I recently got the chance to talk to Janelle Ortiz about her role in new Disney film – ‘Prom’. Here, Janelle talks about the film, how she got into acting and what is coming up for her in 2011….
Hey Janelle. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Obviously we’ve got you here to talk about Disney’s new release, ‘Prom’. The film’s plotline basically surrounds a bunch of students preparing for their high-school prom and the events – good and bad – leading up to the night.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
I play Ali Gomez. She is Nova Prescott’s best friend and is the girl who is constantly digging up dirt about her fellow classmates. Although she enjoys being the “gossip girl” of Brookside, I will say that she’s not malicious in her information gathering!
A user from IMDB has reviewed the film, saying that “Prom’ is a movie that will make teenage girls go gaga and laugh at almost every scene. If they are not laughing, then there is a good chance that they will be swooning over the guy leads in this movie or awing at the cuteness this movie does have”- would you agree with this?
I would agree. ‘Prom’ is very funny and does have some attractive male leads, but it also deals with the authentic emotions that typical high school students face during their preparations for prom night. There are also scenes that are very heartfelt and not without their share of teen angst.
How do you think the film differs from other Disney related romantic teen films such as ‘High School Musical’?
One key difference is that no-one turns a corner and randomly bursts into a well choreographed song and dance routine! I think the most important difference about ‘Prom’ is that it is a more authentic portrayal of high school life. The acting is really rather understated; in that sense it might be more relatable to people than say something like ‘HSM’.
Do you remember what happened on your prom night?
Most definitely. There was a lot of dancing, picture-taking and, of course, no shortage of boy-related drama!
Let’s talk a bit about you Janelle. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I was originally an athlete. It was my passion and I was planning on attending college on a softball scholarship. But during my junior year of high school, I injured myself and was no longer able to compete at the level to which I was accustomed. Once I was injured, I started taking acting classes as a form of therapy; it enabled me to get out of my head and become someone else for a bit. I immediately fell in love with the craft and have been hooked ever since!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow a career in acting?
Having a solid foundation is critical. Without proper training, you’ll neither feel comfortable taking risks as an actor nor will you ever truly realize your potential. I solely trained for two years until I felt comfortable enough to start auditioning. Actually, ‘Prom’ was only my 2nd audition. 1,500 girls auditioned for the role.
What kind of roles would you like to tackle in the future?
My goal is to portray interesting characters, regardless if it’s a lead or a character role. If I feel passionate about the character, I want to bring her to life as authentically as possible. I must admit that playing a superhero(ine) would be pretty awesome, too!
What does a Janelle Ortiz day usually consist of?
I have two younger siblings who I absolutely adore, so I love spending time with them. My day usually consists of going to acting class, auditioning, or spending time with my friends and family. I love music, so I try to attend as many concerts as possible.
What else is coming up for you in 2011?
I’ve written lyrics for years (especially on notebooks when I probably should’ve been studying in class!) and I’m finally putting them to music, as well as working on some covers. I hope to have an EP out soon. Stay tuned!
Thanks for the interview!