Jenna Ortega Loves to Take Risks
The star trades goth black for Dior grey in the house’s new fragrance campaign.
by : Joanna Fox- Nov 8th, 2023
Last spring, Jenna Ortega—who captivated audiences and nabbed herself an Emmy nod as Wednesday Addams in hit Netflix series Wednesday—was announced as one of the seven faces of Dior’s #DareInGrisDior campaign, which celebrates its new unisex scent, Gris. As grey is a signature colour of the French house, the fragrance is aptly named, and it represents the brand’s versatile approach to all things fashion and beauty. The scent offers a unique combination of floral and woody notes, making it adaptable to many different wearers, so it’s fitting that Ortega—who has already proven she can transform herself for different roles—is representing it. “The scent of Gris Dior makes me feel confident,” says Ortega. “As soon as I put it on, I feel the urge to go participate in life and hug people. It’s wonderful.” The campaign also stars a few of her equally talented peers, including actors Maya Hawke, Thuso Mbedu and Joseph Quinn, model and singer Fai Khadra, French rapper Orelsan and C-pop star, dancer and producer Liu Yuxin.
The 21-year-old Latina actor—who also counts herself as an author (she published a deeply personal collection of stories and quotes called It’s All Love in 2021) and an advocate for the National Bullying Prevention Center, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media—grew up about two hours east of Los Angeles. She rose to early fame when she starred in Disney series Stuck in the Middle and followed that with roles in the second season of Netflix’s You and two of the Scream sequels. After her success in Wednesday, Ortega landed a role in Beetlejuice 2, Tim Burton’s upcoming follow-up to his 1988 smash hit, alongside alums Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara. She also recently starred in Finestkind (opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Ben Foster), a thriller that debuted at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is set against the backdrop of Boston’s commercial fishing industry. “I play a young woman named Mabel who is learning what it’s like to trust somebody,” says Ortega. “It’s a drama with an incredible team and cast, and I felt really grateful to be there—I learned a lot from that film.”
For the Gris campaign video, though, Ortega’s role was very different from what she was used to. “The shoot was primarily [me] rolling around in a bed of flower petals while more fell from the sky,” she explains. “That is the craziest job I have ever heard of in my life. I never wanted it to end.” We spoke with the young talent at the Dior campaign launch earlier this year about her relationship with scent, taking risks and the causes that are close to her heart.
WHAT DOES THE HOUSE OF DIOR REPRESENT FOR YOU?
“The House of Dior is a beautiful representation of elegance and empowering women. To join [as an ambassador] is such an incredible honour and role for me. I feel very grateful.”
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FRAGRANCE LIKE?
“I’m pretty sensitive to fragrance, so it’s incredibly important for me to have one that makes me feel comfortable. When I find something I like, I cling to it because I can be so picky!”
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO GO FROM SHOOTING A FILM OR SERIES TO SHOOTING A CAMPAIGN FOR A BRAND?
“Well, for starters, on a film set you’re usually trying to hide labels, not show them off. Campaign shoots are a lot more technical in a few ways since it’s all about the product. It’s also a bit more nerve-racking to be yourself and not someone else in front of the camera. The great thing about having had experience in filming and then shooting a campaign is being able to put your set knowledge to use and just let go. You rarely have to worry about lines, and the concepts are always enigmatic and creative. It’s almost strictly play, so it’s a lot of fun.”
“A lot of my most cherished experiences are from spur-of-the-moment decisions, and I’m always so grateful I followed through”
ARE YOU SOMEONE WHO LIKES TO TAKE RISKS IN REAL LIFE?
“I love taking risks. They feel like a challenge, and I’m so competitive with myself. I think with every challenge, you come to learn more about yourself, and I’m so curious to know who I’m becoming. A lot of my most cherished experiences are from spur-of-the-moment decisions where I dared myself [to do something], and I’m always so grateful I followed through.”
YOU’RE SO YOUNG AND ALREADY RECOGNIZED AS AN INCREDIBLE ACTOR, AUTHOR AND PHILANTHROPIST. WHAT ARE YOU DREAMING OF NEXT
“I would love to study musical composition and become a composer. I have a deep admiration and respect for that sort of thing.”
YOU ARE INVOLVED IN SEVERAL CHARITIES. WHICH ORGANIZATIONS AND CAUSES ARE PARTICULARLY CLOSE TO YOUR HEART?
“Recently, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I feel my priority is the protection of women’s health care and rights in the United States. I’m also doing my best to educate myself and help amplify the voices of Iranian women and protesters who are in the midst of a revolution, fighting for their freedom after the indefensible murder of Mahsa Amini.”
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