Learn all about the incredible actress and her beginnings in the entertainment industry!
Jessica Val Ortiz is one to watch! When the talented actress is not entertaining on stage, you can find her creating some incredible (and hilarious!) content for her nearly 8 million followers across all platforms.
Jessica was born in Morristown, New Jersey and grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania. She is currently playing multiple roles in “Spamilton, an American Parody” which is a musical parody of the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton. Today, HOLR is chatting with Jessica about her start in the entertainment industry, her current- and favourite- roles and the organizations she’s proud to support. Plus, so much more!
Tell us about your upbringing and passion for pursuing a career on stage.
I’ve been doing theatre and performing as an actress basically since I was five years old. The very first musical I was ever in was the musical “Oliver” and I played a workhouse boy. Performing on stage as a five-year-old was super exciting and after that, it never went away- those feelings of excitement were here to stay!
I wanted to keep going and keep being on stage. I also got super into singing and dancing. I did theatre in high school as well, where I would go to high school for half a day and then a conservatory for the other half to professionally train.
It’s pretty much been my entire life. I’ve been very fortunate and working a lot recently. Ever since COVID restrictions have lifted, I’ve been on the national tour of “Spamilton” which is a parody of Hamilton. I’ve been with the tour since January and that has been super fun.
I also have some other exciting projects in the works so stay tuned!
Talk to us about your favourite roles to date as well as your current role(s) in “Spamilton, an American Parody” – a musical parody of the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton.
Of course! I played a role in college- I went to Penn State and majored in Musical Theatre- and we did the show Legally Blonde and I played Paulette, the hairdresser. That, hands down, has been my favourite role I’ve ever played because it’s so silly and goofy. This is because this was the first time I could play a role on stage as goofy and as silly as I am. It’s such an amazing feeling!
I also did an obscure show that not a lot of people might know called “Kiss Of The Spiderwoman” in school. That was a crazy role because I was so young- only being a sophomore in college- and I was the lead character (Aurora). The stakes were high, I had a lot to prove at 19 years old and it was a huge dancing role, but I loved it!
Spamilton is a parody of Hamilton, so there are only 5 people in the entire show. Each person represents a Hamilton character and I’m actually the only girl on the show. As a result, I represent all of the female characters from Hamilton.
Spamilton combines other musicals as well. So although the core of the show is based on a parody of Hamilton, we also incorporate other shows in different ways. For instance, we’ll poke fun at and reference other popular Broadway musicals, as well.
There’s so much theatre incorporated into one parody which is really cool. It’s been such a great experience so far!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a huge Bachelor/Bachelorette fan! I’m super excited for this upcoming season featuring two Bachelorettes. Even though it’s an outdated soap opera-type show- like some people might think- I absolutely live for it! I’m excited to see what this brand new season will bring to the franchise. It will definitely make it more dramatic, I think! I don’t know what’s going to happen but it’s going to be exciting.
Other than the Bachelor, my boyfriend and I are really big on fitness so we go to the gym every single day. I also have a little fitness journey that I like to keep up with on my Instagram. It’s definitely something I’m really passionate about. I also love Soul Cycle!
I also love to travel a lot. Since things have started to become more lifted, with people travelling more, it’s definitely something I can’t wait to do. I can’t stay in one place for too long- I’m already ready to go! I just want to go somewhere soon. I never really cared to do it before, but after everything, travelling is something I absolutely love to do.
I’ve actually never left the country and it’s definitely on my bucket list! I would love to go to Spain, Italy or Greece.
Can you share a little bit more about how you help organizations such as the Actors Fund?
In theatre- and I’m not sure if this is controversial or not- but I think actors/actresses aren’t necessarily paid as much as I believe they should be paid. For example, going to see a Broadway show is one of the main tourist attractions but even a Broadway salary isn’t necessarily up to what I believe it should be. People who are part of the show are working so hard- every day and week- to put it together.
Especially after the pandemic, it’s been hard for actors to find work and secure liveable wages. Actors truly work so hard and they’re so talented. As a result, being able to raise money for that and help actors is something I’m passionate about and want to keep promoting in every way I can.
Published by HOLR Magazine.