For me, my real-life senior year was completely opposite of Sharpay's. She's thinking about a Julliard scholarship the entire senior year because it's a step towards Broadway for her, whereas I was already acting in my high school. I had to make a big decision. Education is very important in my family. My sister went to Cal State Northridge and so I'd asked my dad, 'Can I please take off a year before I go to college because I really want to focus on my acting?' In order to do that he said, 'Well, you have to take as many acting classes as you can. I don't want you sitting around waiting for an audition.' And I did. I took as many acting classes as I could. I went to Groundlings for improv. But, I actually missed the structure of school because I went to regular school my whole life. But that was just a choice I made because I knew I wanted to be an actress. If I went to college, it would have been for writing. But I get to co-write my music on my album so I get to use that."

Vanessa Hudgens: "I was actually home-schooled so I never really went to high school. That's just another reason why High School Musical means so much to me. I got to go to my prom for the first time, but it's a lot better. I got to have the prom that every girl wishes they had and I got to wear a cap and gown for the very first time and graduate with people who I love dearly, the cast who have become some of my closest friends, so it's been a lot of fun."

Monique Coleman: "I went to a private school and when I graduated, we did not wear a cap and gown. We wore white dresses and had a rose and I guess it was somewhat similar to the graduation in this film. I wasn't nearly as emotional. I was 17 and I couldn't get out of high school fast enough, or get on with my life fast enough, and I couldn't get far away from South Carolina fast enough at that time. I'm sure I had different motivations than my character does, but I definitely was a leader and ambitious."
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