Publication date January 3, 2024

Did you Know Wednesday Addams Actress Jenna Ortega Can't Speak Spanish?

Jenna Ortega is one of the best young actors we have. The Mexican and Puerto Rican woman, who is 19 years old, talked about what it was like to grow up as a Latina and how she spent her formative years in the Hispanic community. She also talked about how well-received her role in the movie "The Fallout" was and how serious the movie was.

Jena Ortega

Source: Radio Times

Ortega talked to Deadline about her background and what that has meant for her career. She said that she has always thought it was wonderful to be Latina. It's something she is very happy about. She grew up in Coachella Valley, California where there were many different kinds of Hispanic people. She added that it was great because I never felt ashamed or afraid of my culture.

Ortega talked about how important it was for her early in her career to get roles that didn't play into Latino stereotypes when she was talking about representation on screen. "I was always very happy when I got jobs that were open to actors of any race or that were at first meant for Caucasian actors. I do want to let in as many Latinos as I can, just because we're a beautiful group that deserves to be recognized. Only 3% of all TV and movie characters are Latino. The TV world and the movie world should look like the real world."

Sometimes the worst gatekeeping comes from people in our own communities. Jenna Ortega got a lot of flak after a video of her trying to speak Spanish during an interview went viral and got over 10 million views on TikTok. This is a great example of how people react when they don't like something. Ortega is asked in the video to tell people to watch Netflix's Wednesday in Spanish (or Merlina, as she is known in most Latin American countries), but she has trouble finding the right words. Because of this, many fans said in no uncertain terms that Ortega shouldn't even be called Latina if she can't speak Spanish.

The comments on the viral video got so bad that they were turned off. But that didn't stop these gatekeepers from finding other ways to get to Ortega.

Here’s the link to the actual clip from Jenna Ortega trying to speak Spanish.

When Camila Cabello said, "I love seeing a Latina on screen," in reference to Ortega on Wednesday, she got a lot of feedback. Many people said Ortega wasn't Latino because she didn't speak Spanish well, as if that was the only way to tell who is or isn't Latino. And they are ignoring the fact that Ortega said she went through the same thing that many of us in our communities have gone through because our parents didn't want us to learn Spanish because they thought that if we blended in and didn't stand out, we would be "accepted" in our new community.

Speaking Spanish is unfortunately not a new way to "decide" who is Latino and who isn't, especially in Latin America. But it's also kind of shocking that these gatekeepers make such a bold claim based on a language we got from people who conquered us, stole our land, and destroyed our traditions. In reality, Latin American cultures have a lot more in common than just the fact that they all speak Spanish. And the insistence on keeping Latino identity through language misses the nuances of those who were forced to assimilate to survive, just like our communities did when we first learned Spanish.

When people who speak a second language, like Spanish, use it as a part of their identity to keep people out instead of bringing them together, this is a problem. For example, all of the comments under Cabello's tweet said that Ortega isn't Latina enough because she doesn't speak the language. Some people can't separate how they feel about the language from how they feel about being Latino. However, that doesn't mean that the language should be used to keep people out or that judging someone for not speaking is better than treating them unfairly because they do.

But judging Ortega because she doesn't speak Spanish well isn't the whole story.

Even though she speaks Spanish well, Anya Taylor-Joy has been criticized for not being Latina enough. Her fans don't like that she doesn't "look" like a Latina. Except that there isn't just one way to look Latino and there isn't just one language that makes us Latino. (Don't forget Brazil and Portuguese.) And the idea that these arbitrary markers "define our identity" is not only wrong, but it's also very limiting. This idea comes from how people outside the Latino community see what it means to be Latino. And it's funny because Latin Americans have fought hard to be seen for all that they are and not just as one thing.

Ortega's identity is not based on a language she doesn't speak well. Like many immigrants, her family stopped speaking it so they wouldn't stand out. Taylor- Latin means joy. People outside of our communities haven't decided that her identity is based on how she looks. Because being Latino has nothing to do with one language, one look, or even one place. Yes, it's Sofia Vergara and Camila Mendes, but it's also Tenoch Huerta, Gina Torres, and Bruno Mars. And it's also people whose immigrant parents built a good life for themselves and their families, so they haven't been back to Latin America in a long time or have never been there at all.

Jenna Ortega is Latina because we are more than what other people think we are, and we can be everything at the same time. Period.

Frequently Asked Question 

Q. Does Jenna Ortega speak Spanish?

No,  Jenna Ortega doesn't speak Spanish fluently as her parents are of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, they spoke English with her as their primary language. 

Q. Is Jenna Ortega Mexican? 

Yes, Jenna Ortega is Mexican, but it's important to recognize her dual heritage. She identifies as both Mexican and Puerto Rican. Her paternal side is Mexican, while her maternal side is Puerto Rican. 

Q. Is Jenna Ortega Latina?

Yes, Jenna Ortega is Latina! She identifies as both Mexican and Puerto Rican. Her paternal side is Mexican, and her maternal side is Puerto Rican.

Q. Does Jenna Ortega have a baby?

No, Jenna Ortega doesn’t have any babies. There are no reliable sources or verified information confirming she is pregnant or has given birth.

Q. Is Jenna Ortega Hispanic? 

Yes, Jenna Ortega can be considered Hispanic. While the term "Hispanic" can be nuanced and debated, in her case, both Jenna’s Mexican and Puerto Rican ancestry fall under the broad umbrella of Hispanic heritage.

Q. Where does Jenna Ortega live?

Jenna Ortega lives in Coachella Valley, California.

Q. Who are Jenna Ortega's parents?

Jenna Ortega's parents are Edward A. Ortega and Natalie Ortega. 

Q. Why is Jenna Ortega so popular?

Jenna Ortega is a popular American actress who began her career as a child actor, starring in such Disney Channel shows as Stuck in the Middle (2016–18) and later went on to gain worldwide fame with the lead role in the hit Netflix series Wednesday (2022). 

Q. Where was Jenna Ortega born?

Jenna Ortega was born on September 27, 2002, in Coachella Valley, California, U.S.

Q. What nationality is Jenna Ortega?

Jenna Ortega's nationality is American, as she was born and raised in the United States. 

Q. Does Jenna Ortega have a bf?

No, Jenna Ortega does have a boyfriend. As per the sources, the actress appears to be single. In August 2023,  she was forced to shut down some pretty wild dating rumors, after Instagram gossip account Deux Moi shared an anonymous tip that Jenna and Johnny Depp were reportedly romantically involved.

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