A very happy 28th birthday to Ashley Tisdale! To put that number in context a bit (and make you feel suuuper old and wizened), it’s been a solid seven years since she hit the scene as the villainous – by Disney standards, anyway– Sharpay Evans in High School Musical. We all know that Zac Efron, with his pre-Bieber hair and teeny-bopper smile, was a shoe-in for “Most Likely To Succeed” in the HSM yearbook, but what about all those other kids that sang and danced around him?
Let’s play Mean Girls for a minute and rank the original cast from least to most successful. I mean, that’s the best part of a high school reunion, no?
6. Monique Coleman
(Photo: IMBb / Dan Jackman, WENN)
Monique Coleman, who played Gabriela‘s BFF Taylor McKessie, comes in at the bottom of the list. Taylor was going to become President of the United States, but Monique’s real-life success hasn’t been quite as grand. Other than a handful of guest spots on shows like Bones and The Cleveland Show, McKessie has remained largely out of the spotlight since her days of movie musical stardom. It’s hard out there for a BFF, always living in the shadow of the leading lady. Unless you’re Mindy Kaling, in which being the BFF means you out-wit everyone, write a New York Times bestseller, and star in your own television show. Then again, Monique was named the United Nations Youth Champion for her philanthropic efforts while Vanessa Hudgens snorted Vitamin-B on the set of Spring Breakers, so, it’s all about perspective, really.
5. Lucas Grabeel
(Photo: IMDb / Curtis Sabir, WENN)
Sharpay’s twin brother Ryan Evans danced around the HSM trilogy and made us seriously question whether men should be ever allowed to wear sweater vests. Aside from his Disney roots –he had previously starred in the Halloweentown movies as well – Lucas landed a role alongside Sean Penn in Milk, a recurring spot on Smallville, and now holds a starring role in Switched at Birth. Now, I admit, I didn’t even know his real name until about 10 minutes ago, but for a man that got his break-out role in a pink newsboy cap, he’s done fairly well. You go, Glen Coco.
4. Corbin Bleu
(Photo: IMDb / FayesVision, WENN)
Corbin played the afro known as Chad Danforth, Troy’s brosef and fellow basketball star. In the midst of the HSM trilogy, he starred in his own Disney Channel Original Movie, Jump In! AND got to chill with Miley on Hannah Montana. Aw, remember those days? Let’s all take a moment of silence for the young, naive Miley, before she was weaned from the Disney magic and learned how to twerk. I digress, Corbin has since starred on Broadway, appearing in In The Heights and as Jesus in Godspell. All things aside, I feel like you’re doing pretty well if you can put Jesus on your resume. He was cast in The Beautiful Life: TBL, and recently landed a regular role on the web revival of One Life to Live. The soap opera credit might cancel out the risen Lord, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, buddy.
3. Ashley Tisdale
(Photo: IMDb / Bridow, WENN)
Our birthday girl comes in at #3, not a far cry from her character Sharpay’s fate in the movies. Disney’s darling, Ashley maintained roles on Phineas & Ferb and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, making her a star in the eyes those born after the millennium. I’d assume that most people reading this article, however, haven’t seen much of her since she bopped around with Jelena in that “Call Me Maybe” lip dub. She doesn’t get a film cred for that one. Word on the street is that she was in Scary MoVie, but does anyone really see the fifth movie in a series other than Harry Potter? That’s what I thought. At least tabloids know her name. If other celebrities are getting mistaken for you at Fashion Week, you’re at least still semi-relevant. Keep it up, Ash!
2. Vanessa Hudgens
(Photo: IMDb / DJDM, WENN)
The innocent little Gabriela is long, long gone these days. We should have realized years ago that those nudey pics were just audition materials for Spring Breakers, as little more than cellulite-free thighs was required for that role. With Beastly, opposite wannabe bad boy Alex Pettyfer, and Sucker Punch also under her belt, she’s certainly graduated to the big screen and left Disney in the dust. But I’m not convinced. She can booty-pop all over Jay Leno and sing about $$$ex, but until she cuts all her hair off or tweets about her vajayjay, she just seems like she’s trying too hard. She’s the popular girl at the high school reunion that hasn’t quite grown out of high school. Awkward to watch, but too good to turn away. Oh, Vanessa. I guess any publicity is good publicity?
1. Zac Efron
(Photo: IMDb / Andres Otero, WENN)
Captain Obvious has just confirmed that Zac Efron, Troy Bolton incarnate, tops the HSM cast in his post-trilogy success. The man has wracked up several big (actually noteworthy – sorry, Vanessa) titles, most recently The Lucky One, The Paperboy and At Any Price. He’s certainly no slouch to be sharing the screen with a few of Hollywood’s hottest older men, the likes Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, and Harrison Ford. With five films slated to be released over the next year and a half, it’s clear that Zac has mastered the fame game and is here to stay. Just this past week, Amanda Bynes called Zefron ugly via Twitter, so that means he’s at least as famous as Drake! Added bonus: He’s kept it pretty together, in contrast to his aforementioned former lady love. Yeah, there was that threesome thing, but if anyone’s gonna be mad about it, it’s because they weren’t invited. Sucks for you.
(Lead Photo: RHS/ WENN)