Monday, August 22, 2011

117: The Self-Empowered Woman: Jennifer Lopez

Dear Followers,

Today’s remarkable, accomplished woman is someone most of us know from watching her work as a judge on American Idol, and enjoying her music and videos for years. But there is a lot more to Jennifer Lopez than meets the eye. In addition to being an actress, dancer, fashion designer, singer and television personality, she is one of the few big-time modern celebrities who has never had an embarrassing meltdown (at least not in the public eye). Unlike Britney, Mariah or Whitney, JLo has somehow managed to get stronger (both personally and professionally) with each passing year.

Born in the Bronx on July 24th, 1969, to parents who were Puerto Rican immigrants, she was raised as a Catholic and always attended Catholic schools (3: Belief in the Unbelievable). She began her television career as one of the “Fly Girls” on the Wayans' show In Living Color, the TV program where Jim Carrey also made his national television debut. From 1999 to the present day, Lopez has enjoyed a thriving musical career, and has sold (singles and albums) a combined total of 55 million records. Billboard Magazine has ranked her as the 27th artist of the 2000’s decade.

Her film career has been equally impressive. She has starred with Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere and Matthew McConaughey (among others) in hits like The Wedding Planner, Shall We Dance? Monster-in-Law and The Back-up Plan. When Lopez filmed Out of Sight, she became the first Latina actress to earn over $ 1 million for a movie role.

JLo has had her share of criticism from people who feel that she acts like a diva. And she has had several disputes with exes, PETA, recording studios (SONY, Epic Records), and even with former employees (5: Life is Not a Popularly Contest). She recently told Vanity Fair Magazine that one good thing about being on American Idol is that people could see that she was a lot nicer than her reputation portrayed her to be.

Lopez has the ability to end affiliations, associations and relationships when she feels that she needs to. She told VF “I needed to get to where I could say ‘I know what I want, I know what I need, I can’t let you do this, I can’t let this happen, I can’t let that happen. Even when I feel bad about myself.’” In addition to her one-time split from manager Benny Medina, and other professional break-ups, there are lots of goodbyes in her personal life (14: Selected Disassociation).

JLo has had, not surprisingly, a challenging love life. Her roster of serious relationships includes Ojanai Noa, Sean Combs, Cris Judd, Ben Affleck and Marc Anthony (Birth name Marco Antonio Muñiz). She has been married
and divorced three times (15: Forget about Prince Charming). The one area of her personal life that does seem stress-free can be found in her role as a mother to twins Emma and Max. She employs no nannies, but family members (her mother, Guadalupe, and cousin, Tiana, and best friend from childhood, Arlene) help with child care duties. She has traveled with the twins when work made it necessary, and has promised herself to never be away from them for more than 24 hours (16: Intensive Motherhood). Last year People Magazine labeled Jennifer Lopez the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

Looking forward to your comments...


  1. Interesting that Marc Anthony's self-defense in the media is to repeat charges by another Jennifer ex that Jennifer is involved in Santeria which is alluded to be "witchcraft."

    Modern Santeria (not the original African practice) developed in Afro and Latin tribes in the West which were conquered by the Spaniards and force-fed Catholicism. It is a form of animism subscribing to the belief that all natural elements have souls. The Catholics were happy to allow the adoption of the Saints into this indigenous worship form as long as they could control the population. Thomas Aquinas is one of Catholicism's original animists.

    For thinking individuals, not celebrity chasers, the charge of involvement in Santeria is not a slur but a tribute to a woman who includes the natural world in her spiritual exploration and beliefs.

  2. Thanks for this most interesting post on a very popular, controversial lady. I'd only read negative things about her being a diva- your blog fully explained JLo in a very human way. I now admire her even more. She is a strong woman, truly self-empowered and very talented.