Ashley Tisdale Says Playing Sharpay Evans In ‘High School Musical’ Stunted Her Career

Ashley Tisdale attends Variety Power of Young Hollywood at TAO Hollywood
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

It’s been over a decade since High School Musical debuted on the Disney Channel, but Ashley Tisdale still hasn’t been able to move past the role that brought her international fame. To this day, people still have a hard time separating Ashely Tisdale from Sharpay Evans — the uber fabulous, never-to-be-messed-with girl who lived, breathed, and slept that theater life — and it’s been impacting her ability to secure grittier roles, says the actress who recently spoke to Seventeen.

“Obviously the character I played [in High School Musical] was so successful and everyone loved that character,” Ashley explained.

“Right now, my goal in acting is to do roles that people haven’t seen me do before and kind of push the boundaries with that,” Ashley responded when asked what her dream role would be.

“Obviously, those are the roles that people just don’t see me in… It’s so funny how someone sees you as a certain character and then they just can’t see you as anything else, which is why I’m so happy and proud that I have my production company because I’m able to create anything. Having writers, being able to have the ideas, and say I’m going to create this.”

Ashley Tisdale’s Career After HSM

In the years since HSM debuted, Ashley Tisdale has landed a handful of roles, including a starring spot on 2011’s short-lived Hellcats, but nothing has ever quite matched Sharpay’s popularity. Perhaps the public’s longstanding obsession with the character is evidence that Ashley really can’t shake that image.

Though Sharpay was written as the ruthless, antagonistic mean girl to counter Gabriella’s (Vanessa Hudgens) good girl schtick, people still often side with her when debates pop up online. A quick Google search reveals several articles defending Sharpay’s overzealous approach to becoming a musical superstar.

It’s the opinion of some that Gabriella and Troy stole the leading role from Sharpay, who was far more deserving, which Ashley herself agrees with.

Ashley’s ‘HSM’ Co-Stars Don’t Share Her Plight

Ironically, some of Ashley Tisdale’s High School Musical castmates haven’t shared her difficulty in landing roles. Zac Efron, who starred in the HSM trilogy as Troy Bolton, has enjoyed a pretty steady movie career over the past decade. Zac’s most recent endeavor saw him starring opposite Zendaya, another prominent Disney Channel alum, in The Greatest Showman. Prior to that, Zac also starred in Baywatch, alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, as well as. The same can be said for Vanessa Hudgens, who has, in recent years, appeared in musicals and an NBC TV show, Powerless.