You may know her as Maria in West Side Story, but Rachel Zegler‘s rise to fame is one for the books!

Rachel was only 16, still a high school student, when she first auditioned for West Side Story.

“The process was extremely long and very stressful. I auditioned for about two and a half weeks shy of a year, which is not very common in things like this,” she told Buzzfeed in December 2021. “I went in for the team about five or six times before I actually got the part. But I was basically in auditions from January of 2018 to January of 2019.”

Discovered by Steven Spielberg out of 30,000 hopefuls, Rachel won the coveted role of Maria and went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Not only that, but she was cast as the lead in Disney’s live action movie for Snow White, coming in 2023. You can also spot her in the newest Shazam movie titled Shazam! Fury of the Gods, coming to theatres in December 2022. Booked and busy, indeed!

“To look back at those years and say, ‘Now you’re going to be a Disney princess,’ it’s kind of crazy,” Rachel told USA Today in December 2021. “It’s not lost on me how lucky I have been. I’m so fortunate, and I owe a lot of it to Steven.”

She told Allure Magazine in November 2021 about how she is dealing with her rise to fame. “I think more celebrities could work on establishing themselves as human beings, first and foremost,” she said.

“Being excited about things, about your job opportunities, when you meet someone you admire. Don’t try to play it cool because we know you’re not playing it cool in your head when you meet Bruce Springsteen. I was not cool. So, it’s okay to be a fan. I think that’s the reason we all got here in the first place, because we loved a movie, and now, we’re in the movies. So still be that kid who loved the movie. I, for one, will be tweeting about Star Wars well into my 70s.”

Love that for her. Scroll through our gallery to see Rachel Zegler’s transformation from high school to the movie screen!

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