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Jessica Val Ortiz: Rising To Success On Stage And TikTok

Interview by: Lauren Sanchez | December 3, 2022 | Photos by: Julianna McGuirl

Theater actress and full-time content creator, JessVal Ortiz, chatted with HAZZE Media Journalist Lauren Sanchez, to talk about her love for the stage, her overwhelming success on TikTok and the importance of making people laugh.


L: For those who might not be familiar with you and your work, do you mind giving us a short introduction to who you are?

J: Hi! My name is JessVal Ortiz, I’m an actress and content creator on TikTok and Instagram! I started creating back in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic to pass the time, but then suddenly became a full-time profession for me!

L: How did you get into theater in the first place? Who are your biggest theater

inspirations?

J: I started performing in musicals when I was five years old. It instantly became my greatest passion, and I’ve been so fortunate to make it a career. I spent my high school years training professionally in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and then went to college at Penn State University and got my BFA in Musical Theatre. I would say that I have many inspirations, including many of my incredible friends and classmates that I went to college with. So many of them are on Broadway and national tours, which is so thrilling for me to witness and it truly motivates me to chase after my dreams!

L: If you could play any dream role on stage, who would you choose and why?

J: My dream role has always been Christine in Phantom of the Opera! I saw the show for the very first time when I was six years old and instantly fell in love. As I got older, my voice started to get a little more mature and I was trained to sing a lot deeper. Christine is a high soprano role, so unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to get the chance to play that role… but hey, never say never!

L: Has the success of TikTok surprised you in any way? I can’t imagine how cool, but also very overwhelming it would be to have over 8.3 million followers!

J: Thank you so very much! It was a bit alarming when my very first video blew up, I tried to go viral for almost three months and I had no luck. It was very hard to stay motivated because I truly wasn’t getting anywhere. I think being consistent and trying new things was the key to my success. I always want to branch out and evolve when it comes to my content, so I’m really excited to see where my videos will lead me next!

L: How do you decide on what content you are creating? I’ve been following you for such a long time on TikTok and your TikToks never fail to make me laugh. How do you get your ideas?

J: I get a lot of ideas from my family! We love to collaborate and think of fun, new, relatable ideas that we think the average person would go through in a day, and then I would base my skit on that! It’s always so fun when I get my family members involved in a video, the people especially love my dad–I think I get my sense of humor from him!

L: How did you manage to find a balance between being a full-time content creator and your on-stage career?

J: This summer was very challenging because I was performing in three shows back to back, for three months, while I was content creating at the same time. I felt like my content took a back seat for most of the summer since I would be working 10 hours out of the day. It was super fun, but certainly a challenge! I tried to stay active online as much as possible and would find inspiration from my friends who are very interested in my content creation, so it was nice to have a little help!

L: How has your love for theater and the arts influenced the way you view yourself as an actress and comedian? What has been the best lesson you have learned because of it?

J: Theater has always been my biggest outlet when it came to expressing myself. I truly found my comedic side when I was cast as Paulette in the Musical Legally Blonde. After that experience, I knew that I wanted to be involved in comedy. Making people laugh is truly the most fulfilling thing for me, and I’m so beyond lucky to get to do that as a full time job-whether it’s onstage or on my phone!

L: What was it like to do the “Drowsy Chaperone”, “Kinky Boots”, AND “Sister Act” this summer? Is the life of a performer always this chaotic? How did you manage to not let yourself feel burnt out?

J: It was one of the best summers of my life! It was always a dream of mine to perform at one of the most famous regional theaters in the country, the Benedum Center at Pittsburgh CLO, and I finally was able to hit this big accomplishment of mine! There were days when I was extremely tired and worn out, however being able to sing and dance on that stage filled my soul with so much love and joy.

L: Out of the three shows you did this summer, which was your favorite one to perform the most and why?

J: I think it’s a tie between Kinky Boots and The Drowsy Chaperone! They are so different from each other, but I absolutely love singing and dancing to those scores! Also, the people I was able to work within those productions were absolutely incredible. I learned so much and made such incredible friends as well.

L: I know that you teach voice lessons to aspiring singers and actors and that you contribute to the Actors Fund, an organization that provides aid and help to those who are in the performing arts– which is absolutely incredible! How has giving back to the arts community impacted your life for the better?

J: COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on the arts, so being able to help raise money, and use my platform to do so means the world to not only me but to the thousands of people involved in the arts that work their butts off every single day! Broadway is home to so many incredible people, and we need to keep that light shining!

L: What is something that you are looking forward to in the future, whether that’d be on TikTok and social media or in the theater?

J: I think being involved in any type of film would be an amazing experience. I could see myself in television, modeling, and commercial work, so hopefully 2023 will have some very exciting things in store for me when it comes to those opportunities, we’ll see!


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