"I felt like I had no idea who I was."

By PEOPLE.COM/Jodi Guglielmi
Apr 28, 2019 @ 10:00 am
John Shearer/Getty Images

Vanessa Hudgens has learned to embrace the beauty of growing older.

After experiencing a “midlife crisis” at the age of 27, Hudgens says she now feels more confident than ever at 30.

“I remember waking up at 27 and that was the first moment where I was like, ‘Oh. I am not a kid. I’m not a teenager. I’m an adult and I have responsibilities.’ I felt like I had no idea who I was or what I wanted or what I was going after,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s Beautiful Issue.

And while the actress admits the momentary freakout was scary, it ultimately helped her refocus her life.

“I’m very grateful for it because then it forced me to reassess who I am and what I believe in, therefore giving me just a better understanding of myself,” she says. “Now that I’ve reached 30, it’s so nice feeling free to just speak your mind.”

But one downside to growing older? Realizing that some pesky problems never really go away.

“I thought being 30 I wouldn’t have to deal with breakouts anymore and it’s something that I still deal with,” she says. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my face is the only one I got, so I have to be good to it.”

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Hudgens says she’s also learned the value of self-care.

“The first step was just actually taking care of myself,” she says. “My health, my skin, my body — I feel like by doing so, you’re showing yourself love, so it’s creating that foundation of love for yourself.”

This article originally appeared on People. For more stories like this, visit people.com.