Jaina Lee Ortiz, born Jessica Ortiz, is an American actress and dancer, best known for portraying Detective Annalise Villa in the Fox crime drama series ‘Rosewood’. The Puerto Rican-origin actress is a trained Salsa/Mambo dancer as well. After dancing for several years, Ortiz slowly made her way to acting before attaining stardom with her Imagen Award-nominated performance in ‘Rosewood’. Some of her other noteworthy TV appearances include playing Lt. Andy Herrera in ‘Station 19’ & ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, Angela Tio in ‘Shooter’ and Petrona in ‘The Shop’. The actress has also appeared in several movies and some of her acclaimed performances include ‘High Voltage’, ‘Laid Out’, ‘Misfire’, and ‘Girls Trip’. The talented actress is one of the few Latin-American women cast as the lead on top-rated TV shows in America. She doesn’t take this role lightly and continues to be a vocal proponent of equal rights for Latin-American communities.
Jaina Lee Ortiz has been dancing since the age of 9. Her passion, which could perhaps be attributed to her Latin-American heritage, led her to become a dance instructor at the age of 15. She continued to play that role for 13 years while also performing in international dance shows. In the meantime, she was bitten by the acting bug and found herself appearing in a few student films at the age of 16. Subsequently, she made her way to Maggie Flanigan Studios in New York to study the Meisner acting technique. Ortiz then went on to make her debut on stage in an off-Broadway production. Shortly after that, she landed a role in the 2004 movie ‘Sad Spanish Song’. It was followed by her great performance as a dancer in the short movie ‘High Voltage’ (2008).
A year later, in 2009, Ortiz successfully auditioned for the second season of VH1’s ‘Scream Queens’ (2010). The reality show, in which 10 actresses competed to earn an acting opportunity in the movie ‘Saw 3D’ by participating in acting-related challenges, was a turning point in her career. She moved to California to participate in ‘Scream Queens’, which brought out the best in her and she finished as the runner up of the season. More importantly, it gave her international fame and exposure. In 2011, she appeared as herself in the documentary ‘I Want to Be Tom Savini’. Ortiz earned her first prominent role of Petrona in the 2012 web series ‘The Shop’. In the same year, she also worked in the movie ‘Misfire’ and followed that up with her appearance in the short film ‘Laid Out’ (2013). While she was getting small roles here and there, Ortiz was still an aspiring actress at this point without any major TV roles to her credit. However, her fate changed after her appearance in the pilot of the Amazon series ‘The After’ in 2014. The pilot began airing for free online and impressed Amazon enough to order eight more episodes. Sadly, they canceled the series without shooting any more episode apart from the pilot.
While ‘The After’s’ cancellation was a setback for her, Ortiz soon bounced back when she was cast as the lead female character, Detective Annalise Villa, in Fox’s crime-drama series ‘Rosewood’ (2015 – 2017). The pilot was a hit and the series aired for two seasons, launching Ortiz as the breakout star of the series. Simultaneously, in 2017, she was seen as herself in the award-winning movie ‘Girls Trip’ alongside the likes of Regina Hall and Queen Latifah. She also landed the recurring role of Angela Tio in the USA Network drama ‘Shooter’, the same year. Clearly, Ortiz was becoming a rising star, which became even more apparent when she was roped in to play Lt. Andrea ‘Andy’ Herrera in two episodes of the show ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (2018). Her role was appreciated and it led to her being cast in the lead role of Lt. Andy Herrera in the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ spinoff, ‘Station 19’ (2018 – present).
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Family & Personal Life
Jaina Lee Ortiz was born on November 20, 1986, at the Fort Ord Army Base in California, USA. Both of her parents are first-generation Puerto Rican Americans. Her father Joe Ortiz served as a detective first grade for the New York Police Department for 23 years. Her mother Daisey Acevdeo and her father got divorced when she was only seven years old. Although Ortiz was brought up by her mother in the neighborhood of ‘The Bronx’s Castle Hill’, she was equally loved and supported by her father. While Ortiz has not confirmed the date of her marriage, it is assumed from her Instagram posts that she got married to Bradley Marques on January 1, 2010, just two months after they started dating. The couple is happily married and has no children so far.