By now, Disney+ has been around long enough for viewers to know that they’re totally obsessed with High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. What fans of the show might not know, however, is that To All The Boys star Lana Condor actually auditioned for it. And even though she ultimately wasn’t cast in the series, she revealed to Teen Vogue that still looks back at the audition process as “an amazing memory.”
When news of the series first began to surface online, it immediately rang a bell. “I was seeing some things on Instagram, but I was like, I think I honest to God, might have auditioned for that,” she told the outlet in an interview published Wednesday (January 15). “I don’t think it was Disney+ when I shot for it, I think it was just Disney.”
For Condor, auditioning for a role in the HSM spin-off simply made sense at the time — especially because she was such a big fan of the original movies. “I was the biggest High School Musical fan when I was a child,” she said. “[I was like] oh my God, I want to be Gabriella. I thought it was so cool.”
One of the reasons Condor loved Gabriella’s character so much was because she’d never seen a lead actress prior to that who she truly felt represented her. “I looked up to Vanessa Hudgens since I was little because of High School Musical,” she said. “She kind of looks like me and that’s the first person that I’ve ever really seen that looks like me that has a lead role in something. So I’ve always looked up to her.”
When it came time to audition, though, there was a twist: Those who were trying out for a part in the series could not sing a High School Musical song. And although the actress couldn’t quite remember what song she had selected, her boyfriend Anthony de la Torre chimed in mid-interview to remind her that it was, in fact, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.
Despite not getting the chance to live out her dreams of playing HSM‘s Gabriella Montez, Condor knows that she still gets to inspire young girls in the same way that Vanessa Hudgens once inspired her. “I looked up to Vanessa Hudgens when I was a kid and now there are girls, like me when I was little, that are probably looking up to me [as Lara Jean Covey],” she said. “[It’s] weird but I’m okay with it.”
With the highly anticipated To All The Boys sequel hitting Netflix this February, we think it’s safe to say that Condor wound up right where she was meant to be all along.