Jenna Ortega is Excited to ‘Push Boundaries’ As a Latina Actress: ‘We Were Never the Hero of the Story’

The ‘Wednesday’ star opened up about the pressure and expectations she feels and how she’s learned to tune negativity out.
Jenna Ortega.

Jenna Ortega.

Jenna Ortega grew up playing soccer, which is fitting for the actress who is the new face of adidas. Some of the skills—sportsmanship, teamwork and strong work ethic—she picked up from the sport transferred over to her career on the big screen.

“I’m not necessarily competitive with other people, only myself,” she explained in a recent interview with The Cut. “I think that remains to be very, very true. I am so happy to watch people succeed. And it’s really wonderful when you’re able to work on a project and you all can celebrate something together.”

The 20-year-old has recently skyrocketed in popularity after starring in Tim Burton and Netflix’s Wednesday series. The Latina actress, who grew up in Coachella Valley, Calif., is no stranger to self-criticism. She has felt pressure from the Latinx community to portray roles in a certain way but says she doesn’t let any of that get to her. 

“It goes back to the ‘your own worst critic’ thing. Nothing anybody else could say is gonna bother me as much as something I could say,” the You star explained. “When it comes to Latina expectations, it’s so easy for me to brush those off because the people who are in positions of power right now or who have been in positions of power for so long in the industry, a lot of them are out of touch or just not necessarily familiar because they grew up in a very different time.”

For now, Ortega is proud of the significance of her character, Wednesday Addams, and the way she has taken Christina Ricci’s version of the character while “pushing the boundaries” to make it her own.

“We were never the hero of the story or the lead of the story, and I love to be able to push back on that,” she added. “With something like Wednesday, you just have to realize that you can’t fight nostalgia. All you can do is just lean into it a bit. As long as you’ve got a few undertones of acknowledging and respecting what’s come before you, I think you have more freedom to put your own taste and style in there and still make it fresh and new.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.