Jenna Ortega, the breakout artist of the year, recently celebrated her 21st birthday with a tarot-card reading. The experience urged her to appreciate the present moment and acknowledge how far she has come. Reflecting on her journey, Ortega describes the past year as a transformative time in her life. She has had a series of major accomplishments, including starring in high-profile films like the latest Scream installment and being the face of global campaigns for Dior and Adidas. However, it was her role as Wednesday in the Tim Burton-directed Addams Family reboot that catapulted her to a new level of fame. The show became Netflix’s most popular English-language series ever, and Ortega received critical acclaim for her performance, earning her Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
With fame comes its share of challenges. Ortega has had to face viral memes, vicious trolls, and zealous fans. Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes that limit her from discussing the show, Ortega takes time to reflect on her personal and professional life as she enters this new chapter. Instead of a typical 21st birthday celebration, Ortega chose to spend a peaceful day on the beach in Normandy, confronting her fear of horses and writing in her journal. It was the first time in 10 years that she didn’t have to work on her birthday. Ortega confesses that she felt pressure to celebrate in a certain way, but ultimately, she prefers peace and quiet over a night of clubbing.
Today, Ortega is hard at work at a shoot for Harper’s Bazaar, taking place in Paris. Despite her busy schedule, she remains grounded and focused on her craft. She is a natural in front of the camera, captivating audiences with her mesmerizing performances. However, she also admits to being a massive introvert, preferring quiet contemplation between takes. In a world where social media amplifies attention and scrutiny, Ortega is careful about how she presents herself. She is aware of the risk of her words being misconstrued and reminds her fans not to believe everything they see or hear.
In a follow-up conversation, Ortega appears more relaxed, having just enjoyed a weekend of socializing with friends. She explains her nomadic lifestyle, spending very little time in her own apartment over the past two years. Growing up in the Coachella Valley, Ortega had dreams of performing from a young age. Her mother supported her passion, often taking time off work to accompany her to auditions in Los Angeles. Ortega feels a sense of responsibility and works hard to make her family’s sacrifices worthwhile.
As a child actor, Ortega faced challenges due to limited representation opportunities for Hispanic actors. The pressure was immense, and she even considered changing her appearance to fit in. However, she realized that embracing her true self was a more powerful choice. Her mission now is to be a positive role model for young girls, encouraging them to love and accept themselves as they are. As part of the Latinx diaspora, Ortega acknowledges the debates about what it means to be truly Latina. While she may not be fluent in Spanish or have spent much time in Latin American countries, she hopes her presence in the industry paves the way for better representation.
Control is an ongoing theme in Ortega’s life. She desires to have more agency in her career, to orchestrate her own future and make specific, precise moves. She yearns for the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. The spotlight brings immense pressure, but Ortega is determined to overcome her fear and continue growing as an actor.
Beyond acting, Ortega has interests in other creative pursuits. She is keen to explore opportunities behind the camera, both as a producer and a director. She wants to exercise her creativity and voice in new ways. Music is also a significant part of Ortega’s life. She plays the cello and enjoys composing and connecting with others through music. Writing is yet another outlet for her, a form of therapeutic expression.
Looking to the future, Ortega is grateful for her accomplishments thus far but is also excited about what lies ahead. She plans to appreciate her journey while remaining open to the unknown. Mistakes are welcomed as valuable learning experiences. With her talent and determination, there is no doubt that Ortega will continue to shine as she navigates her path in the entertainment industry.