The viral video that launched ‘West Side Story’ star Rachel Zegler to stardom

10 December 2021, 18:42 | Updated: 13 December 2021, 09:29

20-year-old Colombian-American actor and singer-songwriter Rachel Zegler
20-year-old Colombian-American actor and singer-songwriter Rachel Zegler. Picture: Getty

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Rachel Zegler has won cinema audience’s hearts in Spielberg’s West Side Story, but she won the Internet’s hearts much earlier. Watch the video that started it all...

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Rachel Zegler is a 20-year-old Colombian-American actor and singer-songwriter who stars as Maria in the new West Side Story.

She landed the iconic role after responding to Spielberg’s open casting call for the character of Maria in the upcoming film in 2018, at just 16 years old.

But landing the role wasn’t the first time Zegler’s name was appearing across social media channels.

In December 2018, her video performing the song Shallow from the film A Star is Born, went viral on Twitter, and has since racked up over 11 million views and over 3 million on YouTube. Watch the impressive performance below.

Read more: Who is Rachel Zegler? Meet the singer and actor playing Maria in the ‘West Side Story’ remake

Watch West Side Story's new Maria sing Shallow from 'A Star Is Born'

The short clip demonstrates the young singer’s natural talent, and powerful vocals, as she warms up with the song during a soundcheck.

Responding to the video going viral in 2019, Zegler tweeted, “i can’t believe THIS is the video everyone and their mother has seen like i really was sweating my butt off in an ugly christmas sweater during a soundcheck and the world was like HERE LET’S MAKE IT GO VIRAL.

“still grateful tho love u all besos ”

On the song choice, Zegler has spoken about how Lady Gaga, the original artist behind the song Shallow, has been an inspiration for her career.

In a red carpet interview Zegler gushed about Gaga saying, “She can do it all, and she is the definition of someone who inspires the next generation.

“She is the reason I think I can do this, and she’s the reason I perform.”

Well we’re very glad you perform Rachel, and we can’t wait to see more of your incredible singing performances.

West Side Story is out now in cinemas.