Jenna Ortega has exposed the film and television industry with her recent comments about what it’s really like being a child actor.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Jenna revealed that she struggled to land conventional acting roles because she didn’t fit Hollywood’s beauty standards.
“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,” she said.
Ortega, now 21 years old, has starred in several high-profile movies and TV shows throughout her career since debuting in the 2012 sitcom Rob.
She first broke into film as the vice president’s daughter in Iron Man 3 at just 11 years old and has gone on to star in Insidious: Chapter 2, Scream VI and much more.
Her latest high-profile foray has seen her star as Wednesday Adams in Alfred Gough and Miles Millar’s Wednesday – an American coming-of-age supernatural comedy horror produced by Netflix.
Despite the star’s unfounded success, she told Harper’s Bazaar that she felt she had to fight for that success after saying she “didn’t look a certain way.”
“A lot of the jobs that I was going for growing up would never work out,” she said. “That was really hard, to hear that something you couldn’t change was what was preventing you [from succeeding].”
While she said those experiences had a profoundly negative impact on her mental health, she eventually came to realise that being herself was the key to becoming a more powerful role model.
“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’,” she said.
Ortega is set to star as Lydia Deetz’s daughter in Tim Burton’s upcoming Beetlejuice 2, set to be released on 6 September 2024.