Thanksgiving is a time of year to reflect on what we’re thankful for and give back. For Vanessa Hudgens, that includes being inspired by her longtime pal Selena Gomez to get involved with UNICEF this year.
"Selena loves working with UNICEF so much. She is just such a beautiful, stunning person on the inside with all that she does. I see how much she cares about the kids and how they’ve really touched her life," Hudgens revealed to omg!. "I was aware of UNICEF and their amazing deeds and I was excited to take part, as well."
The 24-year-old actress is starring in a new PSA for UNICEF’s “There for the Philippines” campaign — which supports the immediate and long-term relief efforts for children and families whose lives were upended by Super Typhoon Haiyan — and has an important message this holiday season about helping others in need.
"It is simple. We all have moments where we need help. Right now the Philippines is at a time where they need our help more than ever," Hudgens shared. "Typhoon Haiyan was something that really affected me. I am part Filipino and I just feel like I have a connection there and I love kids. I dropped everything I was doing and rushed over and did the PSA."
On Thursday, the brunette stunner tells omg! that she’ll head to the Thanksgiving table with her friends. “I am so fortunate right now that I have a bunch of friends who are super welcoming me into their homes and into their families for Thanksgiving.”
But she emphasized that the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan won’t be far from her thoughts. “Anything can you give, it is a blessing that will come back to you two-fold.”
If there is a “predictions thematic” playing out here it’s the number of films with actors who move behind the camera. Chalk up Park City regular William H. Macy (last visited the festival with The Surrogate aka The Sessions) as one who could shore up at the fest with his shot in Oklahoma, music drama starring Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne with Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman showing up as supporting players. Rudderless commencedproduction in April of this year.
Gist: Written by Macy, Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison, this centers on a grieving father in a downward spiral who forms a band after stumbling across a box of his deceased son’s original music.
Production Co./Producers: Amberdale’s Brad Greiner (Welcome to Me), Unified Pictures’s Keith Kjarval (Why Now?!), Jeff Rice Films’ Jeff Rice (Frozen Ground)
Prediction: Premieres category.
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available – Radiant Films Intl
Selena Gomez has canceled several concert dates in eastern Europe after Russian authorities reportedly denied the pop star’s visa request.
The “Come and Get It” singer was slated to perform in Minsk, Belarus today and in Kiev, Ukraine on Sept. 21, then travel to Russia for dates in St. Petersburg on Sept. 23 and Moscow on Sept. 25. All the concerts have been erased from her itinerary.
Organizers believe Gomez, who supports gay rights, fell victim to a controversial new law in Russia that bars “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships” to minors. It is thought that the visa process for international musicians has become more rigid in Russia since Madonna and Lady Gaga spoke out for gay rights there last year.
In a report published Wednesday in the Russian-language RIA Novosti, an event promoter voiced optimism that the issue regarding Gomez’s visa had been resolved.
"But it turned out not so simple in our country," the person said, according to a translation. "Problem is not us, the problem is - in the bureaucratic moments."
A rep for Gomez told E! News that the singer would not be traveling to Russia. Billboard’s request for comment regarding the visa and cancellations has not be returned at press time.
Gomez’s planned trip to Russia inspired gay rights activist John Becker to launch a Change.org petition urging the singer to “stand up for Russia’s LGBT community” while in the country. More than 10,000 people have signed the petition, which has since been updated with news of the cancellations.
"The Russian government is clearly on edge and aware of the bruising its reputation has taken in the wake of their anti-LGBT crackdown," Becker writes onLGBTQ group blog Bilerico.com.
It is unclear whether Gomez’s work-visa issues extended to the governments of Belarus and Ukraine. Regardless her concert in Minsk, scheduled for today, was canceled leaving fans distraught.
Boyfriends come and go, but Selena Gomez has a few very special – and very, very famous – faces to depend on.
The starlet, 20, counts Taylor Swift, 23, andVanessa Hudgens, 24, among her inner circle, and she has plenty of compliments for their support along the way.
“It’s helped having Taylor and Vanessa both be older than me,” she told PEOPLE at her New York City acoustic concert benefit for UNICEF, the children’s rights organization for which she is a goodwill ambassador. “They’ve kind of experienced a little bit more, and at the same time we’re experiencing the exact same things together.”
Her pals are just a call away, and “it’s nice just to be able to pick up the phone and be like, ‘Ugh, I had this person say this and it’s annoying,’ and have someone understand and really get what you’re going through,” adds Justin Bieber’s on-again, off-again girlfriend. “I think that’s [our] main connection. I just enjoy having people in the business in my life because it helps.”
She recently worked with Hudgens on Spring Breakers, a comedy following four college gals that arrives in theaters in March. “I feel like I want to be her,” Gomez says of her costar. “She’s been such an incredible person, and she’s fantastic in [Spring Breakers]. “She’s a really good friend.”
And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, her feelings on Swift – whom she called “one of the most inspirational, positive, good-hearted people that I know” – were clear by an addition to her concert set-list: a cover of the Red singer’s hit, “I Knew You Were Trouble.” (Yes, she alsolearned a dance to her friend’s tune, just before the two hit the Utah ski slopes in December with their boyfriends at the time.)
“I met [Swift] when she was 18. This is before [Swift’s 2008 album] Fearless came out, and it was absolutely incredible to see someone so successful and so humble,” she says. “I think she has been a big part of me kind of staying the way I am too.”