Jennifer Lopez: I Refused to Change My Body Despite Pressure Early in Career
Jennifer Lopez tells Cosmopolitan Latinas that being proud of her body from the start made a major difference as she began what became a superstar career. “Early on, my family really made me love who I was and what I looked like,” says the performer. “My body was nothing out of the ordinary in my neighborhood.”
She explains, “When I first started on television [as a Fly Girl on In Living Color], people, and even my own manager at the time, would tell me I had to make all of these changes. But you have to stand up and say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with me or my shape or who I am, you’re the one with the problem!’”
“And when you can really believe that, all of a sudden other people start believing too,” says the singer-actress. Lopez also opens up to the magazine about her Latina roots. “I love the family that I grew up in, the strength and passion and the heart that we bring to things and then the way I was raised – the intense love we demonstrate,” she says.
The “American Idol” judge adds that she took inspiration from her heritage as a performer. Lopez says, “I was really moved watching West Side Story as a young girl and seeing Puerto Ricans star in it. Even though it wasn’t the best depiction of us, they still have the passion and love that I relate to – not to mention the singing and dancing! Rita Moreno became a hero to me.”
She explains that taking leaps and showing courage have been a major part of her success. “One day somebody told me I had to perform in front of 35,000 people on the set of Selena. I didn’t know how to do it. I just said to myself: Don’t think about it. You can do this and you’ll be great,” remembers Lopez. “I walked out onto that stage. And then I did. I’ve been following that rule ever since.”