Vanessa Hudgens

Into the Wild With Vanessa Hudgens

Come for the Queen of Coachella. Stay for the zebra facts.

Vanessa Hudgens has been on our Wild Elements vision board from the beginning.

As an actress, she’s conquered hearts and soundtracks in Rent, Grease, Tick, Tick…Boom, and of course High School Musical, along with the upcoming Timothée Chalamet show Entergalactic and the new Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas.

As a style force, she’s worn Moschino to the Met Gala, Schiaparelli to the Tony Awards, and she’s been crowned the “Queen of Coachella” thanks to her many bohemian rhapsodies.

And as a California native, the 33-year-old has a particular ferocity when it comes to the healing power of nature, the importance of desert ecosystems, and the benefits of one native plant: the cactus.

“It’s an incredible source of hydration and antioxidants,” says Hudgens, who took the desert “superplant” as inspiration to join Caliwater, a beverage brand made with foraged opuntia (aka prickly pear cactus) that’s been seasonally harvested to ensure regrowth and plant health. As for human health, Hudgens has fainted twice from dehydration, and hopes Caliwater convinces people “who know they need to hydrate, but don’t necessarily like the taste of water” to consider their wellness in a new way.

Here’s what Vanessa has to say about the power of the desert, the need for a “third eye,” and how not to be hungover after the Oscars afterparties. (Hint: she bottled it for you.)

When did you first fall in love with cactus water?

My dear friend, and [Caliwater] co-founder, Oliver Trevena and I were out for drinks. I tried this prickly pear margarita and I was obsessed with it. I wanted to know everything about this magical flavor. When I found out it was from a cactus, it lead us both into this journey of creating Caliwater. I don’t drink a lot of water, admittedly, so creating something that’s just as hydrating and has so many skin health and antioxidant properties was just a plus!

What aspects of Caliwater are you most proud of, sustainability-wise?

Not only is our product sustainable, so are our cans. They’re all recyclable!

To you, what's the most magical part of the desert?

The sunset. Feeling at one with the earth. I love to feel grounded by nature [because] it really opens up my third eye, which allows me to have more insight and connect with myself. I really think the type of work that I want to put out into the world is inspired by that connection.

How does nature influence your mental health?

There’s nothing that vitamin D and my feet on the grass can’t fix! Like I said, being connected with the earth and its elements is so important to me and my mental health.

Do you have a favorite vegan food or vegan swap?

I love the vegan restaurant Sage. But my favorite vegan item that I eat the most is an Impossible Burger. Or buffalo vegan chicken wings.

Please tell us your favorite animal fact.

Oh! Did you know that hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards? Also, a group of zebras is called a dazzle, which I think is so cute.

We have a saying, "Let good grow wild." What does that mean to you?

Let good grow wild…it means it’s natural, it’s of the earth, and it has its own spirit.