The 10 best movies and TV shows that Jenna Ortega has been in throughout her successful career include some horror films, some Disney Channel shows, and many others.
There are many things that need to align perfectly in order for a young actor to break through and become successful in the industry.
In the end, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly when a particular actor became successful, but their body of work will speak for itself.
In this same way, Jenna Ortega may be most well-known for her role as Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s Wednesday currently, but she has had many different roles in movies and TV shows over the years.
These include Insidious: Chapter 2, Stuck in the Middle, Studio 666, You, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Jane the Virgin, X, Scream, and The Fallout.
Why do some actors become breakout stars?
Many young people dream of becoming famous actors one day and of eventually starring in Hollywood films and shows and every year, new actors appear in commercials, guest star roles, or even independent films in the hopes that these roles will help them become household names in the film industry.
However, there is no doubt that the industry is one of the most difficult industries to break into and while there are plenty of actors across all genres in film and television, only a lucky few aspiring actors manage to rise from the pack and propel themselves into stardom.
Although there is a lot of information available on qualities that distinguish a breakout performance from and average or below-average one, it is really comes down to a combination of luck, timing, and talent.
This allows a very charismatic, brave, or even just heartfelt performance to stay with audiences long after a film or show has ended.
In the end, it is quite difficult to predict or pinpoint exactly when or how a breakout role will happen for a particular actor, but when this happens, it is like a switch is flipped and they become part of the popular culture zeitgeist forever.
The 10 Best Jenna Ortega Movies and TV Shows
One of the actors who recently had such a switch flip is 20-year old Jenna Ortega. Ortega has been acting since the age of nine.
She was seemingly one of those child actors who you would see in any film or television show where a child or a younger version of an older actor was needed, but she has recently managed to cement herself as one of the new up-and-coming actors to watch in the next few years.
Ortega was born on 27 September 2002 in the Coachella Valley in California as the fourth of six children, and with the help of her mother, she started getting auditions at the age of eight.
Her very first role was on a television show called Rob, which aired on CBS at the time. This role was definitely not her breakout moment, as her character was simply called “Girl”.
Fortunately, Jenna understood the importance of paying your dues early on as an actor and quickly moved on to many other projects.
She went on to land a few roles following her appearance on Rob, including a small role on CSI: NY and the blockbuster film Iron Man 3, as well as a recurring role on Rake.
However, around 2014 and 2015 when Ortega started landing roles on Netflix original programs like Richie Rich and Jane the Virgin, which originally aired on The CW, her acting career quickly began to pick up steam.
By 2016, Ortega had landed her first starring role, and what many people now consider her breakthrough role, as Harley Diaz in the Disney Channel sitcom called Stuck in the Middle.
This role not only earned Jenna an Imagen Award in 2018, but it also helped to establish her as an activist, role model, and style icon outside of her acting career.
This success helped Jenna to spread her wings artistically. She quickly became a fan-favourite scream queen among horror fans, with her notable roles in the Insidious franchise, as well as X, Scream, The babysitter: Killer Queen, Studio 666, and even the psychological thriller, You.
Jenna Ortega had already made quite the name for herself as a young actress at this point and had been nominated for a whole list of awards.
But the role that has really catapulted her into stardom has been that of Wednesday Addams in Tim Burton’s comedy horror series Wednesday, which was released on Netflix in 2022.
Jenna had already started receiving praise from critics for her performance in The Fallout in the year prior to Wednesday’s release.
However, her status as an actress was taken to a new level when Wednesday became the second most popular English-language series on Netflix with over 1 billion hours viewed within its first month on the platform.
This role really established Ortega, not only as a brilliant young actress with a proclivity towards the darker and macabre roles, but also as a household name globally.
In fact, in the days following the release of Wednesday on Netflix, Ortega gained an incredible 10 million Instagram followers and she has already been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for this role.
A timeline of Jenna Ortega’s roles in Movies and TV shows so far
Although Jenna is so young, she has already had a more successful career than most actors. This becomes very evident when you look at all of her significant roles so far, in chronological order.
|Year||Movie / TV show||Character / Role|
|2013||Iron Man 3||Vice President’s Daughter|
|2013||Insidious: Chapter 2||Annie|
|2014||Jane the Virgin||Young Jane|
|2014||The Little Rascals Save the Day||Mary Ann|
|2015||After Words||Anna Chapa|
|2016||Stuck in the Middle||Harley Diaz|
|2016||Elena of Avalor||Princess Isabel|
|2020||The Babysitter: Killer Queen||Phoebe|
|2020||Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous||Brooklyn|
|2021||Yes Day||Katie Torres|
|2022||Studio 666||Skye Willow|
Even with Ortega’s impressive portfolio of work, there are still some roles, like the ones in the 10 best Jenna Ortega movies and TV shows list, which manage to stand out and which are really worth the watch.
10. Insidious: Chapter 2
The Insidious franchise has always been a favourite among horror fanatics, and the Insidious: Chapter 2 sequel which premiered in 2013 was no different.
Although she was still fairly young when this film came out and she only had a minor role, it still makes the top 10, because it allows you to see how Ortega has grown as a scream queen in only a few years.
The film, which was directed by James Wan and features many of the members of the original cast, was nominated for a Fright Meter Award for the Best Ensemble Cast Performance.
|Watch Insidious: Chapter 2 on Amazon Prime Video|
9. Stuck in the Middle
Stuck in the Middle is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand how Jenna Ortega has managed to become such a successful actor at such a young age.
This is the show that initially attracted so many of her Gen Z fans to her, before she was featured in many mainstream films and shows.
The show may be a Disney Channel family comedy, but Ortega’s performance in the lead role of Harley Diaz truly stands out amidst all of the chaos and silliness on the show.
|Watch Stuck in the Middle on Amazon Prime Video|
8. Studio 666
Ortega has become well-known in the horror genre, but Studio 666 stands out amongst her other horror films, as she stars alongside the rock band Foo Fighters. Furthermore, overall, the film ends up being more comedic than scary.
As always, Jenna brings a unique combination of emotion and sombreness to her role as the drummer, Skye Willow, even though it is one of the smaller parts in the film. All in all, Studio 666 is a particularly interesting film to watch.
|Watch Studio 666 on Amazon Prime Video|
Ortega only joined You in the second season of the show in 2019, but she instantly fit into the show as Joe Goldberg’s young neighbour in this season.
Joe is the lead character of the show and even though he is at the root of most of the dark storylines that play out in the show, his dynamic with Jenna’s character, Ellie, on this season, really exposed a different side to the character.
Ortega impressed many fans of the show by taking a somewhat secondary role and turning it into a strong and complex part of the story.
|Watch You on Amazon Prime Video|
6. The Babysitter: Killer Queen
While the first film in this franchise mostly saw the lead character, Cole, trying to survive the slasher on his own, this 2020 sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, cast Jenna in the supporting role of Phoebe, who is by his side throughout most of the second film.
Although the film never quite achieved critical acclaim, Ortega managed to deliver a stand-out performance, despite the fact that she was still relatively new to the horror scene.
|Watch The Babysitter: Killer Queen on Apple TV+|
5. Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin is another one of the shows that Jenna appears in, which was nominated for a Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series award at the International Online Cinema Awards in 2015.
In this series, she is only featured in the flashback scenes as the younger version of the lead character, Jane Villanueva.
Despite this, Jenna’s performance imitating the actions, intonations, and mannerisms of the older Jane, as well as the comedic moments throughout the show, definitely makes it worth the watch.
|Watch Jane the Virgin on Amazon Prime Video|
X, which is directed by Ti West, has been highly praised for its vintage slasher movie feel and its homage to classic slasher films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
The film has quickly become a cult-classic among horror film fans and has helped to cement Jenna and Mia Goth as the top up-and-coming actresses to watch in the genre.
X currently has a Metascore of 79 on Metacritic. It also has an impressive 94 percent critic- and 75 percent audience score combination on Rotten Tomatoes.
|Watch X on Amazon Prime Video|
The 2022 Scream may seem like just another outing for Ortega in the horror and slasher genre, but her performance as Tara Carpenter in this film cemented her steadily as one of the characters to remember from the franchise.
Instead of being killed by Ghostface in the first few moments of the film, as his first victim usually would be, she emerges victorious and turns the entire premise of the franchise on its head.
Ortega won the MTV Movie and TV Awards award for Most Frightened Performance for this film in 2022.
|Watch Scream on Amazon Prime Video|
2. The Fallout
The Fallout is truly one of the best films to watch if you want to see the full extent of Jenna’s talents as an actress.
While the writer and director of the film, Megan Park, and Jenna’s co-star Maddie Ziegler, definitely helped to make the film such a huge success, Jenna brings a depth and complexity to her role, which elevates the entire film.
As a result, in 2022 Jenna was also nominated for a Best Actress award at the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Awards and the International Online Cinema Awards for this film.
|Watch The Fallout on Amazon Prime Video|
Wednesday is the show that most people now know Jenna from, and for good reason. In Wednesday, Jenna plays the lead role of Wednesday Addams alongside other big names like Christina Ricci, Gwendoline Christie, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzmán, and more.
Not only did this show rocket to the top of Netflix’s Most Watched lists across the world when it was first released, but it also set the new record for the most hours viewed in a week for an English-language TV series on Netflix.
Furthermore, Wednesday also introduced audiences worldwide to Jenna’s incredible acting talent. The show quickly became a hit topic on social media sites and it has even earned Ortega Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.