Although Ashley Tisdale recently turned 24, in some people's eyes, she's still that scheming, platinum-blond teen diva from the outrageously popular Disney musical trilogy "High School Musical."
She's trying her best to change that.
To that end, she recently traded in her light tresses for a return to her dark brown roots, and her new album, "Guilty Pleasure," reveals a sexy side of the singer: The cover features her in a tight black skirt and semi-revealing top, and her inspirations for the album's music include the rock group My Chemical Romance.
"I feel like when I went back to my original hair color, a little bit of an edgier side came out," Tisdale said during a recent interview. "I just wanted to show a different side of me that people haven't seen."
But as much as she would love to be seen apart from her Disney persona, she's not trying to make a dramatic break from her youthful image. On Friday, she will be seen in the kid movie "Aliens in the Attic," and she says she still wants to keep "High School Musical" fans as her own.
"I'm not trying to run away from my fans at all," she says. "I want them to grow with me."
AP: What are the challenges in trying to create your own identity apart from the character Sharpay in the "High School Musical" series?
Tisdale: I wouldn't be there if it wasn't for those projects, but I feel that dyeing my hair back to its original hair color, this is originally what I look like ... and it does separate me from that in a way, because everybody really knows me as the blond bubbly character, and this is a different side.
AP: Do you feel like there's a delicate balance between going more adult and keeping your young fans?
Tisdale: I don't feel pressure because I'm not trying to be something that I'm not. ... I'm not perfect, I'm not trying to be perfect, and if people and fans like me for who I am, that's just amazing. ... With the first album, I was trying to cater to young fans and the kids, and also an older group, and with this album, it's like I said, it's a reflection of where I am in my life right now.
AP: There's so much focus on young female stars to see if they will mess up. Does that put pressure on you?
Tisdale: I don't drink and I don't smoke, and it's a personal choice. ... I don't go clubbing (laughs) mainly because you're dancing and drinking, I think, but I definitely love to dance. I like to have fun but my fun is different from other's people's fun. Just because I live in L.A .and I live in Hollywood doesn't mean I have to have a Hollywood life.
Jennifer Aniston on the 'Call Me Crazy' red carpet, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka carry their twins around NY, Even Rachel Wood shows off her baby bump, and more.
trueH6falsetrue1AP: Do you feel for your next project that you need to change your image completely?
Tisdale: I'm not someone who is going to do a 180. If anything I know I look young, so I'm still going to be in high school (in movies) but I think the projects would have to be a little bit more mature if it's in a high school environment. ... I'm really into comedy, and I love making people laugh, so I will definitely go in that direction for a little bit, and then maybe some drama, because I love drama as well and people haven't seen me do drama ... but I'm not going too dark yet — that's not me.
AP: Would you do a "High School Musical 4," "5" or "10"?
Tisdale: I feel like we graduated (laughs). I know they left it open for Sharpay. It's been one of the most amazing projects. I feel like it would be a little weird going back without that cast. For all of us, we're all going in our own directions and we all are moving on. I think that they should definitely keep going with the franchise because it makes so many people happy and for the fans ... but there comes a time to move on, and I feel like this is the time to go out and do other things.