Everything We Never Knew About Jenna Ortega: A Scream Queen For A New Generation

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Vote up the coolest facts about the newest Wednesday Addams.

Plenty of horror fans have a favorite scream queen - Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, maybe even Heather Langenkamp. Those are the classics that everybody knows, but the genre’s next generation has a pretty impressive lineup itself.

Jenna Ortega is among them, with a resume including numerous horror films including XScream (2022), The Babysitter: Killer Queen, and Insidious Chapter 2. She’s also been in dark TV series like You and Over the Garden Wall. Of course, she also snagged the huge role of Wednesday Addams in the Netflix show Wednesday, which may just become her most popular project yet.

If you're looking for a favorite new face in horror, she's got the qualifications. Check out these behind-the-scenes facts about the actress, and don't forget to vote up the best ones!

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    101 VOTES

    She Actually Loves Horror Movies

    Ironically, quite a few actresses who made their names in horror have also admitted that they aren’t particularly big fans of the genre. Legendary scream queens Neve Campbell and Jamie Lee Curtis have said that they’re typically too freaked out by horror movies to watch them, while other spooky faves like Mia Goth and even Toni Colette have said they’re more drawn to the genre’s characters than to the scariness of the stories surrounding them. 

    That being said, Ortega breaks the mold. She enjoys watching horror movies just as much as she does being in them, saying, “I love blood and guts. I love to run for my life.” She even listed her top five horror movies of all time in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes: Prom Night (1980), Insidious (2010), Possession (1981), The Witch (2015), and Persona (1966).

    Says the actresses about her darker choices in roles, “I think I’ve always kind of been internally drawn to that stuff, so it’s nice that my work is able to reflect that. I would also love the opportunity to be the villain.” A horror movie with Jenna Ortega as the bad guy? Sign us up!

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    80 VOTES

    She Knew She Wanted To Be An Actress At Just 6 Years Old

    She Knew She Wanted To Be An Actress At Just 6 Years Old
    Photo: Jane the Virgin / The CW

    While Jenna Ortega’s breakthrough as a scream queen only really began circa 2019, she’s been acting for a lot longer. In fact, she knew that this was the career she wanted at a shockingly young age. Said Ortega in an interview with Latina magazine, “I started begging my mom to let me act when I was 6 years old. She pretty much ignored me because she thought it was just a phase. Two years later, when I still wanted to do it, she started taking it more seriously.” 

    As for what inspired her to pursue this route? Ortega remembers watching the film Man on Fire when her parents weren’t home, and being drawn to Dakota Fanning’s performance in it, saying Fanning was “so talented at such a young age, I decided I wanted to be the Puerto Rican version of her.” 

    Not long after, her mother posted a video of Ortega performing a dramatic dialogue to Facebook. An agent discovered it, and, as the actress put it, “I got my first audition and the rest is history!”

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    70 VOTES

    She’s Outspoken About The Importance Of Mental Health

    She’s Outspoken About The Importance Of Mental Health
    Photo: You / Netflix

    A 2019 survey from the American Psychological Association found that gen z is “significantly more likely” to report having mental health concerns than past generations. Perhaps that’s due to the deluge of stressful historical events that have occurred in recent years. But maybe it's also due to an increasing willingness to discuss these issues among younger people. 

    Ortega, for her part, is one of those willing to open up, describing herself in one interview as “somebody who struggles with anxiety and depression and spends a lot of time alone - lives in a lonely city.” She recognizes the importance of a happy, healthy brain, but describes struggling to check in with herself or take mental health breaks from work. Still, she wants herself as well as others to keep trying: “It's scary to confront yourself… get to know yourself better. Even if you don’t want to, it’s essential and necessary… I’m still working through that.”

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    She’s Only In Her 20s, But Is Already An Award-Winning Actress

    She’s Only In Her 20s, But Is Already An Award-Winning Actress
    Photo: Scream / Paramount Pictures

    It’s notoriously rare for horror movies to win prestigious film awards or critical praise among establishments like the Academy, but maybe Ortega can help them see the light. After all, the fresh-faced actress is barely in her twenties and is already being recognized for her work. 

    The Imagen Awards are dedicated to recognizing positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry, and have honored famous faces like Antonio Banderas, Rita Moreno, and even Jennifer Lopez in the past. Ortega’s been nominated for multiple Imagen awards, and has even won a couple for Best Young Actor and Best Children’s programming. 

    Then of course there’s her 2022 MTV award win for “Most Frightened Performance,” which she earned from her work in Scream (2022). She’s also been honored by the Hollywood Critics Association, winning an award for best actress for her performance in the 2021 drama film The Fallout (where she co-starred alongside Shailene Woodley as well as  Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms fame.) Here’s hoping she continues to see critical success and recognition in the coming years.