Jenna Marie Ortega
September 27, 2002
Jenna Marie Ortega (born September 27, 2002) is an American actress. She began her career as a child, playing Annie in the supernatural horror film Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and Mary Ann in the direct-to-video film The Little Rascals Save the Day (2014). She received recognition for her role as Young Jane on The CW comedy drama series Jane the Virgin (2014–19), and had her breakthrough for starring as Harley Diaz on the Disney Channel series Stuck in the Middle (2016–18), which won her the Imagen Award for Best Young Actor on Television in 2018, and voicing Princess Isabel on the Disney Channel animated series Elena of Avalor (2016–2020).
Ortega began making her transition to mainstream film and television starring as Ellie Alves on the Netflix thriller series You (2018–present). She has portrayed Dawn in the independent drama film Saving Flora (2018), Phoebe in the horror film The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020), and Katie in the comedy film Yes Day (2021). She received praise for her role as Vada in the drama film The Fallout (2021), which is considered her breakout film role, and starred as Tara Carpenter in the slasher film Scream (2022), which was a critical and commercial success. She currently voices Brooklyn on the Netflix animated series Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous (2020–present), and has several upcoming projects.
Aside from acting, Ortega has been noted for her philanthropy as well as her public image, being listed first on PopSugar's "20 Under 20" list in 2020. She is also known for her fashion sense, being registered across various social media as an active internet personality, and has been praised for her activism towards discrimination and LGBT rights.
Jenna Ortega was born on September 27, 2002, in Coachella Valley, California, the fourth of six children. Her father is of Mexican American descent and her mother is of Mexican and Puerto Rican ancestry. Due to her career, Ortega has not "really lived a normal lifestyle" and has expressed regret at missing the traditional high school experience and teenage milestones such as prom and graduation.
2012–2017: Early work and breakthrough
Ortega had become interested in acting from the age of six. By the age of eight, with her mother's help and agents, she eventually began receiving auditions, and soon made her acting debut in 2012 with a guest appearance for Rob, in the episode "Baby Bug." Following this was an appearance on CSI: NY on the episode "Unspoken" as Aimee Moore. In 2013, she made her film debut with a minor role in the superhero movie Iron Man 3 as the vice president's daughter. Following this, Ortega starred in the horror film Insidious: Chapter 2, the second film in the Insidious franchise, as Annie, a supporting role. Both films were successful at the box-office.
In 2014, Ortega had a recurring role on the series Rake, playing Zoe Leon. In the same year, she was cast in the recurring role of the younger version of Jane on the romantic-drama series Jane the Virgin throughout the entirety of the show's run. Also in 2014, she starred as Mary Ann in the direct-to-video comedy film The Little Rascals Save the Day. In 2015, Ortega was cast for the Netflix original series Richie Rich as part of the main cast, playing Darcy, a gold digger who spends Richie's money even without his consent; the show was panned. In the same year, she appeared in the film After Words as Anna Chapa.
From 2016 to 2018, Ortega then went on to star in the lead of the Disney Channel sitcom Stuck in the Middle as Harley Diaz, the middle child of the seven Diaz siblings who is an aspiring inventor. The show was well received, and Ortega received an Imagen Award for her performance, as well as being nominated for two others. In the same year, she joined the cast on Disney's Elena of Avalor, as the voice of Princess Isabel, which ended in 2020. The show was well received, and she shared another Imagen Award win with the cast, as well as another nomination in 2019. In 2017, she starred in the music video for the single "Chapstick", which was performed by and also stars Jacob Sartorius. In the video, Ortega played Sartorius's love interest, which managed to gain significant media coverage.
2018–present: Transition to mainstream roles
In 2018, Ortega starred in the film Saving Flora as the lead role of Dawn, the daughter of a circus owner. The film received positive reviews from critics, and Ortega received praise for her performance. She received a nomination for Best Lead Actress at the Southampton International Film Festival. The year following, Ortega had been cast in the main role of Ellie Alves on the second season of the Netflix thriller series You, which was released on December 26, 2019. In You, her character is a smart and meddling girl who likes to act older than her true age. Ortega commented on working with co-stars Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti, stating that "I wish I had gotten to shoot with Victoria more, because I think she’s really talented. ... Penn is such an eloquent speaker, so well-thought and so respectful and so kind, and just such a pleasure to work with." The season, alike to the show's first season, was praised as well as Ortega's performance.
In 2019, Ortega was cast as Pheobe in the Netflix horror film The Babysitter: Killer Queen. She said in an segment with Cosmopolitan that she had been "incredibly nervous" when they began filming, stating that "because it was a sequel, all of the other cast members already knew each other ... I went on the set panicking because I didn't know what I was doing." The film was released in September 2020, and received mixed reviews from critics. In 2020, Ortega voiced Brooklyn in the Netflix animated series Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous. The series was met with mixed reviews, although praise went towards Ortega's voicing and the rest of the cast. The series was renewed for a second season, slated to release in 2021.
In 2020, Ortega announced that she would make her writing debut with the book It's All Love, which was released in January 2021. Ortega starred as Katie Torres in the Netflix comedy movie Yes Day; she was cast in 2019, and the film was released in March 2021 to mixed reviews, though her performance was praised. Also released in March 2021 was the high-school drama film The Fallout, where she portrayed the lead role of Vada. Cast in February 2020, filming took place over a month between August and September of that same year. It received a positive response from critics, and Ortega's acting was lauded. The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "...Ortega's beautifully nuanced turn understands the nothing-to-look-at-here façade and the chinks in the armor." Variety magazine described Vada as her breakthrough film role, writing that "Ortega in particular seems to have found her voice."
Ortega was cast as Tara Carpenter in the slasher film Scream in 2020, on which she stated that "I don't even think there are words in the English language to correctly express how happy, excited and nervous I am for this journey." Filming took place in Wilmington, North Carolina from September to November of that same year. On working with co-stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, she stated that "You never know what to expect when you’re meeting people of that standard, but they truly were just the most down-to-earth, sweetest people." The film was released on January 14, 2022, and emerged as a critical and commercial success.
Ortega will additionally star in the upcoming horror film X, and the Foo Fighters-led film Studio 666; the latter will be released in February 2022. Also set for release in 2022 is Tim Burton's supernatural series Wednesday, where she was cast in the lead role of Wednesday Addams, which Ortega called a "new chapter" in her career, stating that she hopes to "do Wednesday Addams justice."
Ortega has gained a following across social media, however she has stated that she believes it to be "inauthentic", and that across her platforms she tries to be "more natural and honest." She has also used her platforms to promote support towards immigrants and politics involving them. In an interview with InStyle in 2021, she stated that "I delete Instagram from my phone probably twice a week. I try to stay away from it as much as possible, but it's hard because now it's how young people connect, ... so much of what is being advertised isn't authentic or necessarily the best for your well-being, so you have to take social media with a grain of salt." Ortega is a supporter of Pride Over Prejudice, a campaign that promotes acceptance towards the LGBT community; she has advocated for the organization since she was the age of 13. She is against anti-immigration and discrimination, and 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."
In 2016, Ortega organized a meet and greet for fans to raise money for a young girl with cancer. In 2018, at the Radio Disney Music Awards, Ortega wore a jacket, which displayed the words "I Do Care And U Should Too" in response to first lady Melania Trump's apparel when she went to visit immigrant children who were being housed without their parents, which said "I Really Don't Care. Do U?". The stand gained significant media coverage. On the action, Ortega told Forbes: "I remember I was going through the news on my phone and I saw what Melania wore on the way to visit the immigrant children. I was so deeply offended and right there at that moment I knew what I wanted my statement to be..." Across 2019, Ortega appeared at numerous WE Day concerts across the United States and Canada to benefit WE Charity.
In 2020, Ortega was named a brand ambassador for Neutrogena. On becoming an ambassador, she told Hola!: "I could not be more ecstatic. I say it over and over, but it really is such a surreal feeling, especially with such an iconic brand, that I have looked up to for such a long time." The following year, Ortega announced on her Instagram that she was partnering with Neutrogena on "For People with Skin", which is a "team commitment to advance skin health for all consumers, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, skin need, or income." In 2020, Ortega was listed first on a list of PopSugar's "20 Under 20: Young Women Who Are Already Kicking Ass and Taking Names". Ortega's fashion sense has received praise, particularly for her various attire and her general outlook, and in 2020 the magazine Hola! dubbed her the "red carpet darling" in recognition of her style. The Independent Tribune wrote that Ortega was "an impressively poised young actor". Magazine Flaunt praised her acting style, stating that "For 18-year-old Jenna Ortega, seemingly impossible acting feats are conquered in the most bewitching of moments."
Ortega has stated that she feels taking more varied roles in acting is important to her, as to not be typecast. She told E! Online in 2021 that she did not want to be "pigeonholed as an actor, and I want to do the most diverse roles that I possibly can and really switch up." This made the transition to more mature roles easier for her. In an interview with Collider, Ortega said that she was initially inspired to pursue acting after watching the performance of actress Dakota Fanning in the 2004 thriller film Man on Fire, stating that "After watching Dakota, who obviously was so talented from such a young age, I decided that I wanted to be the Puerto Rican version of her." She also said that she'd thought Denzel Washington was "the coolest man I had ever seen in my life." Ortega also cites actress Gina Rodriguez, whom she worked with on the television drama Jane The Virgin, as one of her major influences. She stated that she admires Rodriguez for her story being similar to hers, and for her efforts and ability.
|2013||Iron Man 3||Vice President's daughter|||
|2013||Insidious: Chapter 2||Annie|||
|2014||The Little Rascals Save the Day||Mary Ann|
|2015||After Words||Anna Chapa|||
|2020||The Babysitter: Killer Queen||Phoebe Atwell|||
|2021||Yes Day||Katie Torres|||
|2021||The Fallout||Vada Cavell|||
|2012||Rob||Girl||Episode: "The Baby Bug"|||
|2012||CSI: NY||Aimee Moore||Episode: "Unspoken"|||
|2014||Rake||Zoe Leon||Recurring role|||
|2014–2019||Jane the Virgin||Young Jane Villanueva (age 12)||Recurring role; 27 episodes|||
|2015||Richie Rich||Darcy||Main role|||
|2016–2018||Stuck in the Middle||Harley Diaz||Lead role|||
|2016–2020||Elena of Avalor||Princess Isabel||Main voice role|||
|2016||Elena and the Secret of Avalor||Voice role; television film|||
|2018||Bizaardvark||Izzy||Episode: "The BFF (Before Frankie Friend)"|||
|2019–present||Big City Greens||Gabriella Espinosa||Voice role; 3 episodes|||
|2019||You||Ellie Alves||Main role (season 2)|||
|2020||Home Movie: The Princess Bride||Princess Buttercup||Episode: "The Fire Swamp"|||
|2020–present||Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous||Brooklynn||Main voice role|||
|2022||Wednesday||Wednesday Addams||Main role|||
Awards and nominations
|2014||Fright Meter Awards||Best Ensemble Cast Performance||Insidious: Chapter 2||Nominated|||
|2015||International Online Cinema Awards||Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Jane the Virgin||Nominated|||
|2016||Imagen Awards||Best Young Actor – Television||Stuck in the Middle||Nominated|||
|Best Children's Programming||Elena of Avalor||Won|
|2018||Southampton International Film Festival||Best Lead Actress in a Feature||Saving Flora||Nominated|||
|2019||Imagen Awards||Best Young Actor – Television||Stuck in the Middle||Nominated|||
|Elena of Avalor||Nominated|||
|2021||Imagen Awards||Best Actress – Feature Film||Yes Day||Nominated|||
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