Many a former Disney star has spoken about how hard it is to transition into adulthood, particularly with regard to their acting careers.

Miley Cyrus went through a hugely rebellious stage, Demi Lovato struggled with mental health, Britney Spears has been on a rollercoaster of highs and lows, but Vanessa Hudgens has made it through and she has a Kiwi to thank.

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The actress - who rose to fame opposite Zac Efron in Disney's High School Musical - was recently in New Zealand with boyfriend Austin Butler, who stars in the locally-filmed Shannara Chronicles.


But speaking to Woman's Day, the star revealed that's not her only Kiwi link.

Hudgens told the magazine that it was Kiwi director Scott Walker who gave her her first adult part, helping her transition away from Disney.

She played a woman who escaped a serial killer in Walker's Nicolas Cage-led thriller The Frozen Ground.

"I love Scott so much. He is so enthusiastic and approachable, and he knows what he wants. He encourages you to try new and different things and just gives you the place to play," Hudgens told Woman's Day.

And now she's found her way to star in DC superhero comedy series Powerless.

In it, she plays Emily Locke, director of research and development for Wayne Security (as in Bruce Wayne aka Batman), which specialises in products to help everyday people feel safer in a world of superheroes and supervillains.

"I'm such an adult these days. I'm so used to seeing myself as the school student, troubled teen or drug addict. It's nice to play an adult who has her stuff together. Simple little things like walking down a hallway carrying a mug - I was very excited about that."