Irish American star Vanessa Hudgens

The 24-year-old actress cut her hair short to play a homeless, abused girl searching for her father in 'Gimme Shelter' and admits it took time after shooting had finished before she felt like herself again, rather than her character.

She said: "I had a struggle, for sure, finding myself again. But with diet and with working out and increasing that serotonin, I got back to who I am.

"It was my first departure that I did. I chopped all my hair off for it. I pushed myself so hard and so far and as soon as we were finished filming I had no clue who Vanessa was. I had to find myself again."

However, despite her struggles, the 'High School Musical' star has no regrets about taking on the role, as she says it was an "actor's dream".

She added to "It was an amazing journey and an actor's dream."

Vanessa recently revealed she was desperate to take on "grittier" roles after shooting the 'High School Musical' films.

The 'Spring Breakers' actress shot to fame portraying Gabriella Montez in the Disney trilogy but by the time she'd finished the third installment she was ready to ditch her squeaky clean alter-ego.

She said: "For a while I was kind of struggling and fighting for these roles that I just desperately wanted. It was hard and it was a struggle, but then again life is always a struggle.

"Having a career will always be a struggle. You'll always have to fight for what you want. Definitely crossing over and being able to tackle these grittier parts was a challenge, but I feel like I've done it! It's a whole new chapter!"