Vanessa Hudgens is no stranger to controversy.
Aside from her nude photo scandal in 2007, she was also famously pictured at Coachella in 2011 indulging in a white powdery substance -- which she claims is white chocolate and not cocaine as some have speculated.
And now, in a new interview with Marie Claire for their October cover, she revisits the drug scandal.
"I couldn't do anything but laugh. It's amazing how people like to create something out of absolutely nothing," she says about the still talked-about photos. "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."
But though she is well aware of her role model status, she is also clearly unafraid to be herself. Aside from taking racy roles in Spring Breakers and The Frozen Ground (in which she plays a stripper), Hudgens is also a constant paparazzi target, and is well known for her unconventional fashion choices.
"I'm so comfortable with myself -- honing in on what I love and what makes me powerful," she says. "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. ... 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. Like paparazzi."
Her Spring Breakers co-star Selena Gomez confirms Hudgens' open-book exterior.
"She's not jaded at all," Gomez tells the magazine about her close friend. "The person you see and talk to is the same person I talk to."
And despite her critics, Hudgens, 24, is all about positivity in her life.
"You have a choice whether you want to be happy or not," she says. "I choose to be happy. And it's been working out pretty well."
Marie Claire's October issue hits newsstands September 17.