- "You're a cool guy, Troy. But not for the reasons your friends think. And thanks for showing me your top secret hiding place....like kindergarten."
- —Gabriella to Troy
Beautiful and academically gifted, she meets Troy at a lodge during thier winter vacation and are forced to sing in a karaoke contest. They instantly feel a connection with one another and as fate would have they end up attending the same school, where their relationship blossoms from mutual puppy crushes to a passionate romance set to last for years to come.
High School Musical
Gabriella and Troy meet at a New Year's Eve party while both are at a ski lodge during winter break. Troy is the captain of East High School's basketball team, and Gabriella is extremely shy and academic. At the party, the two are thrown into singing karaoke together. They feel very attracted to one another, and exchange numbers before parting ways.
After break, Troy and Gabriella meet again at East High in Ms. Darbus' homeroom, and later she explains that she just moved to Albuquerque and transferred to East High over break after her mother's job tranfered them, though her mother promised that they wouldn't transfer agin until after she graduates. Troy shows Gabriella around the school, and they pause in front of the sign-up sheet for the winter musical auditions, where she Sharpay Evans, who assumes that Gabriella is interested in auditioning. In order to eliminate competition for the lead, Sharpay investigates her past and arranges for the scholastic decathlon captain, Taylor McKessie, to find out about Gabriella's past academic achievements, she refuses to join the team, but Taylor and her quickly become good friends.
During free period, Gabriella and Troy both go to the musical auditions where Sharpay and her twin brother Ryan Evans perform, but both are too shy to audition. When Gabriella finally summons the courage to step forward, Troy offers to sing with her, but Ms. Darbus tells them that they are too late. After Ms. Darbus apparently leaves, Kelsi Nielsen, the composer]of the musical, trips and drops her things. Troy and Gabriella rush to help her, and they sing together as Kelsi plays piano. Ms. Darbus overhears them and gives them a callback audition.
When the callback list is posted, Sharpay is furious to learn that she has competition for the lead in the musical, and the rest of the Wildcats are shocked that Troy and Gabriella have auditioned for a musical. Since Gabriella has agreed to join the scholastic decathlon team, both Taylor and Chad Danforth, Troy's best friend, want their teammates to focus on their upcoming competitions rather than the musical. To help Troy and Gabriella return to normal, Chad and the basketball team trick Troy into saying that Gabriella is not important while she watches through a wi-fi link that the scholastic decathlon team has set up. Gabriella, heartbroken, refuses to talk to Troy and decides not to audition for the musical. Chad and Taylor feel guilty for ruining Troy and Gabriella's relationship, and decide to tell them the truth. After Chad and the basketball team tell Troy what they did and offer to support him in callbacks, Troy goes to Gabriella's house and they make up.
Intimidated after overhearing Gabriella and Troy practicing, Sharpay convinces Ms. Darbus to change the callback time to coincide with both the basketball championship and the scholastic decathlon, so that Gabriella and Troy cannot participate. Kelsi overhears the conversation and the basketball team and the decathlon team work together to come up with a plan. On the day of the competitions, Taylor and Gabriella use the school's computers to cause a series of mishaps that delay the big game and the decathlon. With both competitions delayed, Troy and Gabriella rush to the auditorium, and Sharpay and Ryan finish performing their song, confident that their plan worked. Troy and Gabriella then audition and Ms. Darbus gives Troy and Gabriella the lead roles, making Sharpay and Ryan understudies. Troy and Gabriella both win their respective competitions, and the film ends when the entire school gathers in the gym to celebrate.
High School Musical 2
By the end of the school year Gabriella and Troy are still dating. Troy eventually decides to look for a summer job to gain money for college.
The Evans twins plan to spend the summer at their family's country club, Lava Springs, but Sharpay's summer plans also include pursuing Troy, whom she has arranged to be hired at the club. However, Troy convinces the club's manager, Mr. Fulton, into hiring Gabriella and their close group of friends as well; including Taylor and Chad. Sharpay is enraged upon learning that Gabriella is working as one of the lifeguards but is unable to get her fired so she orders Fulton to give them difficult tasks so they would be best to quit. Fulton attempts to intimidate the group but Troy rebuilds their confidence and convinces them that they can persevere.
Troy continues to worry about funding for college and Sharpay arranges for Troy to be promoted, hoping that this will convince him to sing with her at the talent show. Meanwhile, Kelsi writes a ballad for Troy and Gabriella. Troy agrees to sing with his friends in the show, not knowing that Sharpay is vying for his attention. Taylor and Gabriella invite Ryan to the baseball game, where he persuades the Wildcats to take part in the talent show. Troy and Gabriella's relationship is strained when Troy sees Ryan with Gabriella, sparking jealousy.
When Sharpay discovers that Ryan and the Wildcats are putting together their own performance in the show, she orders Mr. Fulton to ban all junior staff members from performing. Gabriella angrily confronts Sharpay about her interference and quits her job at Lava Springs. Troy overhears the exchange, and tries to persuade Gabriella to change her mind. Gabriella expresses her loss of trust with Troy and leaves Lava Springs.
At Sharpay's supposed instruction, Ryan gives Troy a new song to learn moments before the show. As Troy goes onstage, he asks Sharpay why she switched the song, and Sharpay is shocked to find that her brother tricked her. Troy sings the song ("Everyday") alone, until Gabriella, after some encouragement from Taylor, surprisingly joins him onstage. In the end, Sharpay proudly presents her brother, Ryan, with the award for the talent show. After the talent show, all the Wildcats go to the golf course to enjoy the fireworks, where Troy and Gabriella share a sweet, passionate kiss.
Everyone celebrates the end of the summer with a staff only pool party.
High School Musical 3
- "I guess my heart just doesn't know it's in high school."
- —Gabriella to Troy
The next day, when Ms. Darbus notices that there are so few sign-ups for the spring musical, Sharpay suggests she could do a one-woman show. This alarms Kelsi, who is writing the show, so she immediately signs up everyone in their homeroom for it instead. This results in Ms. Darbus announcing they will create a play about their final days at East High, called Senior Year.She also reveals that Sharpay, Ryan, Kelsi, and Troy have all been considered for a scholarship at Juilliard School, but only one of them is to be chosen. Troy is confused, because he did not apply to Juilliard.
The next morning, Troy asks Gabriella to the dance at their secret roof top hiding place and she teaches him how to waltz. The group rehearses for the musical, a scene about their prom night. That night Gabriella and Taylor are going over which pictures to put in the yearbook.
Soon Sharpay and, her british assistant, Tiara Gold discover that Gabriella has a chance to go to college early to Stanford and Sharpay convinces Troy that he is the only thing keeping Gabriella from her dream. Troy talks to Gabriella about this and after sharing an awkward goodnight, Gabriella sings and leaves for college the next day.Troy soon gets a call from Gabriella saying that although she loves him, she will not return to Albuquerque. However, on the day of the prom, Troy visits Gabriella at Stanford University and convinces her to return and they kiss sweetly together during her lunch break. After a series of events, Troy and Gabriella appear during the second half of the show and sing their duet together. At the end of the musical, Ms. Darbus reveals that both Kelsi and Ryan have won the Juilliard scholarship and tells about everyone's future plans, in which Troy reveals he's chosen Berkeley so he can be close to Gabriella where he can play both basketball and perform in theatre.
At the graduation ceremony, Troy gives the class speech. Throwing their caps in the air, the graduates form a giant wildcat before breaking out into song and dance to the tune of "High School Musical". As the film ends, Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad and Taylor run across the field, the curtain falls, and they appear on the East High stage. They do their famous High School Musical jump with a close up of the six in order before bowing before the curtain falls.
- "Did you ever feel like there's a whole other person inside you just looking for a way to come out?"
- —Gabriella to Taylor
Gabriella is initially portrayed as very shy, insecure in her abilities, but still very intelligent, sweet, friendly and kind. Even after feeling betrayed by Troy in the first film, she remained withdrawn and kind about ending their relationship.
By HSM2, she has grown very much in her short time in East High. She's becomes more open, outgoing and is shown to be a encouraging factor in her group of friends. She's also shown to have become quite capable and strong on her own, this is clear when she confronts Sharpay.
By the end of HSM3, Gabriella has fully blossomed from a shy, awkward bookworm into a lovely, spirited, mature, charming and self aware young woman. Though her emotions sometimes get the best of her, her love for her friends and Troy keep her going.
Gabriella is shown to be stunningly beautiful, though she's oblivious to this. Her signature wavy chestnut hair, light olive skin and big, beautiful brown eyes are some of the factors that make Troy's heart beat a little faster each time he sees her. Along with her personal evolution, Gabriella's style choices have evolved as well.
In HSM, her clothing is very casual and demure, as a way to not draw attention to herself. Though as the film goes on her color choices go from muted colors, like pale pinks and pale blues, to bolder and brighter colors, like lime green and orange.
In HSM2, her clothing is very summery and laid back. She's wearing a lot of bright floral attire and pastels. She has also cut her hair into a bolder short style.
In HSM3, her style is very Bohemian. She shown wearing flirty floral dresses, sometimes coupled with a scarf or a cardigan. Even her prom dress has alot of floral touches. She's gone back to wearing muted, cool colors but in a style that shows off her femininity and grace. She also wears a lot of turquoise stones and big wooden beads.
Gabriella is the only character that has interacted with all of the Wildcats in some way. Though she mainly interacts with Troy and Taylor, she has also made friends with Kelsi, Ryan, Martha, Jason, Zeke, and seemingly, by the end of HSM3, Sharpay.
Upon meeting Troy, Gabriella instantly fell for him, almost literally. Their relationship has grown from puppy love to a passionate romance. They treat each other with kindness and love and they rarely, if ever, have any serious arguments. They encourage each other to reach their full potential and support each other, when the other is in some type of distress. Still their romance has hit some bumps here and there, either from their naivete or their lack of communication, both issues that they resolve together. They've over come many odds, from people's objects to their love to personal battles, and have maintain a strong, healthy, loving relationship.
Gabriella and Taylor quickly became good friends. Taylor showed her the ins and outs of East High and looked out for her. Taylor is a big sister figure to Gabriella and she's always looking out for her best interest. After wronging her during the events of the first film, Taylor quickly made up for it by supporting Gabriella and pushing her to achieve her goals in life. Though they're almost complete opposites in personality they work very well together and love each other dearly.
Kelsi and Gabriella have gotten along great since the moment they met. She has been a great influence on Kelsi, helping her get over her shyness and branch in order make friends and become her own person. Gabriella has always been very supportive on Kelsi and her music and they two have become close friends over their time in East High.
For the better part of the series, Sharpay has disliked Gabriella greatly, mostly because of her being Troy's girlfriend, whom she has a crush on, and for getting the lead in the Twinkle Towne musical. She has gone through great lengths in order to sabotage Gabriella and Troy's relationship, all while trying to take him for herself. Though, each time it her plans fall through. Gabriella, for the most part, seems to be oblivious to Sharpay's hatred towards her, but isn't afraid to stand up to her if she steps too far out of line, as scene in the memorable confrontation scene in HSM2. By the end of the trilogy, the two seem to be on good terms.
Although they don't interact in the first film, by HSM2 the two grow a friendship. Gabriella befriends him and encourages him to use his talents to help the employees be apart of the club talent show. Ryan greatly appreciates her belief in him and he seems to develop a small crush on her, though he'd never truly act on it. By the third film, we see Ryan has become a more confident person thanks to his summer with Gabriella, who still supports him through he choreographing.
Though they rarely interact, they are shown to be in good terms and often joke around together. Chad has also given her the nickname, "The Gabster".