Jenna Ortega on Embracing Experimentation, Her Life's Biggest Goal, and the Confidence of Fragrance (2024)

Jenna Ortega on Embracing Experimentation, Her Life's Biggest Goal, and the Confidence of Fragrance (1)

Jenna Ortega

American actress Jenna Ortega is well on her way to becoming an icon for the new age. She shot to fame as the moody Wednesday Addams in the Netflix series, then Tara Carpenter in Paramount’s latest installment of Scream, and is poised to star in Beetlejuice 2. The 20-year-old has been facing her career head-on. Now, she is also one of the seven talents from around the world handpicked by French luxury house Christian Dior to represent Gris Dior, a unisex eau de parfum for La Collection Privée Christian Dior that makes a statement as strong as Ortega herself. The actress has a special relationship with scent. She shares that walking into a candle store has overwhelmed her on occasion and that essential oils have become a mainstay in her wellness book. “I’ve always been very sensitive to smell,” she remarks while explaining how picky she can be when it comes to aromas. “As soon as I find something that I like, I’m usually married to it.” The moment she first tried Gris Dior, an intense chypre fragrance with floral and woody notes, “I was so excited, it became a staple for me. I feel like it’s very minimalist, the way that I want it to be, and I gravitate towards more androgynous scents that can go either way.”

It’s Ortega’s love for fragrance that has now made Gris Dior a part of her “very chaotic lifestyle.” The perfume seems to ground her during her travels. “Routine and consistency are very important to me because I feel they kind of ease my nerves and give me a boost of confidence when I walk out,” she admits. “I think the way you smell definitely influences the way you carry yourself. Because I have a newfound confidence associated with that, I rely on it heavily.” She continues, “For me, my biggest goal in life is to be well-rounded and balanced in what I do. And that means exposing myself to everything, whether it’s something that is truthful to me, or something that I just want to see could even be a possibility.”

Ortega, who is a former Disney child star, says today, the confidence that comes from a fragrance is more than a luxury; it’s a necessity. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” she muses. “It’s weird, because I try not to be too into what goes on online or things like that, but it’s hard to avoid.” Not only did Tim Burton’s Wednesday break the Netflix record for most watched series, it also earned the actress a slew of nominations, from the Golden Globes to the Screen Actors Guild Awards. So strong is the Midas touch of this blooming star’s petite hand that Scream, which saw her in a lead role, ended up seeing the biggest opening weekend of the franchise. Yet somehow when Dior came knocking, Ortega thought, “They’ve got the wrong girl.” She explains, “I never saw something like this happening. I kind of went away when the opportunity came my way. Socially, Dior has always been a really cool brand, so encouraging and uplifting of women, and empowering.”

Of course, brand offers are among the wonderful perks of the fame game, but Ortega’s success has been a long road and continues to bring its own challenges. “I feel really privileged to be in a position where people almost look to me for advice or things like that. But ultimately I’m going to try to figure things out the way that I want to,” she says, adding, “If people resonate with that and agree, that’s incredible. If they don’t, it’s OK too, just as long as I’m happy and doing what’s fulfilling and exciting to me.” This self-commitment and penchant for exposing herself to everything as she experiments, learns, and grows, perfectly encapsulates why Ortega’s motto for Gris Dior is “Dare to risk it.”

Jenna Ortega on Embracing Experimentation, Her Life's Biggest Goal, and the Confidence of Fragrance (4)

Gris Dior

In the end, it’s the celebration of womanhood that binds Ortega and Dior. While the luxurious elegance of Dior’s heritage appeals to her, it’s the fashion heavyweight’s commitment to women that drew her in. “Honestly, this opportunity and experience has been such an honor,” she says. “As a young woman who’s finding herself in a naturally (or, at least I think it’s gradually changing) male dominated industry, it has been really wonderful to work with such a big company and a house that is empowering and uplifting women’s voices and stories,” says Ortega, who counts herself lucky to be surrounded by inspiring women – from her own mother, to close friends and cast members including Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Emma Myers. “Throughout this entire process, they’ve always encouraged me to be myself, speak my voice, and stick with what’s truthful to me,” she says. “It’s been supportive and really exciting to experience.”

Originally published in the June 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

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Jenna Ortega on Embracing Experimentation, Her Life's Biggest Goal, and the Confidence of Fragrance (2024)

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