Jenna Ortega opens up about not conforming to the industry’s beauty standards and how she hopes to inspire other young girls to do the same.
During an interview with Harper’s Bazaarpublished online Wednesday, the Scream VI actress recalled the pressure of auditioning when she was younger, while also trying to excel in school.
“As a child actor, there are two jobs you can get: you’re either the younger version of someone, or you’re playing someone’s daughter – and there just weren’t many leading Spanish actors for whom I could be that,” he explains. Ortega, born to parents of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. “So a lot of the jobs I grew up doing would never work out because I didn’t look (a certain) way. That was very difficult, to hear that something you couldn’t change was keeping you from (succeeding).”
Earlier in the interview, she recalled some of the people she had worked with “who may not always have had my best interests in mind,” adding, “As a child, I was always told what to do and what not to do – how to did that. should go, what would be best for me.”
Those experiences and interactions negatively affected Ortega’s self-confidence and self-esteem, she said. She even admitted to the magazine that at one point she wanted to dye her hair blonde to look like Cinderella.
But over time, she began to love herself again and realized what a positive influence she could have on others. “I thought, ‘I don’t want other young girls to look at the screen and feel like they have to change their appearance to be considered beautiful or worthy,’” says the Wednesday said star.
While speaking about her experiences in Hollywood, Ortega also acknowledged the “debate and discourse around what it means to truly be Latina.” She feels somewhat embarrassed that she doesn’t speak fluent Spanish, adding, “I wasn’t born in a Spanish-speaking country, I haven’t spent much time in Mexico, and I’ve never been to Puerto Rico — so there’s a sense that you are not worthy enough to be a good representative.”
But she still hopes she can use her presence in the industry to increase Hispanic representation in television and film. “I want all people of Latin descent to be able to see themselves on screen,” Ortega said. “I want to feel like I can open doors for other people.”