Early Life and Family
Jenna Ortega, renowned for her portrayal of Wednesday Addams in the Netflix hit series "Wednesday," was born on September 27, 2002, in the Coachella Valley, Southern California. Raised in a bustling household with five siblings, Jenna's mother, despite being an emergency room nurse with six children, dedicatedly drove her seven hours to auditions in LA, showcasing unwavering support for her daughter's burgeoning acting career.
Inspirations and Beginnings
At the tender age of 6, Jenna found her calling inspired by Dakota Fanning's stellar performance in the 2004 film "Man on Fire." The acting bug bit her early, and an unexpected turn of fate occurred when a casting agent discovered Jenna through a video posted by her mother on Facebook. A seemingly casual post led to Jenna's foray into commercials for major brands like McDonald's and Old Navy, setting the stage for her remarkable journey in the entertainment industry.
From Toothpaste to Hollywood: Early Roles
Jenna's journey into acting kicked off with a toothpaste commercial at the age of 9. Her talent quickly earned her roles in TV shows like "Rob" and "CSI: NY" in 2012. The big screen beckoned, and her debut film, "After Words," graced audiences in 2015, marking the inception of a promising career.
Surprising McDonald's Moments
During a revelation on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in 2022, Jenna disclosed an amusing twist of fate – being unintentionally cast in three McDonald's commercials in one year. The casting directors, unaware of her previous engagements, perpetuated her stint as the "McDonald's girl," a humorous anecdote in Jenna's diverse acting repertoire.
Voice of Diversity: Elena of Avalor
From 2016 to 2020, Jenna lent her voice to Princess Isabel in "Elena of Avalor," Disney's animated series featuring their first Latina princess. Jenna expressed gratitude for the opportunity, emphasizing the importance of diverse representation in mainstream media.
Unconventional Childhood Hobbies
In a candid interview with Wired, Jenna Ortega shared a peculiar childhood hobby – performing autopsies on small animals. This revelation, coupled with her diverse roles in horror films like "X" and "Scream," adds a unique layer to Jenna's personality.
Blood, Sweat, and Auditions: "Wednesday" Casting
Jenna's dedication to her craft was evident during the audition for her lead role in "Wednesday." Fresh from a bloody scene in the horror film "X," she impressed producer Tim Burton by turning up to the Zoom audition covered in stage blood, showcasing her resilience and commitment.
Musical Mastery: Learning the Cello
For her role in "Wednesday," Jenna took on the challenge of learning to play the cello, showcasing her dedication to authenticity in portraying Wednesday Addams' musical prowess. Despite the challenges, Jenna expressed her admiration for the instrument and her desire to continue pursuing it.
Culinary Adventures: Dietary Shifts for "Wednesday"
Jenna's commitment to her role extended beyond the screen, with a notable shift in her diet for the show shot in Romania. Originally a vegan, Jenna embraced a pescatarian diet, adapting to the local culinary landscape while maintaining her commitment to her character and performance.
Ambassador for Change: UNAIDS Advocacy
In a heartfelt tribute to her late grandfather, who succumbed to AIDS, Jenna Ortega became an ambassador for UNAIDS. Her advocacy focuses on eliminating the stigma associated with AIDS and fostering open conversations about the disease, reflecting her commitment to meaningful social impact.
Beyond the Screen: Author and Fashion Icon
Jenna Ortega's talents extend beyond acting, as evidenced by her debut book in 2021. Offering personal stories and insights into her journey as a Latina in Hollywood, the book provides readers with a glimpse into Jenna's life, touching on universal themes of self-confidence, friendship, and more. Additionally, Jenna stepped into the world of fashion, landing her first-ever campaign with American Eagle in 2021, showcasing her versatility in the entertainment industry.
Jenna Ortega's multifaceted career, from unconventional childhood hobbies to becoming the voice of diversity in entertainment, paints a portrait of a talented and resilient artist. Her journey, marked by unexpected twists, unwavering dedication, and a commitment to social impact, solidifies her as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. As we delve into the intricate layers of Jenna's life and career, it's evident that her story is not just about acting but about embracing authenticity, breaking barriers, and leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment landscape.