Gabriella Montoya Montez is the main female character of the High School Musical series. She is one of the smartest girls at East High, even taking college courses at Stanford University before even finishing high school. She is a great singer as well as the girlfriend of the popular basketball star Troy Bolton. She currently studies law at Stanford University.
Gabriella is portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens.
Gabriella is an extraordinarily beautiful teenage girl with long black hair (which changes to short or long) with brown highlights (in the first and second movie) and brown eyes. She sometimes wears dresses and mostly wears casual clothes. She wears some bright colored shirts and pants or dresses. Gabriella also wears a necklace that was given by Troy Bolton in High School Musical 2, which is the letter "t" capitalized but we see that she has more necklaces from the three films.
Gabriella is constantly examining what she wants for herself. In contrast to Troy, whose main concern about auditioning for a musical is how his friends will react, her main concern is how it will affect her as an individual. She tends to be shy and private about her feelings and prefers not to be in the spotlight. Her main tool for making decisions seems to revolve around what she wants for herself independently.
Though she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, Gabriella’s shyness seems to dissipate when she loses herself in a song and lets herself live in the moment. She urges Troy to enjoy the present rather than worry about the future in the second film. Her selfness is shown by her reluctance to think about the future and lose the joys the present has brought her. She seems happiest when enjoying the current moment, whether it’s dancing with Troy on the school roof or taking funny pictures for the yearbook. She is quicker than her boyfriend to take the opportunity to audition for musicals.
Though thinking about the future tends to bring her down, she realizes that she can’t run away from it forever. She has the ability to intuitively read Troy and his motives, and she develops a clearer insight of what she wants for herself throughout the show.
She finds it hard to make decisions concerning college and such, because her dominant Fi makes it difficult for her to be decisive and give practical factors higher priority than personal factors. Taylor scolds her for wanting to give up the opportunity to go to Stanford early so that she can be with Troy, whom she sees as clouding Gabriella’s judgment. Nonetheless, she is shown to be an excellent student with good organizational skills and self-reliance.
Gabriella is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Montez. She meets Troy Bolton at a family bar during their winter break and are forced to sing karaoke in the New Year's Eve party at the Ski Mountain Resort. Upon singing with each other ("Start of Something New"), they instantly feel a connection with one another, and, as fate would have it, they end up attending the same school, East High. There, they become close friends, and eventually begin dating. When the two meet up at the auditions for the winter concert, they try out for the callbacks and do a duet of a song called Breaking Free. Since Troy, being the basketball star of East High and not known to have a passion or talent for singing, and Gabriella is a nerd and brainiac, there is a large amount of social unrest at the school, as more people begin revealing their passions that conflict with the stereotypes they have been placed into. However, despite numerous attempts to break the duo apart, they end up singing the duet and encouraging others to break from the norm in favor of following their dreams. Following the performance, the two become a very successful couple, though not without their occasional conflicts. Eventually, Sharpay Evans is jealous of Gabriella because of how popular Gabriella is becoming in the school and how she stole Troy from her, which Sharpay sees as a threat to her own popularity.
Gabriella has maintained her romance with Troy, and the couple, along with their friends, get jobs at the Lava Springs Country Club. Gabriella takes the position of a responsible and adept lifeguard. However, Sharpay Evans gets angry because she bribed Fulton to get Troy Bolton a job--not the entire East High student body. Seeking revenge, Sharpay lures Troy Bolton away from Gabriella and his friends, showering him with various luxuries, including promising college opportunities. She even sings him a song ("Humuhumunukanuka'apua'a") complete with lights, a set and a whole onstage performance in an attempt to win over Troy, and makes him promise to sing with her. Gabriella has made more friends in the time and becomes close with Ryan Evans. After Troy repeatedly breaks his promises and backs out of his commitments, Gabriella breaks up with him and quits her job at Lava Springs, claiming that working together sounded good, but is too hard now given their recent issues. During this scene Gabriella belts out "Gotta Go My Own Way," and drives away with her mother at the end, leaving Troy heartbroken and giving back the T necklace. However, the two of them reunite at the end after Troy apologizes to his friends, gets his job back, confronts Sharpay and learns a new song--a duet he and Gabriella sing at the talent show, entitled "Everyday." Afterwards, she and Troy kiss on the golf course.
A Stanford-bound Gabriella is uneasy about the fast pace her life has taken. Before graduation, Gabriella briefly considers taking classes at the local university for a year and going to Stanford when she is ready, much to the dismay of Taylor and Mrs. Montez. Troy urges Gabriella to accept an early orientation. Gabriella goes to Stanford but must drop out of the school musical (allowing Sharpay to fill the lead role) and miss prom. Wanting his last dance at East High to be with Gabriella, Troy drives to Stanford and the two share an intimate prom of their own. He convinces Gabriella to return to East High for opening night of the musical and for graduation. Gabriella sings in the spring play, and her classmates put together a surprise reunion complete with gifts, hugs, and flowers for Gabriella onstage during the performance of "Just Wanna Be with You." Gabriella will attend Stanford and study law. She put her house up for sale before she graduated high school.
- The name Gabriella has many meanings depending on the different languages:
- In Italian, it means "Woman of God"
- In Spanish, it means "God is my strength"
- In Hebrew, it means "Devoted to God"
- Gabriella is the youngest of the High School Musical, High School Musical 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year groups.