If you don’t know who Rachel Zegler is yet, you will soon. The 19-year-old singer is about to become a superstar and is making her film debut in the upcoming remake of “West Side Story.” After the trailer for “West Side Story,” directed by Steven Spielberg, dropped, Zegler recorded herself watching it for the first time and had the best reaction to seeing herself on screen.
It’s clear that it was an emotional moment for Zegler, who uploaded the video to YouTube. In it, Zegler is clearly overwhelmed and repeatedly says “Oh my god.” After the trailer, the video cuts to a teary-eyed Zegler attempting to process the magnitude of her screen debut. “I just don’t know what to say,” admits the rising star. “I FaceTimed Steven [Spielberg] right after and I was just like, ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for changing my life.'”
It’s hard not to get caught up in Zegler’s excitement.
Playing Maria in West Side Story meant a lot to Rachel Zegler
Rachel Zegler says in the YouTube video that “West Side Story” is “important” to her, and thanks her fans for their support. “It just feels real now that I made something and people are going to see it,” she adds. “And it’s something that I’m really, really proud of. I had such a beautiful time making it.”
Zegler also reacted to the trailer on Instagram. “My heart doesn’t have the words just yet,” she wrote. “Forever thanks to my favorite person, Steven Spielberg, and to sixteen-year-old Rachel who just decided to send in a poorly lit self-tape. Thank you.”
The role means a lot to Zegler not just because it’s her feature film debut, but because the original 1961 film starred Natalie Wood — a white actress — playing Maria, who is Puerto Rican. The remake of “West Side Story” is righting the wrongs of the original film and Zegler, who is Latina, told Vogue she sees the adaptation as “a beautiful display of Latin joy and the way that young Latin girls deserve to see themselves — dancing around in pretty dresses and singing about loving themselves.”
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