Hollywood is full of transformation stories. Artists often change their names for a variety of reasons: they might want to stand out, connect better with their audiences, or perhaps it’s simply about personal evolution. For Jaina Lee Ortiz, the leading actress in the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off ‘Station 19,’ it was a bit of all three.
Born as Jessica Ortiz, Jaina felt the need to distinguish herself artistically. Speaking to Glamour, she revealed how she tried to fit into the industry:
“I thought, I have to fit in. Now I know differently. I am what I am, and I’m going to own it and scream it out the window: ‘I’m Puerto Rican. I’m from the Bronx. I can play these roles, and that’s it. Period.'”
In an industry overflowing with talent, standing out can make all the difference. On her name-change decision, Ortiz continued:
In the same interview, Jaina said she adopted her first name to pay homage to her favorite letter, ‘J.’ The middle name ‘Lee’ came as a nod to Bruce Lee, her father’s favorite personality. Fast forward to today, Jessica evolved into Jaina Lee. Here we present you with five facts you may not know about her!
Jaina Was a Professional Dancer
Long before her stardom in Hollywood, Jaina’s first love was dancing, especially salsa and mambo! She began training at the age of nine, and by the time she was 15, she was already sharing her skills as a dance instructor.
Her Rosewood Journey
One of Jaina’s notable roles was as Detective Annalise Villa in the Fox police drama ‘Rosewood.’ However, the show was unfortunately canceled in May 2017 after two seasons. Despite the setback, Jaina continued to evolve as an actress and searched for her next acting venture.
She Has a Family Connection to Law Enforcement
It might surprise some fans to learn that Jaina’s connection to playing a detective on Rosewood wasn’t entirely fabricated for television. In reality, her father, Joe Ortiz, serves as a first-grade detective for the New York Police Department. Speaking to TVPlus in 2016, she said she owes her success as a tough TV cop to her dad.
Jaina Was Married to Brad Marques
Jaina was married to Brad Marques, a scriptwriter in the entertainment industry. The two exchanged vows in a private ceremony attended by close family and friends in 2010. However, they are now divorced, and the reasons and the exact date of their split remain unknown. As of now, it’s rumored that Jaina and her co-star Jay Hayden are dating.
She Made a Grey’s Anatomy Debut Before Station 19
Before she led the cast of ‘Station 19,’ Jaina made her first appearance on its parent show, ‘Grey’s Anatomy.‘ Her performance resonated well with audiences, leading to her being cast in the spin-off. Today, Jaina Lee Ortiz continues her portrayal of firefighter Andy Herrera on ‘Station 19,’ and the series was renewed for a seventh season in April.