Growing up in the spotlight with social media isn’t easy.
In a new “Actors on Actors” episode at Variety, Jenna Ortega gets very emotional talking about the toll the toxicity of social media has taken on her in a conversation with Elle Fanning.
Jenna Ortega starts to cry as she talks to Elle Fanning about how toxic social media can be: "It's such a hard thing to balance. How do you be honest without jeopardizing your own health and safety? It's very easy to feel out of control." https://t.co/MqDrkNvpc6 pic.twitter.com/mb4L1q2RVv
— Variety (@Variety) June 7, 2023
“It gets ugly,” Ortega says of her engagement with Instagram. “When I was younger, they would take us to media training — Disney 101 or something like that — where they would say, ‘You’re going to post three times a day. This is how you build followers, engage, promote our show.’ You could go into an audition or meeting, and it was ‘How many followers do you have?'”
She continues, “Even after shooting “Wednesday,” when I was auditioning, they would come to my team: “We like her, but we just don’t know if she has enough of a name.” And social media, what it does to anyone our age, it’s such a comparing game. It influences bandwagon mentality. It’s very manipulative. After the show, I’m really nervous to post or even say anything on there or even be myself because I feel like…”
“…it could be misinterpreted,” Fanning says.
“Yeah. Because I naturally tend to be sarcastic or dry, it’s very easy for me to find myself in trouble,” Ortega agrees.
“I want people to be able to get to know the people behind the camera and realize that people should never be put on a pedestal. And the more I’ve been exposed to the world, people prey on that and take advantage of that. They see your vulnerability and twist it in a way that you don’t always expect,” she adds, beginning to cry. “It’s so strange. Sorry, I didn’t mean to do this.”
“No, it’s okay,” Fanning tells her.
“It’s such a hard thing to balance,” Ortega says. “Because how do you be honest without jeopardizing your own health and safety? It’s very easy to feel almost out of control.”
Fanning adds, “You have to protect yourself, and also just know when to put it away and know it doesn’t matter. That’s not the real world.”
“I still have this really intense urge to be human and honest and authentic,” Ortega explains. “Another thing about this industry is you get in front of a camera and people want you to be something else — where it’s “Have more energy” or “Could you smile?” and it just feels gross. And I don’t want to feel gross. I would rather people see me cry and do whatever than be something I’m not.”