Check out our interview with Latinx Creator and Actress Jessica Val Ortiz who currently plays all the female characters in “Spamilton, an American Parody”, the fictitious story of a very famous writer/director/star trying to save Broadway from mediocrity and oblivion.
When she is not entertaining on stage, you can find her creating some of the funniest content for her nearly 8 million followers across all platforms.
Follow Jessica on IG @jessvalortiz & TikTok @jessvalortiz
Hi Jessica, please tell us a little about you?
Hello! My name is Jessica, Jess, but my friends in school all called me JessVal…I loved the ring to it so now that’s what I go by! I went to college for Musical Theater and just finished up the “National Tour of Spamilton! An American Parody.” Besides acting, I am a full-time content creator on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram! When I’m not working, I’m usually with my family, doing soul cycle/working out, shopping, or watching the bachelor. I also have an amazing little kitty cat, Penelope (who is the absolute light of my life)!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Goofy, Giving, and Honest.
How did you get started into acting?
I performed in my very first show when I was 5 years old. Being on stage has been my greatest passion since then, and I knew that I needed to do it for a living once I hit my teenage years. I took many singing and dancing classes all throughout high school, and even started to act professionally at the age of 14.
How has this changed your life?
Being an actress has honestly saved me from any negative situation that has ever entered my life. In order for me to escape-I immediately turn to theater and the arts to put me in a better place. I’ve always loved performing so very much, and my love for it grows stronger every day.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part for me is the recognition. When I put days, even months of work into a particular role, and a friend, teacher, or loved one tells me that I’ve moved them in some way- that’s how I know I’ve done my job right. It’s the most fulfilling moment during my work. The worst part would be the judgment, and rejection. No matter what, everyone is going to have an opinion of you. But as long as you feel that you’ve done your best and put the work in, that’s all that matters. And it will most certainly get you to where you want to go.
How do you prepare for a role?
Research. Lots and lots of research. I also have to find ways to make the character my own, and try to put a little bit of JessVal into it, you know? I’m also a very collaborative worker. So when I get in the room with the creative team, I absolutely love to discover new parts of this role together as a group, to give our characters more depth.
Tell us about your work on “Spamilton, an American Parody?”
Working on the show has been incredibly fulfilling, because it’s my first performance back since the pandemic happened. I joined the production back in 2019 at The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO) which was a part of their cabaret series. Nearing the end of 2021, the producers for the tour asked me if I would like to join (which was the absolute most exciting news that I’ve heard in 2 years). I couldn’t believe it, and I’m very lucky to have been a part of this show for so long!
And how challenging is playing all the female characters? That’s impressive! Congrats!
It’s such a fun challenge because I get to sing in many different vocal styles throughout the show! I try to add something new or different to the roles at every show, just to keep it fresh! But bouncing from character to character, with a million costume changes on top of that, is very challenging for sure!
What other projects have you been part of?
I have worked at many theaters during my summers when I was in school. First was the Woodstock Playhouse, then Shenandoah Summer Music Theater, Pittsburgh (CLO) and now the tour! I’ve performed in shows such as West Side Story, Legally Blonde, Disney’s Newsies, Mary Poppins, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and many more!
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
My favorite role I’ve ever played was Paulette in Legally Blonde! It was the first comedic role I have ever played in my life, and that’s when I knew I wanted to dive deeper into comedy. Because of that experience, I would like to maybe explore more through TV and Film and try to audition for a comedy on Hulu or Netflix! The more I explore show business, the more I feel like there is definitely a place for me in the film world.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The smiles that I get to put on people’s faces. I’m an extreme empath, and all I want is for others to be happy. That’s truly the most fulfilling part of my job is seeing that I made a positive difference in someone’s life. That’s all I could ever ask for!
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Keep going. You’re going to face rejection, and disappointment, and huge bumps in the road. But keep going. Hard work will NEVER let you down. If you love it so much, it will eventually come to you. Just. Keep. Going.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
It’s important to accept the fact that everyone has an opinion. Whether it be a positive or negative opinion, you can’t let it affect you. All it will do is hold you BACK. I have thousands of comments that show up on my videos and I don’t ever try to look past the first 10. Don’t pay attention to the negativity because that will only hold you back!
What do you think is the secret to having a successful IG account?
I think if you want to become a content creator, it’s important to be consistent with your work, and try to post at least 4-5 times a week! Explore new things, try out new content! But most importantly, post what you LOVE and what you’re passionate about!
As a popular actress and influencer you are followed by so many people. How do you feel about that pressure of always doing the right thing, and encourage people to follow their dreams?
I face intense pressure almost every single day as a content creator. It’s scary because you never know if one day everything will all be gone, and then what? What if TikTok or Instagram shuts down? So I think because my job is so important to the media, I need to always be thinking of what’s next. I don’t want to have to worry about that any time soon, but I hope I can do what I’ve been doing for a very long time!
Now talking about Instagram, can you share some tips for keeping your account interesting?
I have discovered that my niche is very broad (comedy) but I perform in a very specific comedic style. It attracts mostly people my age, and Gen Z. I try to come up with relatable topics to make funny videos about, and it seems like people really resonate with it! But also, I bring a lot of my goofy self to my content, and for the most part, I get very positive responses from my followers. No matter what kind of content you’re creating, I think bringing yourself to your work is the most important part! If you love what you’re doing, your audience is also going to love it!
What is the feeling of having nearly 8 million followers across all platforms? That’s amazing!
It’s honestly a very exciting feeling-especially when I go to the grocery store or a restaurant and someone recognizes me out in public! It’s a new normal that I’m adjusting to, but I absolutely love it. I’m so incredibly grateful to have this platform, and I love getting to film and create content every single day!
I bet you get millions of it, but what are the best and worst Instagram DM pickup lines you received so far?
I honestly don’t experience too many people trying to slide into my DM’s…however I’ll never forget the first pickup line my boyfriend used on me (and I’ll forever judge him for it) and that’s “Are you a runner? Cause you’ve been running through my mind all day.” Bad, I know.
How would your best friend describe you?
They’ll say that I’m definitely the goofiest person in the room, and that if they ever need me I’m the first person to run to them for help.
If you were a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
It would be called Shapeshifter. Growing up I’ve had to wear so many hats. I was an actress, I was a daughter, a school student, an athlete and more. I would have to shift personalities every time I was with a new group. It was exhausting. I’m better at staying grounded and true to myself now, but growing up it wasn’t always like that.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
It would be that I don’t need to make everyone happy. That’s an impossible task, that will absolutely never happen. I should have done more of what made me happy, instead of trying to impress everyone else.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
What’s next for Jessica Val Ortiz in 2022?
I have a couple of musicals lined up that I’m very excited about! I’m not allowed to spill the beans just yet, but in a few short weeks I’ll be making the announcement on my socials!
What is your favorite healthy food?
Either bananas, pineapples or mangos!
And your favorite cheat food?
Ice cream and Cheetos
What is your own definition of happiness?
To be doing what I love the most. To be with the people that make me feel the most loved. And to experience the world in the way I wish to live through it, not the way anyone else wants me to.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Doja Cat…she is my biggest inspiration as an artist and human. She is so authentic and talented and beautiful in every way. I’m absolutely in love with her and her music!
Best advice ever given?
To trust myself, and listen to my gut. Almost 100% of the time my gut is telling the truth. It’s helped me make some of the best decisions of my life. I quit my soul-sucking 9-5 job back in August of 2021 to pursue a career in content creating even though I was not financially ready for it. But my gut told me it was time, so I made the riskiest decision of my life, and I’m so glad I did.
Do you support any charity?
I am currently supporting the Actors Fund through my TikTok profile!
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I see myself being an actress in a film or tv show. That would be the ultimate dream. I’ve developed such a precious new love for acting on film, and I hope to get to the next level before I turn 30.
Favorite song? Why?
Vegas by Doja Cat! She has such a uniqueness to her music, and I think it’s the perfect song for the summer. I can’t wait to listen to it in the new Elvis movie!
What do you think of Social Media?
It has completely changed my life in the best way. It has its ups and downs, there are trolls and people that aren’t very nice, but for the most part it has given me so much and it has given me a creative outlet to Express myself during a pandemic where nothing was accessible at all.
Where we can follow you?
I am on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram! @jessvalortiz on all social networks!
Book: I do not have one yet
Quote: The faster you learn to love yourself, the faster more love will come to you