Jenna Ortega (Actress) – Biography Point

Jenna Ortega

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Jenna Ortega (Actress)

Jenna Marie Ortega, born on September 27, 2002, is a prominent American actress whose career began in childhood. She first gained widespread recognition for her portrayal of young Jane in The CW’s comedy-drama series “Jane the Virgin” (2014–2019). From 2016 to 2018, Ortega played Harley Diaz in the Disney Channel series “Stuck in the Middle,” a role that earned her an Imagen Award.

In 2019, Ortega took on the role of Ellie Alves in the second season of Netflix’s thriller series “You,” followed by a starring role in the family film “Yes Day” in 2021. Her performance in the teen drama film “The Fallout” (2021) was critically acclaimed.

Ortega’s career continued to rise with her roles in the

2022 slasher films “Scream” and “X,” solidifying her status as a modern scream queen. The same year, she began starring as Wednesday Addams in the Netflix horror-comedy series “Wednesday.” Her portrayal of Wednesday Addams received critical acclaim and earned her nominations for Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. This role has significantly boosted her profile and established her as a versatile and talented actress in both television and film.

Palm Desert, California, U.S.

Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Jenna Marie Ortega
NameJenna Ortega
Date of BirthSeptember 27, 2002
Birth PlacePalm Desert, California, U.S.
ProfessionActress
Age21
Height1.55 m
Siblings
  • Aliyah Ortega,
  • Mia Ortega,
  • Mariah Ortega,
  • Isaac Ortega,
  • Markus Ortega
Career2012–present
ParentsNatalie Ortega, Edward Ortega

Early Life and Background

Jenna Marie Ortega, born on September 27, 2002, in Palm Desert, California, is the fourth of six siblings. Her father, of Mexican descent, is a former sheriff now working at the California district attorney’s office, while her mother, of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, is an emergency room nurse. Ortega’s maternal great-grandmother immigrated from Sinaloa, Mexico, and her maternal grandfather hailed from Puerto Rico. She was raised in La Quinta, California.

From a young age, Ortega aspired to become an actress. At six, she began persistently asking her mother to support her dream. Despite her mother’s attempts to divert her attention to activities like soccer and school, Ortega’s passion for acting remained strong. Eventually, her mother bought her a monologue book and posted a video of nine-year-old Ortega performing a monologue online. This video caught the attention of a casting director, who subsequently signed her to an agency.

Ortega’s mother started driving her to Los Angeles for auditions, a journey that could take up to six hours roundtrip, five days a week. Despite facing challenges in securing roles due to limited opportunities for Latinas and feeling that she “didn’t look [a certain] way,” Ortega persevered. In her first year, she focused on commercial auditions and successfully landed parts in 12 national campaigns, including three McDonald’s commercials.

Balancing her budding career and education, Ortega attended Amelia Earhart Elementary School and John Glenn Middle School. However, she left school during eighth grade to fully commit to acting, particularly after landing a role in the Disney Channel series “Stuck in the Middle” (2016–2018). During this period, she lived in Los Angeles during the workweek for filming and returned home on weekends.

Career

2012–2017: Early Acting Roles and Disney

Jenna Ortega began her acting career in 2012 with a role in the sitcom “Rob” and later appeared in the “CSI: NY” episode “Unspoken” as a shooting victim. Her film debut came in 2013 with a minor role as the vice president’s daughter in “Iron Man 3.” That same year, she appeared in the horror film “Insidious: Chapter 2.”

From 2014 to 2019, Ortega had a recurring role in The CW’s comedy-drama series “Jane the Virgin,” portraying a young Jane Villanueva. Her performance was praised for avoiding the typical child actor clichés. She also starred in “The Little Rascals Save the Day” (2014) and the Netflix sitcom “Richie Rich” (2015). Her role in the comedy-drama film “After Words” (2015) received mixed reviews, with some critics praising her adorability and others finding her performance overly sentimental.

Ortega’s big break came with her leading role in the Disney Channel sitcom “Stuck in the Middle” (2016–2018), where she played Harley Diaz, an aspiring inventor and the middle child of seven siblings. Her performance was well-received, earning her three Imagen Award nominations for Best Young Actor – Television, including a win in 2018. During this period, she also voiced Princess Isabel in the animated series “Elena and the Secret of Avalor” and “Elena of Avalor” (2016–2020).

2018–2021: Transition to Mature Roles

In 2018, Ortega took on more mature roles, starting with the lead role of Dawn in the film “Saving Flora.” She then starred as Ellie Alves in the second season of the Netflix thriller series “You,” released in December 2019. Her performance was noted as a standout, although scheduling conflicts prevented her from returning for subsequent seasons.

Ortega played Phoebe in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” (2020) and voiced Brooklynn in the animated series “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” (2020–2022). She made her writing debut in 2021 with the book “It’s All Love: Reflections for Your Heart & Soul.” That same year, she starred in the Netflix comedy film “Yes Day” as a teenager seeking more independence, earning praise for her performance.

Her role in the high-school drama film “The Fallout” (2021) marked a significant shift, as she portrayed a student dealing with trauma after a school shooting. Ortega’s performance received widespread acclaim, with critics praising her nuanced and moving portrayal.

2022–Present: Mainstream Success and “Wednesday”

In 2022, Ortega starred in the slasher film “Scream” as Tara Carpenter, a role that showcased her ability to balance horror and comedic tones. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning her the MTV Movie Award for Most Frightened Performance. She also appeared in the horror film “Studio 666” and starred in Ti West’s slasher film “X,” which became her best-reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes.

Ortega’s most notable role came with her portrayal of Wednesday Addams in the Netflix series “Wednesday” (2022). Despite initial reluctance, she accepted the role due to Tim Burton’s involvement. She underwent a significant transformation for the character, including learning to play the cello and speaking German. Her performance was critically acclaimed, leading to nominations for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award. The show became one of Netflix’s most-watched series, and Ortega’s portrayal of Wednesday Addams was a key factor in its success.

Ortega reprised her role as Tara Carpenter in “Scream VI” (2023), contributing to the film’s box office success. She also hosted “Saturday Night Live” in March 2023 and starred in the crime thriller film “Finestkind,” although her performance received mixed reviews.

In 2024, Ortega starred opposite Martin Freeman in “Miller’s Girl,” playing a high school student whose writing talent catches her teacher’s interest. The film, which deals with complex and provocative themes, showcased Ortega’s ability to tackle challenging roles, although it received mixed critical reception.

Upcoming Projects

Jenna Ortega has an exciting lineup of upcoming projects showcasing her versatility and growing influence in the film industry. She will star in Tim Burton’s fantasy film “Beetlejuice 2” (2024), a sequel to the iconic “Beetlejuice” (1988). Additionally, Ortega has joined the cast of “Klara and the Sun” (2024), directed by Taika Waititi, based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel.

Ortega is also set to appear in and executive-produce the romantic drama “Winter Spring Summer or Fall,” as well as an untitled film directed by Trey Edward Shults, co-starring The Weeknd and Barry Keoghan. Another significant project on her horizon is the dark comedy “Death of a Unicorn,” where she will co-star with Paul Rudd, and “Alba,” both of which will be produced and distributed by A24.

Moreover, Ortega will reprise her role as Wednesday Addams in the second season of Netflix’s “Wednesday.” She has taken on the role of executive producer for the new season, a move she describes as a “natural progression” due to the collaborative nature of the first season. Ortega will play a significant role in overseeing the costumes, characters, and scripts for the upcoming season.

Other View

Jenna Ortega has actively used her platform to support various social causes, particularly focusing on immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community. She is a vocal supporter of Pride Over Prejudice, a campaign by DoSomething that advocates for immigrants and refugees. Ortega’s pro-immigration and anti-discrimination stance is evident in her statements, such as when she told Teen Vogue, “It’s important to embrace your culture today because there are so many different ethnicities in America. At the end of the day, you are you. You’ve got to stay true to yourself, and you can’t change yourself in order to fit in or to make someone else feel comfortable.” Additionally, Ortega advocates for women’s rights.

In 2016, Ortega organized a meet-and-greet event to raise funds for a young girl battling cancer. Her activism gained widespread attention in 2018 when she wore a jacket with the message “I Do Care and U Should Too” at the Radio Disney Music Awards. This was a direct response to First Lady Melania Trump’s controversial jacket, which read, “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” during a visit to immigrant children separated from their parents. Ortega’s protest received significant media coverage, highlighting her belief that everyone should care about each other and the country.

Ortega has participated in numerous WE Day benefit concerts across the U.S. and Canada to raise funds for WE Charity. In 2023, she joined Artists4Ceasefire, signing a letter urging the U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza amidst the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

In the commercial sphere, Ortega became a brand ambassador for Neutrogena in 2020, leading its “My Quinceañera Journey” campaign. By 2023, she expanded her ambassador roles to include sportswear giant Adidas and luxury fashion brand Dior. She became the face of Adidas Sportswear, the company’s first new line in 50 years, and represented Dior in the #DareInGrisDior campaign.

Artistry View

Influences

Jenna Ortega was inspired to pursue acting after watching Dakota Fanning in the 2004 thriller film “Man on Fire.” Fascinated by Fanning’s performance, Ortega watched the film multiple times and decided she wanted to be “the Puerto Rican version of [Fanning].” She also admired Fanning’s sister, Elle, and followed both of their careers closely. As she grew older, Ortega aspired to be “the female version” of Denzel Washington, who also starred in “Man on Fire.” Additionally, she looks up to Latina actresses like Gina Rodriguez and Disney Channel stars Selena Gomez and Zendaya, appreciating their journeys and the barriers they broke in the industry. In 2021, Ortega mentioned Riz Ahmed as a career role model, praising his acting, manner of speaking, and activism.

Acting Style and Role Choices

Megan Park, who directed Ortega in “The Fallout,” noted Ortega’s unique ability to know “when to give her all and when to hold back,” a rare trait for a young performer. Tim Burton, who directed her in “Wednesday,” compared her acting to silent film performances, highlighting her ability to convey emotion through her eyes. Ortega values taking diverse roles to avoid being typecast, expressing in a 2021 interview that she did not want to be “pigeonholed as an actor.” She finds horror roles particularly therapeutic and enjoys the genre. In 2023, she mentioned being mindful of not over-indulging in gore, reflecting on her complex feelings about her career path.

Public Image

Ortega has been described as “poised, mature, and wise beyond her years” by Who What Wear, while Harper’s Bazaar in 2023 called her “quiet and contemplative.” The Hollywood Reporter named her one of “Hollywood’s Top 30 Stars Under Age 18” in 2018 and dubbed her the “Next Big Thing” in 2022. Her work in horror films has earned her the title “Gen Z’s scream queen,” and in 2023, MovieWeb ranked her among the best scream queens of all time. Despite her social media presence, Ortega has expressed reservations about the platform, describing it as manipulative and a “comparing game.” She became cautious about her online comments post-“Wednesday,” noting that her sarcastic nature could easily be misinterpreted.

Fashion

Ortega is considered a style icon. Her early red-carpet appearances featured bright colors, patterned outfits, and numerous accessories. Her stylist, Enrique Melendez, initially dressed her in age-appropriate yet stylish attire from brands like RED Valentino and Thom Browne, aiming to differentiate her from other Disney stars. After her role in “You,” Ortega’s style evolved to include darker clothing and heavier makeup, reflecting a goth glam aesthetic influenced by her character Wednesday Addams. Vogue described her off-screen style as having a “dark, gothic fashion sensibility,” and Ortega acknowledged that playing Wednesday significantly influenced her fashion preferences.

Personal life

Jenna Ortega finds solace and stability in her close-knit relationships with friends and family. She credits them with providing a sense of safety and grounding amidst the challenges of her demanding career, stating that her family helps to “keep [her] feet on the ground.” Growing up in an industry predominantly filled with adults, Ortega feels she was compelled to mature faster than most of her peers.

Ortega adhered to a vegan diet for many years but transitioned to a pescatarian lifestyle while filming “Wednesday,” adjusting her dietary choices to accommodate the demands of her role.

Summary

Jenna Ortega has garnered recognition for her outstanding performances in various television series and films. Her achievements include winning prestigious awards such as The Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award at the Austin Film Critics Association Awards in 2023 for her roles in “The Fallout,” “Scream,” “X,” and “Studio 666.” She also secured the Critics’ Choice Super Award for Best Actress in a Horror Series for her portrayal of Wednesday in the series “Wednesday.” Additionally, Ortega earned the MTV Movie & TV Award for Most Frightened Performance for her role in “Scream” and won the Favorite Female TV Star (Family) category at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for her performance in “Wednesday.” Notably, she was recognized at the People’s Choice Awards as The Drama Movie Star of the Year for her role in “Scream VI” and received the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series for her portrayal of Wednesday.

Alongside her wins, Ortega has received numerous nominations, showcasing her versatility and talent. These nominations include the AACTA Awards for Audience Choice Favourite Actress, Critics’ Choice Super Awards for Best Actress in a Horror Movie, Dorian Awards for Rising Star Award, Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for Best Supporting Performance, and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Additionally, she received nominations at the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards for Best Actress, Imagen Awards for Best Young Actor – Television, MTV Movie & TV Awards for Best Hero and Best Duo, Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.

Career Statistics

Filmography

Film22
Television16
Video gamesN/A
Music VideoN/A
Total38

Awards

Won8
Nominated13
Total21

Television

YearTitleRoleRef.
2012RobGirl 
2012CSI: NYAimee Moore 
2013Days of Our LivesHayley 
2014RakeZoe Leon 
2014Jane the VirginYoung Jane Villanueva (age 12) 
2015Richie RichDarcy 
2016Stuck in the MiddleHarley Diaz 
2016Elena and the Secret of AvalorPrincess Isabel 
2016Elena of AvalorPrincess Isabel 
2018BizaardvarkIzzy 
2019Big City GreensGabriella Espinosa 
2019YouEllie Alves 
2020Home Movie: The Princess BridePrincess Buttercup 
2020Jurassic World Camp CretaceousBrooklynn 
2022WednesdayWednesday Addams / Goody Addams 
2023Saturday Night LiveHerself (host) 

Film

YearTitleRoleRef.
2013Iron Man 3Vice President’s daughter 
2013Insidious: Chapter 2Annie 
2014The Little Rascals Save the DayMary Ann 
2015After WordsAnna Chapa 
2018Saving FloraDawn 
2019WyrmSuzie 
2020The Babysitter: Killer QueenPhoebe Atwell 
2021Yes DayKatie Torres 
2021The FalloutVada Cavell 
2022ScreamTara Carpenter 
2022Studio 666Skye Willow 
2022XLorraine Day 
2022American CarnageCamila Montes 
2023Scream VITara Carpenter 
2023FinestkindMabel 
2024Miller’s GirlCairo Sweet 
2024Winter Spring Summer or Fall †Remi 
2024Beetlejuice BeetlejuiceAstrid Deetz 
2024Klara and the Sun †Klara 
TBADeath of a Unicorn †Ridley 
TBAUntitled Trey Edward Shults film †TBA 

 

Video Games

  •  

Music Video

  •  

Awards

Won:

AwardYearCategoryWorkResult
Austin Film Critics Association Awards2023The Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist AwardThe Fallout, Scream, X, and Studio 666Won
Critics’ Choice Super Awards2023Best Actress in a Horror SeriesWednesdayWon
MTV Movie & TV Awards2022Most Frightened PerformanceScreamWon
MTV Movie & TV Awards2023Best Performance in a ShowWednesdayWon
MTV Movie & TV Awards2023Favorite Female TV Star (Family)WednesdayWon
People’s Choice Awards2024The Drama Movie Star of the YearScream VIWon
People’s Choice Awards2023Best Actress – Comedy (Television)WednesdayWon
Saturn Awards2024Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television SeriesWednesdayWon


Nominated:

AwardYearCategoryWorkResult
AACTA Awards2024Audience Choice Favourite ActressNominated
Critics’ Choice Super Awards2024Best Actress in a Horror MovieScream VINominated
Dorian Awards2023Rising Star AwardNominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards2023Best Supporting PerformanceScreamNominated
Golden Globe Awards2023Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or ComedyWednesdayNominated
Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards2022Best ActressThe FalloutNominated
Imagen Awards2016Best Young Actor – TelevisionStuck in the MiddleNominated
Imagen Awards2019Best Young Actor – TelevisionStuck in the MiddleNominated
Imagen Awards2021Best Actress – Feature FilmYes DayNominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards2021Best HeroWednesdayNominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards2021Best DuoWednesdayNominated
Primetime Emmy Awards2024Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesWednesdayNominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards2023Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesWednesdayNominated

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