Rachel Zegler BiographyRachel Zegler is an American singer and actress of Colombian descent, who gained popularity for her role as Maria Vasquez in Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" (2021). She became the youngest Golden Globe winner in the award's history and was honored by the National Society of Film Critics USA as the best young actress.
In 2023, she played the lead role in "The Hunger Games" prequel, "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," while the internet discussed her appearance as Snow White in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney's 1937 cartoon, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
Childhood, Youth, FamilyRachel Anne Zegler was born in the spring of 2001 to Gina and Craig Zegler, who lived in the small town of Hackensack, New Jersey. The actress's paternal ancestors were Polish Jews, and her maternal ancestors were Colombians. Rachel grew up with her older sister Jacqueline, whom she always looked up to.
Later, the family moved to Clifton. Rachel attended Saint Philip the Apostle Preparatory School and then studied at the Immaculate Conception High School.
In addition to her beauty, nature gifted Rachel with perfect pitch, a expressive voice, and a unique way of thinking. Unlike her classmates who studied piano or cello, Zegler chose the saxophone. At school, she played leading roles in musicals: she was Ariel in "The Little Mermaid", Princess Fiona in "Shrek", and Belle in "Beauty and the Beast".
Zegler also created a YouTube channel and posted covers of famous compositions, such as songs by Lady Gaga. The covers performed by the talented teenager quickly found grateful viewers, and Rachel was confident that she would become a singer in the future.
Acting CareerThis confidence prompted the young girl to submit a video of her singing "I Feel Pretty" to an online casting call announced by Steven Spielberg. The iconic director was planning to adapt the famous musical "West Side Story" in his own interpretation. To find his Romeo and Juliet (Tony and Maria), Spielberg was prepared to review tens of thousands of applicants and stated:
We needed to find our own sound. On the one hand, the film had to stay the same, but on the other, it had to be noticeably different. We didn't want to fix what wasn't broken, yet we wanted to justify why we're telling this story again. This partly concerns the cast. I wanted to hold authentic casting, so that the actors playing the boys and girls from the Sharks gang were one hundred percent young Latin Americans."West Side Story" in a new interpretation is a film about love against the backdrop of an almost political struggle of New York's criminal clans - the Jets and the Sharks. Both clans consider themselves right, and the battles between them are to the death. The role of the young Jet, Tony, was given to Ansel Elgort, while the casting for the role of Shark Maria lasted over a year.
Speaking about how she learned of her victory over thirty thousand applicants, Rachel shared in her first star interview:
I kept waiting, waiting, and even started to lose hope. But they called me and asked me to come to the casting again. I did a scene with Ansel. It felt like meeting old friends. We spent the whole day with Steven and him. The atmosphere was incredibly calm and relaxed. I remember that they then asked Ansel to leave the room and called my mom, which seemed strange to me. Everyone stood in a semi-circle, and Steven came up to me and said he wanted to announce that I got the role of Maria. I remember shouting something indecent and we hugged tightly. That's when the real work began.The role in "West Side Story" brought the budding actress unprecedented success and her first professional award, which many Hollywood stars wait for years. Zegler became the Golden Globe winner in the category "Best Actress - Musical or Comedy", then signed a contract with the talent agency ICM Partners.
Simultaneously, Zegler recorded her debut song Let Me Try, which also became successful, and was included in the Forbes "30 Under 30" list (a list of 30 most promising stars under 30). The only disappointment for Rachel was the lack of an invitation to the Oscar ceremony and a nomination in it.
Next was even bigger. Preparing for the leading role in Francis Lawrence's adventure film "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes", which was released in 2023, Zegler carefully reviewed all the original films to master Jennifer Lawrence's gestures as Katniss. Her portrayal of Lucy Gray Baird (the main character played by Rachel) was spot on.
I really enjoyed being Lucy Gray. I think she has similarities with Katniss, and the pleasure from this role only increases. Watch the original trilogy and see how Lucy Gray continues to haunt Snow even in his old age, he sees her echoes in Katniss Everdeen., the actress shared after filming. Furthermore, Zegler starred in the comedy action film "Shazam! Fury of the Gods", where she played the daughter of Atlantis and sister of Hespera. The main character in the film was portrayed by Zachary Levi.
When it became known that Rachel was chosen for the role of Snow White in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney's animated film by director Marc Webb, there was a stir on social media. Many were displeased that an actress with Latin American roots was chosen for the role of a princess with a "speaking" name.
Haters drove the actress to the point where she developed imposter syndrome. After all, according to Zegler, she didn't even know what role she was auditioning for:
I really didn't know what I was auditioning for. I just knew it was an unnamed Disney project. And I met him for the first time. I had disguised pages, there were no character names, and in fact they told little about the plot.
Personal Life of Rachel ZeglerThe petite beauty is always in demand by fans, especially after the roaring success of "West Side Story". The young woman is not in a hurry to announce her hobbies and spends most of her time mastering her acting career.
There were rumors about her romance with co-star Ansel Elgort, but the young man's heart was occupied by another girl at the time - ballerina Violetta Komyshan.
In fact, according to all-knowing journalists, tender feelings on the set arose between Rachel and the actor playing a secondary role, Chino, portrayed by Josh Andres Rivera. He is currently referred to as the brilliant debutante's boyfriend. However, the young people have not commented on these assumptions, although they starred together in another movie - "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes".
Rachel Zegler NowDespite the objections of her critics, Rachel has started working on the role of Snow White. The premiere of the film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is scheduled for 2025. It is known that the Wicked Stepmother in the movie will be played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
Zegler also has another project ahead, launched by the company "A 24" - the comedy "Y2K".
- In her school years, Rachel Zegler's idols were Rita Moreno, Bob Dylan, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga. Zegler's cover of the song Shallow, performed by Lady Gaga with Bradley Cooper in the movie "A Star Is Born," amassed over twelve million views on Zegler's channel.
- After the release of "West Side Story," Rachel Zegler became an ambassador for the Dior brand.
- In one of her interviews, Zegler stated that in the film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the dwarfs from the cartoon will be referred to as "magical beings" so as not to offend anyone. Moreover, the plot will focus on the heroine's self-sufficiency, who will not wait for a prince but will become a strong leader herself. In addition, the future Snow White performer stated that the film's creators will abandon the "strange" love line: "That is, you know, the original cartoon was released in 1937. There was a lot of attention paid to her love story with a guy who was literally stalking her. That's weird. So this time we didn't do that," Rachel shared.
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