When we first found out that we were meeting Jenna Ortega, we were so excited. She has to be one of the hardest working actresses around! She is working on four shows right now and we think that is unbelievable: Disney Channel's “Stuck in the Middle,” The CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” Disney’s new animated series, “Elena of Avalor” and Radio City Music Hall’s “New York Spectacular at Radio City.”
When we walked into ABC studios Jenna walked up to all of us and welcomed us with warm hugs. She is really nice and was very easy to talk with. She has played many characters and has worked with many famous people and admitted that she gets star-struck, too. Most recently she plays a girl who is lost in New York City with her brother (not her real brother) at Radio City with the Rockettes. She told us that it was really scary the first time she went on stage; she was nervous she would forget her lines, but she did not. Fun fact she told us: The Rockettes do not touch when they kick — cool!
What we really loved was how she talked about her family. She always went back to how close they were and you could tell that they were the most important thing to her. She said that her whole family plays soccer together. She can relate to her “Stuck in the Middle” character in many ways, she is Latina and the middle child to name a few, she also said that being Isabel in “Elena of Avalor” is important to her because she is a Latina Princess and when she was young she did not have a Latina Disney Princess to relate to.
She was so happy when she spoke of her co-stars and it seems like she would be fun to work with. She is always so positive and we really loved talking to her. It was a really great spending time with her and finding out about her. We liked her before but we really like her now. We had a great day.
We had so many thing we wanted to talk to her about, but here are just a few of our questions:
Are you excited to be working on “Elena of Avalor”?
I’m so excited to be working on “Elena of Avalor.” I’m glad that she’s a Latina princess because when I was growing up I didn’t have that. So I’m glad that young Latinas now have someone, a Disney Princess that they can relate to. It’s filled with such talented people and to be able to say I share a show with them is an honor.
Do you and any of the characters you ever played have anything in common?
Harley [Jenna stars as Harley Diaz on “Stuck in the Middle”] is a lot like Isabel on “Elena of Avalor.” So I’m just kind of going to use them as one character. I get along with Isabel and Harley because we all love math and science, we’re all Latina, Harley and I are both middle children in big families and we all can be goofballs sometimes.
Other than acting, what are some of your favorite activities?
I love to play soccer, I love to go swimming and I love to hang out with my friends and family.
So far what was your favorite show you were on?
It’s going to be a tie between “Jane the Virgin” and “Stuck in the Middle.” “Stuck in the Middle” is super fun because everyone reminds me of one of my own family members. It’s like I’m coming to work and seeing my family every day. It’s something that I love. In “Jane the Virgin,” they’re all so sweet and so happy, they all have smiles on their faces. It’s just a very upbeat set and it’s a set that is just great to be on because everyone there is so good at what they do, they all are looking out for each other and they’re all very sweet.
Have you ever messed up on a live performance of the Rockettes?
If I have it’s been little words like I add in a word or take out a word and it bugs me so much. I feel like everyone in the crowd knows and sometimes I’ll come out of performances and I’ll tell my mom, “Oh my gosh, it was this one word.” It’s only happened a couple of times. I feel so bad and my mom will say no one noticed. Little things like that or technical things have happened before, like one time for example, I was unclipping my umbrella from a string during “Singin’ in the Rain” because they come down swinging on this pretty form in the music, but I couldn’t unclip it. So my younger brother in the show came over and he tried to unclip it and we couldn’t get it. The music cue started where we’re supposed to run off, so I had to run without my umbrella and I just kind of sat there sitting in the rain and the rain is soaking me, but then they handed me one backstage so I did the rest of the number with this umbrella. It was nerve racking.
What do you enjoy better working, live on stage with the Rockettes or working on a set for a TV show?
I swear this is like one of the hardest questions. Working with the Rockettes has been super fun. Everyone there is very sweet, kind and they all are incredibly talented. But seeing everyone on “Stuck in the Middle” set reminds me of my own family. So it’s like going to work with my family. I’m going to have to say working on the set of “Stuck in the Middle,” but I think I definitely want to come back to live theater later.
Is it harder being an animated character or a real life character?
It’s harder to be an animated character I think just because in the voiceover booth you can’t use your facial expressions to show that you’re feeling a certain type of way. You have to make it come across in your voice which takes all the energy in your body and you have to move your arms in the booth just to make it sound like you’re panting when you’re running, if you’re upset you have to breathe really heavy and kind of make sniffles. It’s definitely harder.