Jenna Ortega says the diversity in her new film "could be a really good thing for young people of color to see ... [to have] something to relate to"

By Jen Juneau
March 10, 2021 11:27 AM
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Jenna Ortega
Jenna Ortega
| Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty

For Jenna Ortega, her upcoming Netflix family comedy Yes Day was not only an opportunity to flex her actorly muscles in a new project with acclaimed stars, but to be part of showcasing diversity onscreen.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, the 18-year-old actress — who plays the teenage daughter of Jennifer Garner and Édgar Ramírez's characters — said that she believes seeing representation in film the way Yes Day portrays it is "important because I feel like we're getting to a time where that's most families."

"I feel like a lot of families are mixed in one way or another," Ortega explained.

The You actress also touched on the fact that she feels Yes Day conveys that diversity successfully, in a way that doesn't feel forced like many other projects.

"I think because Hollywood has been lacking on its representation of diversity and just showing people with different cultural backgrounds onscreen, I feel like sometimes they go hard one way or the other," she said.

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YES DAY (L-R): EDGAR RAMIREZ as CARLOS TORRES, JENNA ORTEGA as KATIE TORRES, EVERLY CARGANILLA as ELLIE TORRES, JULIAN LERNER as NANDO TORRES, JENNIFER GARNER as ALLISON TORRES
Yes Day
| Credit: NETFLIX
YES DAY
Yes Day
| Credit: Netflix

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She went on to note that she feels like "we're kind of dividing and separating ourselves even more" in situations where "we make it such a division between the two."

"So when we show it in a casual setting where it's acknowledged, but not to an extent where they're shoving it down your throat, it's very normal and it's very fun and it's very united and sweet," Ortega told ET.

She added, "It's either no diversity or it's just forcing it and pushing it too much."

Of the film's impact on "young people of color," Ortega said she thinks it "could be a really good thing for" them "to see, not only for representation of themselves, but then also just having something to relate to and also making diversity onscreen a lot more casual."

Ted Sarandos, Netflix CCO and co-CEO, announced in a blog post last month the creation of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, which will invest $100 million over the course of five years to support underrepresented communities looking to work in the TV and film industries.

Netflix did not share which specific organizations it would be donating to, but did note it has previously contributed to nonprofits like Project Involve and Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival's Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series.

"Doing better means establishing even more opportunities for people from underrepresented communities to have their voices heard, and purposefully closing capacity and skill gaps with training programs where they are needed," said Sarandos in the post.

He added that the new fund "will help us to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally."

Yes Day is available to stream Friday on Netflix.