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Jenna Ortega Thinks Gen-Z Gets A Bad Rap In Movies. Here's How She'd Change That

Jenna Ortega is quickly becoming one of the standout stars of her generation. After minor appearances in projects like "Iron Man 3," she landed a leading role in the Disney Channel show "Stuck in the Middle." But in 2022, with her titular role in Netflix's Tim Burton-directed "Wednesday," Ortega enjoyed her greatest success yet, with the show smashing records for the streaming service

Though born in 2002, Ortega has a wide range of experience at this point in her career, and her porcelain, wide-eyed countenance belies a shrewd and erudite personality. She's already established herself as one of the hardest-working actors in Hollywood, for better or worse. The intense schedules and training Ortega underwent for "Wednesday" has been widely covered, and reports that she filmed the show's iconic dance scene while sick with COVID generated much discussion regarding whether she'd been pushed by the production to work or had done so of her own volition.

But that work ethic is a generational one. Gen-Z, usually accepted to be comprised of those born between 1997 and 2012, are the most likely to report being overworked to the point of burnout. That reality stands in stark contrast to the conceptions of Gen-Z popularized by media, which often paints the younger generation as TikTok-addled airheads able only to communicate through Internet slang. As a member of that generation, Ortega has some thoughts on the media's depictions of young folks, which she made clear in a new interview.

Jenna Ortega wishes Gen-Z got credit for their intelligence

During an appearance as a guest on the spicy interview series "Hot Ones," host Sean Evans asked Jenna Ortega whether any media stereotypes about Gen-Z and teenagers irk her. The 20-year-old actress assessed that her generation is often untruthfully presented as unintelligent or disrespectful in shows and movies, roles which she feels have pigeonholed her at times. "I've just been a teenager, pretty much, in stories," Ortega said. "And I feel like it's always the bratty teen, badmouth teen. Or a lot of times, unintelligent, which I don't think is true."

Ortega contended that the vastly expanded access to information enjoyed by Gen-Z as compared to children of prior generations has given them an educational advantage. "Because there is so much accessible to them on the Internet, there's just more opportunities for them to learn," the star explained, ending her comments on the subject with a plea for more compassionate representation of young people in media. "I wish that they were given a bit more credit," she said, pointedly adding, "We can be smart, too."