Most of us who aren’t from California associate Coachella Valley with its annual music festival. Since 1999, the three-day weekends have showcased some of the most popular and established musical artists. From Prince and Jay-Z to Coldplay and Beyoncé, its headliners and millions of attendees have made it one of the most famous musical festivals in the world.
This year, with headliners like Frank Ocean and Bad Bunny, the latter who is the first Latine artist to headline the festival in its history, the desert will again be turned into a playground and party hub. But for Jenna Ortega, who grew up outside of Palm Springs in La Quinta, Coachella Valley represents the exact opposite: It's home. “It’s somewhere I can take my mind off things and just hang out with friends and family,” she tells Refinery29 Somos in a Zoom interview about her new campaign as the face of Adidas’ spring/summer 2023 collection. “Now that I’ve lived in L.A. a couple years, I think it makes me appreciate the slow pace and the tight-knit community that’s over in the Coachella Valley.”
In fact, At 20 years old, Ortega has spent more of her life on-screen than off. She's been booking steady television and film work since her big break at just nine in 2012 in the CBS comedy Rob, with subsequent roles in The Fallout, the Scream movies, Jane The Virgin, and You. But it wasn’t until recently that her career took a turning point with Netflix’s Wednesday.
Solidifying her place in Hollywood as a respected actor, Ortega is going into adulthood with more than just acting contracts, including this Adidas partnership. Being the the face of their latest collection is full circle for Ortega, who grew up wearing the brand. “It's really exciting for me because Adidas was the go-to for everything. We wore them to school if we could, soccer practice and games even,” Ortega says. “I feel like the brand was definitely a forefront brand of my childhood growing up... To be a part of this is really special to me, and kind of unbelievable.”
Soccer is unarguably the most prevalent sport in Mexico, and for the little girl who grew up playing soccer in Coachella Valley, raised by a Mexican dad and a Mexican-Puerto Rican mom in a mostly Latine community, being the face of the soccer brand with the most soccer sponsorships globally is a special type of victory. With the All That You Are campaign celebrating comfort found in self-expression, it’s the perfect fit for Ortega, who uses her time off-screen expressing herself artistically through different mediums such as music.
At the height of her success and despite the online buzz, Ortega tells us that in her personal life, not much has changed. “I still haven’t ever been so confused or uncertain, especially when everyone says so many nice things, it kind of throws you off a bit, so more recently now than ever I’m trying to do things that are interesting to me.”
Now that I’ve lived in L.A. a couple years, I think it makes me appreciate the slow pace and the tight-knit community that’s over in the Coachella Valley.
These days, it's music and work that serves as Ortega’s greatest distraction from the madness. “I’m prepping my next couple of jobs so just focusing on that and the characters and the people that I want to build and represent.” As for home, Ortega wants us to know that Coachella Valley is more than just its luxurious and reputable festival. “I’m not sure what it is, but going home to the desert feels like a good reminder that nothing is ever that serious.” She adds: “I’ll always love it there. It’ll always be where I want to run to.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.