When I jump on the phone with Vanessa Hudgens on Wednesday, she's just returned home to Los Angeles from a work trip to New York. She got in the night before around 1 a.m., and had just come off of an early call time. Which is to say, she was looking forward to heading out to Palm Springs for Coachella 2019 this weekend. "It's the time that no one can get a hold of me and I can turn my phone off," she said, rather blissfully. For the record, Hudgens has been to Coachella an estimated 10 times over the years. And this year, she was putting her expertise to good use, partnering with Amazon, which, in addition to launching a storefront on the website tailored specifically to Coachella-goers, had also built an Amazon Locker pickup point within festival grounds for all those last-minute needs. "I can't tell you how many times I've gone to Coachella and been like, 'Crap, I need more sunscreen,' and then had to go out of my way to go find some," Hudgens said. "This is the most convenient thing ever." Her list of what she might be ordering to said locker was a lengthy one: sunscreen, chapstick, a portable phone charger, hand sanitizer, Wet Wipes—"basically everything you need to stay feeling like a functional person." Here, Hudgens, who has been called the Queen of Coachella by the Internet, talks the unofficial title and her favorite festival memories.
When was the first time you went to Coachella?
I think this is my tenth year.
Who played that first year?
Paul McCartney. It was pretty epic.
Do you have any favorite lineups of all time?
There was one year that was great show after great show after great show. It might have been Arcade Fire and... oh gosh, so many years have gone by. My favorite shows I've seen at Coachella are Arcade Fire and Radiohead.
Have there been any ones that you missed?
When I was on Broadway [in Gigi in 2015], I missed that year. It was a bummer, but I mean I was on Broadway so that's pretty cool. And I definitely tuned into the live feed.
How much has the festival changed since you first started going?
I mean, it's definitely blown up. Last year they expanded the festival, and me thinking I'm such a veteran and a pro, I still was like, "Wait, where do I go?" I've always gone to the festival to create new memories with people I love, and run around barefoot on the grass and listen to good music. Obviously everyone goes with their own intention. It's just gotten a lot bigger in all aspects.
Do you wear the title of Queen of Coachella proudly?
[Laughs]. I mean, whenever you are called the queen of anything, it's very flattering, so I will take the title. But, I think that people think of Coachella as something different than what it is to me. People think that I have a stylist dressing me and that I get makeup done and have security. I literally try to go as under the radar as possible and dodge around like a ninja.
When people spot you, do they stop you?
Sometimes. I'm kind of very good at going unrecognizable. Big hats definitely play a large part in that. There are so many people there, and I get anxiety when there is too much attention on me. I've gotten into some situations where it hasn't been safe having that many people surround me without security. So, I introduce myself and talk to them for a little bit and send them off on their way. I do no pictures. I cannot draw that type of attention to myself.
When do you start planning what you are going to wear?
I'm literally opening up boxes right now to put together outfits. So it's happening right now.
What's the vibe going to be this year?
It's the same that it is every year. I live my best gypsy bohemian life at Coachella every year.
Are there any outfits that you look back on and regret?
I feel like it's an amazing place to express yourself and however you feel you should express yourself in that moment is how you should express yourself. I've definitely had outfits like, "Wow, what was I thinking?" But in the moment, that's what felt right. So I respect that and have no regrets.
How do you feel about the backlash against flower crowns these days?
I will [stan] a flower crown until the day I die. I don't think I'd wear one to Coachella now, though. I think I wore one five or six years ago, because that's when it was popping. But if I'm going to the Renaissance fair, then there is no doubt that I'll be wearing a flower crown.