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Jenna Ortega: How An Unlucky Voice Crack And A Frustrated Mom Created A Scream Queen

Though only 20 years old, Jenna Ortega has managed to have quite the expansive career so far, especially in the horror realm. In fact, her fans would definitely call her a scream queen. After all, she's one of the stars of the most recent "Scream" films — she plays Tara Carpenter in 2022's "Scream" and 2023's "Scream VI" — as well as the 2022 slasher film "X." Plus, she's now known as the new generation's Wednesday Addams, starring in Netflix's hit supernatural horror-comedy "Wednesday."

But as it turns out, Ortega may not have made it to scream queen status were it not for a very particular set of circumstances that involved an unlucky voice crack and a frustrated mom. During an Actors on Actors conversation for Variety, in which Ortega spoke one on one with "The Great" star Elle Fanning, Ortega revealed how her mom played a role in her horror career.

Ortega explained that her mom asked her if she wanted to practice her scream while they were on the way to an audition (in which she would be expected to scream), but Ortega declined — and the audition went terribly. Ortega said, "I went in there, did not have it. My voice cracked. It was awful, embarrassing."

Ortega's mom convinced her she needed to be able to scream

While Jenna Ortega's mom didn't exactly say "I told you so" after the audition didn't go well, she didn't hold back from expressing her opinions on the matter. As she finished telling the story to Elle Fanning, Ortega said, "She looked back at me and she was so frustrated because she was sacrificing so much for me to be out there. I felt awful. She was like, 'Jenna, how are you gonna be an actress if you can't even scream?'"

Ortega then noted that she's very stubborn, so since that incident happened, she's never had a problem with screaming. This, of course, makes sense since Ortega has essentially taken over the horror genre. At one point during the conversation, Fanning told Ortega, "[You're] the it girl of horror."

Ortega humbly responded, "I would never call myself that!" But, at the same time, she did express her love of the genre and speculated as to why she excels so much in that realm. Ortega said, "People like to see me hysterical ... And I think I have a really ugly crying face, which people just feed on. If you're in a theater and you see someone who looks atrocious while crying, you think, 'Ah man, she's really in it!'"