Vanessa Hudgens has worked hard to shed her Disney skin, and the young actress has a newfound perspective to match her effortless transformation.

Hudgens covered Marie Claire magazine, flaunting her exotic beauty in a jewel-toned headband and slinky black dress. The High School Musical actress certainly looks all grown up, and she proved her impressive maturity, which she said has stemmed from self-help books about modern day enlightenment. Citing Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth as her spiritual guide, Hudgens explained how her self-confidence has been boosted by her ability to more fully appreciate life.

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler Vanessa Hudgens is constantly photographed with her Carrie Diaries beau, Austin Butler, but she doesn't let the paparazzi bring her down.

“A sense of knowing I’m a part of something bigger than myself has allowed me to enjoy life more. And not worry about the little things,” Hudgens said. “Like paparazzi.” No stranger to the spotlight, Hudgens is constantly photographed with her hunky Carrie Diaries boyfriend, Austin Butler, and she revealed how she finally ditched her insecurities. “I am so comfortable with myself – honing in on what I love and what makes me powerful,” Hudgens said. “Things I’ve been doing lately, I’m super-proud of. So I don’t really care if someone doesn’t like it, because I love it.”

“Nothing is real except the present. If you’re worrying about the future, it’s completely irrelevant because it hasn’t happened yet. And the past – there’s no need to dwell on that either,” the spiritual actress explained. It wasn’t always the case, however. Hudgens opened up about being photographed with a suspicious white substance that she later claimed was white chocolate, and having to defend herself to her young fans.

Vanessa Hudgens Vanessa Hudgens said she has decided to be happy, and with a hot Hollywood boyfriend and skyrocketing career, we can see why!

“I couldn’t do anything but laugh. It’s amazing how people like to create something out of absolutely nothing,” the Spring Breakers star said. “I am human like everyone else. I am aware that there are people who look up to me. When mistakes are made, they aren’t intentional, and I constantly push myself to be a better person.” Hudgens’ grounded perspective hasn’t been lost on Hollywood either, and many of the actress’ co-stars like John Cusack have vouched that 24-year-old is “very mature for her age.”

“She’s not jaded at all,” Selena Gomez added. “The person you see and talk to is the same person I talk to,” Hudgens’ Spring Breakers co-star promised. Hudgens has clearly found the recipe for success, and she credited her contented attitude to her ever-successful career. “You have a choice whether you want to be happy or not. I choose to be happy. And it’s been working out pretty well,” Hudgens said. “Things can’t get any better.”