Jenna Ortega Reveals That ‘Disney 101’ Pushed Social Media On Children

jenna ortega netflix wednesday addams family frown
Credit: Netflix

Jenna Ortega quickly became a household name last November when her fan-favorite Netflix series, Wednesday, started streaming. Before her starring role as Wednesday Addams, Ortega had a career on multiple Disney projects. She played Harley Diaz on the Disney Channel show Stuck in the Middle and voiced Princess Isabel in Disney’s Elena of Avalor. She also played the Vice President’s Daughter in Iron Man 3!

jenna ortega disney channel stuck in the middle diaz
Credit: Disney Channel

In a recent interview for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Jenna Ortega sat down with another Disney alum, Elle Fanning, to talk about the industry. Fanning most notably played the live-action Princess Aurora in  Maleficent in 2014 and the 2019 sequel.

On the topic of the role of social media platforms in their careers, Jenna drops this bomb,

When I first started acting, it was told to me by my first agency that I had to have a public platform. When I did television shows when I was younger, they’d take us to media training, or they would call it Disney 101. Where you would go, and they would give you a notebook and pens and pencils and paper. 

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Credit: Walt Disney Television, Flickr

They would say, ‘Okay, you’re gonna post three times a day. This is how you get the most engagement. This is how you get likes. This is how you build followers. Download these apps as well…promote our show. So you know it became a business. I would go into some sort of audition or meeting, and it was, ‘How many followers do you have?’

Elle Fanning agreed and admitted that she also didn’t get a part once because she didn’t have enough followers on social media. Fanning adds, “You were great…but your numbers.”

Even after shooting Wednesday, Jenna Ortega’s platform numbers came into question at certain auditions. Producers wondered if she was “enough of a name.”

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Credit: Netflix

Ortega and Fanning’s conversation revealed that Disney starts training child actors young on the value of social media to their worth in the business. Luckily, both Jenna and Elle have successful careers, but clearly feel unhappy with the weight their platforms were given in their professional endeavors.

Does Disney have a responsibility to the mental health of their child stars, or are they a business that is allowed to put profit first?

See the video here:

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!