Picture this: It's your senior year of high school and you're being scouted by Yale for a possible athletic scholarship. Suddenly you sustain an injury that makes the scholarship disappear. You'd probably feel like giving up, right? Not if you're Janelle Ortiz.
The resilient 17-year-old Cubana, who is one of the stars of Disney’s highly anticipated new movie, PROM, (which opens nationwide on April 29), had that very thing happen to her, only instead of becoming a couch potato, Ortiz traded in her lifelong passion for sports (she's been playing softball since she was seven!), for a new dream: acting. "When it was taken away," Ortiz says, "I began acting and wound up falling in love with it."
Ortiz's role as Alejandra "Ali" Gomez in the coming-of-age comedy, PROM, is her very first movie role ever. In the movie, which centers on a group of teenagers getting ready for their high school prom, she plays the nosy best friend of Aimee Teegarden’s character, Nova.
“She’s the gossip girl of the school and is always digging up the dirt on all of her classmates. It was fun being able to play the girl who knows everything about everyone,” Ortiz says. But in real life, Ortiz and her character don't have much in common. “I enjoy knowing things about people, but not that much," Ortiz says. "I’m definitely not the one to dig into people’s past and pull out their skeletons, if they have any.”