10/02/2012 03:50 GMT | Updated 10/02/2012 03:53 GMT

Vanessa Hudgens Lived In Homeless Shelter For 'Gimme Shelter'

Actress Vanessa Hudgens spent two weeks in a homeless shelter as she prepared to play a pregnant teen living on the streets in new movie Gimme Shelter.

The High School Musical star also underwent a dramatic transformation to play tomboy Apple Bailey in the drama, hacking off her long hair and sporting fake piercings.

And Hudgens admits the whole experience was an eye-opening one.

She says: "For Gimme Shelter, my character ends up at this pregnant, homeless teen shelter that's actually ran (sic) in New Jersey by a woman and I actually went and stayed in the shelter for two weeks before I started filming...

"I lived there with all the girls, with all the kids... you find so much more about yourself."