Jenna Ortega talks about how she refuses to comply with industry beauty standards and intends to inspire other young girls to do the same.
In an online interview with Harper’s Bazaar on Wednesday, the Scream VI actress recalled the stress of auditioning while still striving for academic excellence in her school days.
“As a child actor, there are two jobs that you can get: you’re either the younger version of someone or you’re playing somebody’s daughter — and there were just not many leading Hispanic actors who I could be that for,” explained Ortega, who was born to parents of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. “So a lot of the jobs that I was going for growing up would never work out, because I didn’t look [a certain] way. That was really hard, to hear that something you couldn’t change was what was preventing you [from succeeding].”
Earlier in the interview, she mentioned a few people she worked with “maybe didn’t always have my best interests,” adding, “As a kid, I was always being told what I should and shouldn’t do — which way I should go, what would be best for me.”
According to Ortega, those interactions and experiences had a detrimental effect on her self-worth and confidence. She went so far as to confess to the magazine that she had considered dying her hair blonde so she could resemble Cinderella.
But in time, she rediscovered her love for herself, she also became aware of her capacity to positively impact others. “I thought, ‘I don’t want other young girls to look up at the screen and feel like they have to change their appearance to be deemed beautiful or worthy,” the Wednesday star said.
While discussing her time in Hollywood, Ortega also mentioned the “debate and discourse about what it means to truly be Latina.” She is embarrassed that she can not speak Spanish fluently. adding, “I wasn’t born in a Spanish-speaking country, I haven’t spent a lot of time in Mexico and I’ve never been to Puerto Rico — so there’s a feeling of not being worthy enough to be a proper representative.”
She still hopes that her presence in the industry will help increase Hispanic representation on television and film. “I want all people of Latin descent to be able to see themselves on screen,” Ortega said. “I want to feel that I could open doors for other people.”
jenna ortega at the harper’s bazar woman of the year event pic.twitter.com/qofhKPOVbr
— best of jenna ortega (@jennasfiles) November 7, 2023