Jennifer ‘JLo’ Lopez on being a role model for women

In an exclusive interview with Stellar, the singing, acting and dancing sensation reveals “the most heartbreaking time” of his life and the advice his mother gave him to get through it.

The highs and lows of a playful pop star’s love are splashed across the media for all to see…it feels like another day in the life of Jennifer Lopez, but that’s also the plot of his latest film.

In an exclusive interview with Stellar, the song, act and dance sensation talks about empowering women, surviving the heartache inflicted by your own children, and how it’s those same films that mimic so closely. the aspects of her real life that have helped her make great strides for diversity in Hollywood and beyond.

Your children (Lopez and ex-husband Marc Anthony are parents to twins Emme and Maximilian) will turn 14 at the end of this month. My eldest son is about to turn into a teenager and started high school this year, so are you also navigating this transition period where they are part still your babies but part young adults?

I know! This is the most heartbreaking moment. I thought I’d been heartbroken before – no, that’s the worst. It’s funny, your mom tells you, “Wait until they’re teenagers.” They’ll take you through what I’ve been through.

And you’re like, “Oh no, it’s going to be different with my kids.”

They just need to find their own way. They love you, you are their mom, you took care of them and now they need to have their own identity. They become their own little people.

And it’s hard, because they’ve been your babies all this time. And that’s part of being a parent — it’s being strong enough to let them go, let them have their moment, and let them see you, criticize you, and laugh at you. All the things teenagers do to their parents. It’s like, wait, I thought we were best friends, I thought you liked everything I did.

What happened? You admired mom! But here’s the good news: they’re coming back. That’s what I hear. So I’m waiting for that. I will spend these few years on horseback and try to stay as close to them as possible and be as consistently a loving force in their lives as possible so they know when they return I will be there.

In your new movie, Marry Me, you play a music superstar who is one half of a celebrity couple. People will inevitably observe real-life parallels, so what are the main distinctions between your life and his?

I got so much emotion out of it. There were obvious distinctions in that she had been doing this since she was very young – she was writing songs in high school and had her first big hit at 15 – whereas for me I only did my first album only at 28 years old. year. I had lived in the Bronx and had had a very normal life until then.

But what was it like to be a singer, to perform on stage, to be a pop star, to have hits, to be scrutinized by the press, to have difficulties in his personal life ? All of these things were very real and I could bring a lot of real emotions and feelings to it.

There are scenes where your character, Kat Valdez, is watching TV and seeing her personal life and relationship breakdown being mocked by talk show hosts.

Presumably the notion of having genuine heartbreak used as a punchline is something you strongly associate with?

One hundred percent. These are specific scenes that we added because I know what those experiences are like. Because we hear everything people say and sometimes it hurts.

You get used to it, but in those vulnerable moments when things go wrong in your life, it’s more difficult.

Yeah, you know what you signed up for and you have to be thick-skinned – but it was important, I think, for people to see that it’s just not that veneer or image of a person, but there is a real person there. A human being with feelings and emotions.

Marry Me is directed by a woman. You’ve increasingly worked with female directors and spoken about the importance of female storytelling – do you think the industry is improving on that front?

Yeah, I think we’re a lot more aware right now. We kind of kicked and shouted long enough to get people to listen a bit – and it took a long time to come.

And I think now that other women realize, just like me, oh, I actually have the power to do that. I can hire any director I want. I’m producing this film… My last three films were all female directors, so it’s exciting to be able to be in this position to do this, because we want to tell these stories.

You’ve also helped create a more diverse representation of ethnicity in popular culture. How much progress have you seen in this regard in your career?

It was very difficult when I started. It was very specific roles, like… the idea of

a latina girl starring in a romantic comedy was like, what? And again, sometimes it just starts within you, like what you believe you can do and the limits you put on yourself, or allow others to put on you.

And I was just like, why? Why can’t I be the wedding planner? Why can’t I be those people? Why can’t I be the girl in the movie? Just the girl. And I used to say, I don’t want to be named anything in particular, just give me a first name. It was very important to me so that we could start seeing different types of people in lead roles. And it’s still very, very rare.

But, you know, you keep hoping and praying that it will start to change. We still have a long way to go and that’s okay, as long as we’re moving in the right direction.

Let’s talk about marriage because Kat gives a great talk about how marriage rules “kinda suck for women” in that women have to wait for men to traditionally come up with and drop their names. Do you agree?

It’s a very helpless thing to wait for someone to choose you. It’s just like, wait, why don’t we decide? Why don’t we take our time and why don’t we live together first? There are so many different ways to skin this cat, where two people could end up together, choosing one another.

This equality is what we have fought for all our lives. So it was a very organized and specific speech, and I’m glad it resonated with you.

At 52, you’ve become a role model for women when it comes to staying visible and being an ambitious figure as you age. Are you aware of that?

I realized that. It’s not something I had planned to do. I was just doing what I do and I came to represent that, and I’m very proud of that. And now I’m super aware of it.

When you’re young, you think: the things I do don’t matter – I’m just trying to survive. And then you’re successful, you stay the course and you do things the right way, and that was very important to me.

And then it starts to represent something else because you have that kind of stamina that you fought for, that you wanted your place in the world and in life. He says to others, “Yeah, you can have your place in life and you are part of the world.

For me, it’s such a big compliment that I represent this and I take this responsibility very seriously.

Marry Me is in theaters from Thursday

Rebecca R. Santistevan