Janelle Ortiz: JJJ Exclusive Interview, Part One!

Janelle Ortiz: JJJ Exclusive Interview, Part One!

Janelle Ortiz has become one of JJJ‘s great friends after we first met on the set of Prom late last year.

With Prom opening in theaters in just a few weeks, JJJ is taking you inside our interview and photo shoot with the 17-year-old actress so you can get to know all about the movie, her cast mates and what she’s really like.

Check out Part One of our interview below!

JJJ: Tell us about your character in the film
Janelle Ortiz: I play Alejandra Gomez, who goes by Ali. She’s the Latina best friend of Aimee Teegarden‘s character, Nova. She’s the gossip girl of the school and always digging up the dirt on all of her classmates. It was fun being able to play the girl who knows everything about everyone; an interesting experience. personally, I enjoy knowing things about people, but not that much. I’m definitely not the one to dig into people’s past and pull out their skeletons, if they have any.

JJJ: What were some of your favorite scenes in the film?
JO: The bedroom scene! It’s where myself, Aimee and Yin [Chang] are all in Nova’s bedroom and we see her Prom dress and Nova tells us about Jesse Richter, played by Thomas McDonell. It was such a great scene. It mimics real life a lot actually since we bonded a lot on set, we just took our friendship off screen and you could see us in Aimee’s bedroom at her home having the same conversation on any day.

(Click inside for some more of our interview with Janelle Ortiz…)
JJJ: Being the gossip girl in the movie where everyone is tweeting and texting, what medium do you really prefer?
JO: Texting is so easy and everyone has just gravitated towards it. But for me, I’m such a phone call person. I love hearing the other person’s voice on the other line and even more so, I’m an in-person person. I like to see and talk to the person. Texting isn’t great — especially if you are dating or just starting to date someone — you’ll know all about the other person before you know it because you’re playing twenty questions through your phone. You want to get to the know the person — in person.

JJJ: We’ve heard you had an interesting first meeting with everyone in the cast.
JO: Prom was my first everything so I was so nervous [at the table read] because I really didn’t know how it was going to be with everyone there in the room. I realized that once I got there though, we all noticed that everyone was nervous. We were all there, sitting at the table and we were all very quiet and just nodded to the others timidly. We were all so shy but we quickly realized that we had such a great group of people in our cast that we opened up really fast and became our crazy, normal selves.

JJJ: There have been a lot of comparisons passed around in recent months about Prom and High School Musical. What do you think of those?
JO: Oh yea, I’ve heard people say that in other interviews where they hate that but for me, it really doesn’t bug me. High School Musical was such a profitable franchise and Disney did a great job with it. It’s just funny because that really is the only thing you can compare it to right now. You have the John Hughes and Cameron Crowe comparison as well, but HSM was just so recent that that’s mostly what your brain will go to. There’s nothing really out there right now that’s similar to Prom, unless you do go back to the 1980s.

It’s definitely not like High School Musical. People don’t randomly break out into song and dance and the acting is very understated. Everything is very authentic and normal. But yea, the comparison really doesn’t bug me at all. I would love to sit down with Zac [Efron], Vanessa [Hudgens], Ashley [Tisdale] and that whole cast, just to pick their brains about being in a franchise like that.

Stay tuned for more of our exclusive interview and get-to-know session with Janelle. Prom opens in theaters on April 29th!

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Photos: Lesley Bryce for JJJ
Posted to: Exclusive, Janelle Ortiz
  • lulu

    ik this isnt really about the article, but why does she have to say “she’s the latina best friend”? why can’t she just leave the ethnicity bit out? it’s not like others go around saying “he is the black friend” or whatever, we need to stop talking about where people come from. this girl did not have to say what her character was, it has absolutely nothing to do with what the question was. and i’m not being racist or anything, just watch what morgan freeman says:


    i agree with him 110%

  • Just Jill

    @lulu: She didn’t mean anything bad by it. Aimee’s character in the film has two best friends. Janelle was just pointing out which one she was.


    I’m really excited that Disney is embracing some diverse characters with this movie. From the interview Janelle actually seems pretty cool and she has every right to be proud of her ethnicity. Good for her. I’m Puerto Rican and I play softball too, so she represents girls like me. I’ve taken some drama classes and school and can’t imagine what it would be like to get cast for a movie like this. Janelle, keep doing your thing, girl! If you don’t say anything about you’re heritage, they’re going to say you’re not proud of where you come from, and if you talk about it, they’ll say what difference does it make… we’re all just people. But its our cultural differences that can make our society diverse and strong. I’m going to go see your movie. Anyways I’ve got to see if they hook you up with Nolan or Nicholas Braun… those are my boys!

  • lulu

    @Just Jill: i know she didnt mean anything bad by it, in fact, I’m part Hispanic myself, but I don’t go around telling everyone I am. I’m not having a go at her personally, and OK she was pointing out which one she was, but a name would have been enough. If we want to get rid of racism, we need to stop pointing out. I’m sorry but I just don’t understand why she had to say it. My friend is half-vietnamese, and she doesn’t go around saying “I’m the Vietnamese friend of Lulu” just saying…

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