Where You've Seen Jenna Ortega Before
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
This is where you know Jenna Ortega from. For this video, we'll be looking at the young actress' career leading up to her role as the iconic Wednesday Addams. Our video includes "X," "Wednesday," "Scream," and more!
Where You Know Jenna Ortega From
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re discussing Where You Know Jenna Ortega From.
For this video, we’ll be looking at the young actress’ career leading up to her role as the iconic Wednesday Addams. In the interest of time, we won’t mention much about her smaller stints, such as commercial roles.
Are you excited about her upcoming series “Wednesday”? Let us know in the comments.
Getting Her Start in Hollywood
Jenna Marie Ortega, born September 27, 2002, in Coachella Valley, California, knew she wanted to be an actress since she was 6 years old. She has cited Dakota Fanning’s performance in “Man on Fire” as inspiration, declaring that she wanted to be “the Puerto Rican version of her.” Though Ortega’s mother was initially hesitant, but a couple of years later, she bought her a book of monologues. After posting a video of Jenna delivering one of the dramatic monologues on Facebook, it wasn’t long before the Ortegas were in contact with an agent. Within three months, an 8-year-old Jenna was auditioning in Los Angeles.
Like every young actor, she started with small television parts. First was an episode of the short-lived CBS sitcom “Rob” in 2012, followed by an episode of “CSI: NY” and another of “Days of Our Lives”. In 2013, she made her big screen debut in “Iron Man 3” as Vice President Rodriguez’s daughter. Though her appearance was brief, having her first film role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a huge accomplishment. That same year, she was in “Insidious: Chapter 2” as Annie, a young girl with the ability to see ghosts. She also appeared in two episodes of Nickelodeon’s anthology series “Deadtime Stories.” The next year included a part in “The Little Rascals Save the Day” as Mary Ann and a stint on the American adaptation of Australian dramedy “Rake” playing Zoe Leon.
One of Jenna Ortega’s first notable roles was as the younger version of Gina Rodriguez’s Jane Villanueva in the CW’s hit series “Jane the Virgin.” The series gave her a chance to represent her Latinx heritage through the character. The actress had continued success in television in 2015, playing Darcy in the comic-based series “Richie Rich.” Of course, Ortega’s breakout role came in 2016, where she starred as Harley Diaz in the Disney Channel’s “Stuck in the Middle,” earning her two nominations and one win for the Imagen Awards’ Best Young Actor in the television category.
The bilingual actress was then cast in “Elena of Avalor” as Princess Isabel, the little sister of Elena, Disney’s first Latina Princess. Her character was also featured in the TV movie “Elena and the Secret of Avalor.” During this year of “firsts”, Ortega also made her theater debut in the summer run of “New York Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes.”
As “Stuck in the Middle” came to an end in 2018, Jenna took on more Disney roles, guest starring in an episode of “Bizaardvark” as Izzy, and later voicing Gabriella Espinosa on “Big City Greens.”
Netflix & Indie Film Success
By 2019, Jenna Ortega was ready to shed the Disney image. Her career really took off when she joined the cast of Netflix’s “You” in its second season as Ellie Alves, the tech-savvy teen who unknowingly crosses paths with stalker Joe Goldberg or, his LA persona, Will Bettelheim. This was just her first of many projects for the streaming platform. She would go from a serial killer thriller straight into horror with the supporting role of Phoebe Atwell in the teen slasher sequel “The Babysitter: Killer Queen” in 2020.
Returning to her kid-friendly roots, she also voiced the character of Brooklynn for Netflix’s animated series “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” from 2020 to 2022. During that time, she played Jennifer Garner’s daughter Katie Torres in “Yes Day.” Ortega started taking on more film projects like the dark indie drama “The Fallout” starring alongside Maddie Ziegler as Vada Cavell, a teen navigating the lasting trauma of a school tragedy. It first premiered at the 2021 South by Southwest film festival, earning Ortega praise for her emotional performance.
Art & Activism
From a young age, Jenna Ortega has been involved in several causes. At 13, she started supporting the LGBT rights and acceptance campaign Pride Over Prejudice. Also, during her Disney days, she helped organize a fundraiser for young cancer patient named Riley Rose Sherman.
Since her beginnings in the industry, Ortega has been vocal about the importance of Latinx representation in the media. And as she got older, she used her platform to raise awareness for social issues in the community, including discrimination and anti-immigration rhetoric. At the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards, she made headlines when she wore a jacket with the words “I Do Care and U Should Too” in response to Melania Trump’s controversial wardrobe choice while visiting detained migrant children in Texas. Ortega encourages her generation to have the confidence to speak out about important causes. In addition, she’s worked with youth empowerment organizations like DoSomething and the WE Charity.
In 2020, Ortega became a brand ambassador for Neutrogena, promoting not only skincare but diversity in skin health. On social media, she posts inspirational messages about inclusivity and connecting with others. And, while shooting two movies in 2021, Ortega further proved that she’s wise beyond her years with her first book “It’s All Love: Reflections for Your Heart & Soul.” In the book, she discusses personal struggles with mental health, building self-confidence, and the power of kindness.
Certified Scream Queen
With a string of movie releases, 2022 was the year of Jenna Ortega. The fifth installment of the “Scream” franchise premiered in January starring Ortega as Tara Carpenter, the younger sister of Melissa Barrera’s leading final girl Sam. In a callback to the 1996 film’s iconic opening scene with Drew Barrymore, Tara plays a deadly game of scary movie trivia with Ghostface, except she lives to tell about it. Later that year, she won Most Frightened Performance at MTV Movie & TV Awards.
In February, she was featured in another opening scene in the haunted house flick “Studio 666,” which is based on a story written by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl who also stars in the film. Months later, she was a lead character in the indie horror “American Carnage” but, she’s probably most recognized as Lorraine Day in Ti West’s widely successful 1970s-inspired horror “X.” Armed with the perfect gut-wrenching shriek, Ortega has solidified herself as horror royalty. With the actress being a big fan of horror herself, she’s sure to continue her reign as the ultimate scream queen.
Wednesday Addams & Beyond
While filming “X” in New Zealand, Ortega got word that master of the macabre Tim Burton wanted to speak with her about Netflix’s Addams Family spin-off titled “Wednesday” - and for the title role, no less! Though she didn’t intend to get back into television, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. The series, premiering in November 2022, follows the iconic character as a high schooler at Nevermore Academy, a boarding school for outcasts. As she comes into her supernatural abilities, she’s thrown into a murder mystery while awkwardly making friends and enemies.
Whether it’s a family-friendly comedy, intense drama, or scary horror flick, Jenna Ortega’s proven she has the range to do it all. Her upcoming projects include films “Finestkind” and “Miller’s Girl.” In 2023, she’s slated to reprise her role as Tara in “Scream 6.” With aspirations of writing, directing, and producing, this rising star is well on her way to a long, successful career.