Jaina Lee Ortiz
The Bronx-born actress Jaina Lee Ortiz knows a thing or two about beauty. After all, she’s a professional salsa dancer and a makeup artist. So we sat down with the star to chat about all things pretty, from her skincare routine to the pressures she faced early on to conform to Hollywood standards.
Jaina Lee Ortiz was born on November 20, 1986 in California, but she grew up in the Bronx. She was raised by her parents, Daisey Sara Acevedo and Joe Ortiz, a retired NYPD 1st grade detective.
She started her career as a dancer at the age of nine and became a professional instructor and performer by the time she was 15. Her career took off when she appeared on the reality show Scream Queens in 2009. At the season finale, she was crowned the first runner-up.
A Year After Scream Queens, She landed a Breakout Role
After her success on Scream Queens, she moved to Los Angeles where she landed a role in the Amazon pilot “The After” produced by Chris Carter. However, the series was canceled by the network. This was a setback for the star but she went on to land the lead role of Annalise Villa in Fox’s crime-drama series “Rosewood” (2015 – 2017), which led her to a breakout career.
Her recurring role as Angela Tio in USA Network’s drama “Shooter” (2017-2018) was another major breakthrough for the actress. Her performance was appreciated by the fans and she was soon cast as Lt. Andrea ‘Andy’ Herrera in the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Station 19 (2018 – present).
How She Got Her Start As an Actress
The young actress began her career in 2010 when she was a contestant on the second season of VH1’s reality show “Scream Queens” where she competed against nine other aspiring actresses. She was a runner-up on the show and earned international fame and exposure.
In the years that followed, she was able to land roles in several movies and television shows. In 2014, she appeared in the starring role of Officer Marly Gonzalez in the series “The After” (Amazon, 2014), and in the same year, she starred in the short film “Laid Out.”
She later appeared on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” and its spinoff “Station 19” as Andy Herrera’s mother, Andrea. Her role in the latter was very well-received and she was soon tapped for the role of Annalise Villa on “Rosewood.”
How She Built Her Career
It all started with her love of dancing. As a child, she loved to dance and would regularly take Salsa and Mambo classes. She would even travel internationally as a professional dancer and instructor. Her passion for dance eventually led her to study acting at Maggie Flanigan Studios in New York, where she learned the Meisner technique.
The actress had a very difficult childhood and grew up in a broken home. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old, and she had to live with her mom.