East Ham teen lands exclusive chat with High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens

A movie-mad East Ham teenager was treated to a close-up with an up-and-coming Hollywood star.

Plashet School student Shaguftah Akhtar, 15, interviewed the High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens about her role in the new blockbuster Beastly.

She was the only teenager who interviewed the star — whose previous roles include Bandslam and Sucker Punch — during a recent visit to the UK.

The personal encounter was arranged by the charity Filmclub, which helps schools set up after-school film clubs, and helped to ignite Shaguftah’s passion for the big screen.

During the interview, Vanessa told her: “Watching a wide range of films gives you more knowledge.

“It opens your eyes to different aspects of life that you probably wouldn’t normally ponder yourself.

“It’s an amazing creative outlet, it allows you to inspire your mind and think about different things.

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“It’s a getaway. Watching movies is an amazing escape from your present. It allows you to kind of be free.”

The interview was organised through Filmclub’s young ambassador scheme, which allows members to attend red carpet events, press junkets, award shows and screenings.

Shaguftah, who says her favourite film is Edward Scissorhands, was one of 11 new members accepted into the programme in March and the interview with Vanessa Hudgens was her first assignment.

She is one of 250,000 Filmclub members at 7,000 schools across the UK who watch black and white movies, modern documentaries, Hollywood classics, British films and other features from around the world every week.

She said: “I enjoyed this because it’s the first assignment I have done.

“Meeting Vanessa Hudgens was amazing and she was really nice.

“I was really nervous, but she said there was no need to be and gave me some pointers.”

“It was just really nice to meet her, she’s such a nice person and it still seems so unreal.”