What it’s Like to Star on Two Disney Channel Shows… at the Same Time!
We’d by lying if we said we’ve never dreamed about starring on a hit TV show on Disney Channel; who hasn’t?! Although there is somewhat of a stigma surrounding celebs who leave DC and instantly go into a more adult roles, the channel has produced some of the most well-known and loved shows of all time. From classics like That’s So Raven and Wizards of Waverly Place to new favorites like Bunk’D, there’s always something hilarious happening.
One of the newest shows that you cannot miss is Stuck in the Middle, which focuses on the life of engineering whiz Harley Diaz (played by Jenna Ortega) and her adventures of being the middle child in a family of seven kids. The show just aired its season finale has been picked up for a second, and we couldn’t be more excited!
During her break following the conclusion of season 1, the 13-year-old didn’t take any well-deserved vacay time. Instead, she became a part of history and joined the cast of Elena of Avalor, a cartoon about the first Latina Disney princess. Starring in the princesses TV show as Elena’s little sister, Isabel, Jenna is now part of not one, but two, major shows on Disney Channel… at the same time! We recently sat down with the actress and talked about everything from being part of the Disney family, meeting Britney Spears and making her Broadway debut in the New York Spectacular alongside The Rockettes.
“Being part of the Disney Channel family is a blessing,” she said. “Ever since I was younger, it was my dream to be on a Disney Channel show. I would tell my parents, ‘Just you wait, I’m gonna be on a Disney one day.’ They thought I was crazy, but they still supported me and allowed me to follow my dreams.”
Although Harley is the middle child of a huge family, the teen says that her character is pretty similar to her family IRL.
“I can definitely relate to Harley on that level, being in the middle of a big family. Each and every one of my own siblings reminds me of a Stuck in the Middle members. So it’s like going to work every day and seeing my family and it’s really fun. The Stuck in the Middle set is my favorite because I get along with everyone and they’re so sweet and I just have the best time.”
Georgie's Quinceañera scene was the last scene shot for season one. We grew incredibly close while filming and as actors we realize that nothing in this business is guaranteed. When this picture was taken, we didn't know if we'd be back for a season 2. We are incredibly grateful to @disneychannel for picking us up for a second season which means more great memories and the opportunity for us to do what we love everyday! Tune in this week 7/18-7/22 at 8pm for a whole week of new SITM episodes. I love you @kaymais and can't wait to be stuck with you every day again very soon! #StuckInTheMiddle
Going from playing a child inventor stuck in the middle of a huge family to portraying a princess may sound like a huge transition, but Harley and Isabel are more similar than you would expect. Both characters are described as being creative, curious and inventive, something that Jenna sees as being a reason as to why they are so relatable and well-received.
“I think fans are attracted to her [Harley] because she is different. She’s into engineering and math and science and while a lot of people hate those subjects, she finds them very fascinating she’s okay with that. She likes that she’s different, and doesn’t care what people think. She doesn’t care if people think shes a nerd because the stuff some people consider nerdy she really loves. That’s something I recently learned, how to be confident and comfortable in what I like and enjoy doing, trying to not let hater comments get to me.”
We love Jenna’s confidence and how she promotes individuality and self-love. When we first heard that we were finally getting a Latina princess, we couldn’t handle our excitement, but we don’t think anyone was more proud and excited than the star herself.
“I am so honored to be a part of the Elena of Avalor cast. Young Latinas can now see themselves as a Disney princess, that’s not something I had growing up and I think that Elena stands out from other princesses because she is brave and adventurous and doesn’t care about getting dressed up as much as she cares about standing up for what’s right. I think that’s a little different from what people think of when they hear princess, and I am very proud of it and excited to share it with everyone. When I found out that it was going to be a TV show, I was super excited because I feel that fans can relate to the character more and see more situations and things that an every day princess has to go through.”
The series premiere of Elena of Avalor just debuted on Disney Channel, but Jenna couldn’t celebrate too long because she spent a majority of her summer in New York City performing on stage at Radio City Music Hall, one of the biggest and well-known stages in the country.
Tonight after my 5pm show, I will be taking my final bow with all of these talented people on the biggest indoor stage in the greatest city in the world. It has been such a great experience. A big thank you to @madisonsquaregarden @miamichaels @radiocitymusichall for choosing me to play Emily and giving me the most incredible summer I will never forget! #NYSpectacular
“It was so nerve-wracking for me. I have no idea where they came up with the idea that I would be a great for the role in the New York Spectacular because I have never done theater before. I don’t consider myself to be a singer or dancer, and when I hear Broadway I think of singers and dancers and actors. There are so many actresses out there, and I kept thinking, ‘Why me?’ Hearing that I would be performing at Radio City Music Hall, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was so nervous about not messing up in front of the crowd, I wanted to make a good first impression because it was going to be my Broadway debut and it was big deal for me.”
Thankfully, it all worked out and Jenna crushed every performance as she played Emily, a girl who get separated from her parents with her younger brother while they are on a family trip to New York City. From starring on two different TV shows and making her name known on The Great White Way all in one summer, It seems like there is nothing Jenna can’t handle. The budding Hollywood sensation revealed that there is still one thing that trips her up, however — meeting celebrities.
“I got starstruck once when I was on the set of Jane the Virgin when I met Britney Spears. My mom kept saying, ‘Oh my gosh Jenna, this is such a big deal!’ And I was just saying that it was no big deal but then I walked in and just froze in my place. I thought I was going to pee my pants, she was so nice and was complimenting me, I wanted to cry. I acted like a totally different person, I just couldn’t talk.”
Trust us, we would have acted the same way.
Don’t forget to catch Jenna on Elena of Avalor and Stuck in the Middle on Disney Channel now!
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