The New “It” Girl: Jenna Ortega


Breanne Soto, Staff Writer

From her early beginnings on the Disney Channel to become the star of the most streamed show on Netflix, Jenna Ortega has risen to be the current “It” girl, especially in the horror genre. The actress has reconstructed the goth “It” girl and introduced Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family to a new generation of youth. Lately, Jenna’s face has been playing in theaters- featuring her as Lorraine in X  and Tara in the fifth installment of the Scream franchise. Not only has she created a new goth icon and made a name for herself, but she is also bringing Latinx representation to the big screen. Ortega has been deemed the new “Scream Queen”. She is now a household name thanks to her years of hard work in the film industry.

Jenna Ortega (2022)

Most people, my age, might recognize Jenna from her earlier work. Jenna had her first starring role as Harley Diaz in the Disney channel show Stuck In the Middle. The show ran from 2016 to 2018. During the run of Stuck in the Middle, Jenna also played the role of young Jane Villanueva in Jane the Virgin. The CW show ran from 2014 to 2019 and was the first CW show to earn a Golden Globe nomination. Jenna began to get familiar with the horror genre soon after. Her first role in horror was as a young child in Insidious 2.  In 2019, Jenna landed a spot in the second season of the highly-rated Netflix series You. She played the fifteen-year-old Ellie Alves, a neighbor of the protagonist Joe Goldberg. She concluded her role at the end of the season, but that wouldn’t be the last we would see of Jenna Ortega.

clip of Jenna in X as Lorraine (2022)

This year, we were able to see Jenna Ortega develop her skill in the horror genre. In January, Jenna appeared in the fifth installment of the Scream franchise. She played Tara Carpenter, in the iconic opening scene in the Scream movies. Tara is in her kitchen, receiving ominous phone calls before getting killed. Jenna’s performance stood out from the other actresses in the past, as she was to first one to fight back and survive. Many fans are looking forward to her return in next year’s Scream. Soon after, in March, Ortega would be found in one of the most successful movies this year. A24’s X was brought to theaters, creating a large fan-base for the movie and its characters. Ortega played the role of Lorraine Day- an assistant to a group of people working on their latest project in a new film business that was booming in the 70s. Lorraine was hesitant to join the business but soon joined due to her curiosity and the opportunity for fame. The modern slasher film brought amazing performances from all actors, including Jenna. Despite her being only 18 in the film, she brought just as much force as her older cast-mates. 

clip of Jenna Ortega in Wednesday, where she choreographed her own dance (2022)

As of then, Ortega was known but her popularity would skyrocket thanks to her latest project. Jenna Ortega stars as Wednesday Addams in The Netflix original Wednesday. Wednesday is a horror-comedy investigative show that follows Wednesday Addams as she is shipped to a boarding school called Nevermore Academy, a school for “outcasts and monsters”. Ortega kept the roots of the original Wednesday in the 1991 film The Addams Family but still was able to create a unique and new version of the Addams daughter. Jenna worked very closely with Director Tim Burton to create a fresh version of the dead-pan character we know and love. She went to extensive lengths to create a memorable performance by taking cello and German lessons to prepare for the show. A defying moment in Ortega’s performance was during the fourth episode of Woe What a Night where she was at the school dance. She created a memorable scene where she choreographed her own dance inspired by the 80s goth scene, the famous choreographer Bob Fosse and the original Wednesday from the television series The Addams Family from 1964. Also, Ortega is the first Latina to portray Wednesday, as the family is told to have Latinx heritage. It was written within the show to have Wednesday listen to La Llorona by Chavela Vargas on record and share her Day of The Dead altar that is in her living room all year long. According to, Jenna said “I think it’s pretty special for me just because growing up, I didn’t really have a lot of representation on screen.” Jenna’s outstanding performance left a presence to our screens that excited us to see more of her. Her work ethic and the quality of her performances from the past few years have made her the new “Scream Queen” in horror and the “It” girl for Latinx youth. 

Jenna Ortega (2022)