Who is Jenna Ortega? Everything you need to know about the “Wednesday” star

Netflix on Wednesday released the first trailer for Wednesday, a new Tim Burton-produced Addams Family spinoff series. The preview puts the focus on the titular character, who is played by Jenna Ortega.

Though she is only 19 years old, Ortega is a familiar face to many people, which is evidenced by the 8.3 million followers she has on Instagram. However, Wednesday stands to be the highest profile role yet of the young actor’s career when it debuts on Netflix this fall.

Ortega began her career as a child actor. After some guest parts on television shows like CSI: NY and films like Iron Man 3, she landed a starring role as Young Jane on The CW‘s comedy-drama series Jane the Virgin from 2014 to 2019.

Ortega received more attention for two prominent roles on the Disney Channel. One was her starring role as Harley Diaz in the series Stuck in the Middle (2016-2018), while the other was for voicing Princess Isabel on the animated series Elena of Avalor (2016-2020).

While she has a large following among Disney fans, Ortega is also no stranger to Netflix. She has starred as Ellie Alves in the thriller series You on the streaming service since 2018. Ortega has been featured in two Netflix films: The 2020 black comedy/horror feature The Babysitter: Killer Queen, directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation), and 2021’s Yes Day, a comedy-drama which co-starred Jennifer Garner.

In this photo, Jenna Ortega is seen at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 05, 2022, in Santa Monica, California. Ortega stars in the upcoming “Addams Family” spin-off series “Wednesday.”
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Ortega’s profile was already on the rise prior to being cast as Wednesday Addams thanks to her role as Tara Carpenter in the 2022’s Scream, which was the fifth installment in the horror franchise. Not only did she hold her own when sharing the screen opposite returning stars Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell, but Ortega was convincing enough to win an MTV Movie Award for “Most Frightened Performance.”

Around the same time, the drama The Fallout was released on HBO Max, and Ortega received positive reviews from critics. On the basis of The Fallout and Scream, The Hollywood Reporter declared her the “Next Big Thing” in January 2022.

Away from the screen, Ortega is an advocate for LGBTQ+ and immigration rights. She garnered much media attention in 2018 when she wore a jacket that displayed the text “I Do Care And U Should Too” to the Radio Disney Music Awards. The statement was a response to then-first lady Melania Trump wearing a jacket that said “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” when visiting immigrant children.

The California-born Ortega has also spoken proudly of being Latina. In a 2016 Pop Sugar essay, she said described herself as 75 percent Mexican and 25 percent Puerto Rican.

“As a Latina, there are not as many roles out there for me. When I first started out, it was hard. I was constantly shut down because I did not have the look they were going for. You have to keep pushing. All of the nos I received just motivated me even more,” she said in Pop Sugar.

Recently, Ortega has been treating her Instagram followers with behind-the-scenes snaps from the set of Wednesday.

“Good mourning,” read her Addams-like pun in the caption for one such photo.

Newsweek reached out to Ortega for comment.

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