After a long absence that included stops at NBC for TV drama Shades of Blue and dance competition World of Dance, Jennifer Lopez is ready to reclaim her territory as the biggest Latina influencer in the world

This month she will release Second Act, a Working Girl and Maid in Manhattan hybrid that stars Lopez as an unfulfilled value-store employee who has bigger dreams than sorting produce and scanning boxes in Queens.

With the help of her requisite rom-com sidekick (Leah Remini!), she’s able to lie her way into a job interview at a bougie Madison Avenue company, and soon enough she’s reveling in the riches of a skyline office, a carousel of company credit cards, and her very own Manhattan penthouse, all of which she hopefully shares with her cutie-pie boyfriend Milo Ventimiglia. We meet her at the Four Seasons hotel, and within five minutes of meeting her one can realize how happy and present she is. In love with A Rod, the actress is a major entertainment powerhouse, making millions as a singer, actor and producer. She has also just finished producing and starring in a comedy, Second Act (two more films, with women directors at the helm, are also in the works). And let’s not forget Vegas. This year, she will perform in 40 more shows as part of her three-year All I Have residency at Planet Hollywood (in August, she grossed an unprecedented $1 million for a single show). It is without a doubt very personal for any Latina to admire J-Lo an inspiration and a force of nature for everyone who speaks Spanish

 Q: You made a point the day you revealed yourself as a power force for Latinas, for women who speak Spanish

A: I think the Latinos are a power force of America and we have to get rid of the stereotypes, the Latinos in TV are not reflecting what we see around us. I am very proud of being Latina, of speaking English and Spanish, and help to change the agenda of TV Networks at the time of representing Latinos

 Q: Your life is full

A: Yes, but full also of people who help me. I’m not doing this alone. I filled my adventure surrender by great professionals. That is one of my mantras. Affirmations are so important but also family. When I moved to LA I was calling my mom every day because I missed her cooking. We Latinos define by family and food and language.

Q: You cowrote Second Act

A: Yes. This movie represents a woman who is smart but lacks college education, sometimes that is more important. At least that is being my case. I am a hardworking woman who has an amazing team of people with degrees (she laughs). I’ve always felt like I had to prove myself. Maybe that’s a good drive to have. I cofounded Nuyorican Productions to show my world and my perspective to whomever is interested. When I was younger I spent a lot of time being half happy and half not happy. Now I know who I am and what I want. I also know my strengths and weakness.  

Q: like romantic comedies.

A: I love them, yeah.  

Q:  I know it’s a cliché question, but having it all, that kind of thing, you do exemplify the woman who has a great personal life and career (laughs)

A: I do feel very fortunate, and I do feel like I’m lucky in a sense, I had a great upbringing, I’ve been able to keep my feet on the ground through all of this whole thing, this career, and my personal life, and still come out being a whole person in a way. And that means everything, with great side and with flaws, but being more accepting of myself now and having kids, and being a mom, all of that helps you grow. And that’s what we are doing here, we are living, we are learning, we are loving, boom. That’s it.  

Q: You must have days where you think, I’m not going to, I don’t care what I look like today.

A: Oh of course. I wait for those days.   

Q: Does that exist for you?

A: Yes, yes it does, a lot. Whenever I have a day off, that’s (laughs) like I was saying yesterday, sweatpants, T-shirt off the shoulder, hair like up here in a crazy little bun, no makeup, lots of moisturizer, like slather moisturizer on my face, (laughs) so I can feel like pampered or something, I don’t know what that’s about, but that’s me.

Q: How would you describe this time in your life?

A: I would describe it as a little frenzied, , so it’s a good, happy time, it’s sunny, it’s like springtime. Because the kids give me so much joy on top of it, they just add this extra springtime quality, to your life.  

Q: Do you worry about getting older because you seem to defy, you look exactly the same as you looked ten years ago.

A: I didn’t, I never used to really worry about it until people start mentioning it all the time, (laughter) I don’t think about that at all!  

Q: Isn’t that not a concern?

A: I don’t think about, honestly, I don’t think about it too much and I think once I am done with the press for awhile, I won’t think about it again. I hope. (laughs) I hope you didn’t plant the seed in my head so hard that I can never get it out.  

Q: Are you a fighter or a lover?

A: I’m both. I am a lover, I mean at my core I feel like that’s such a big part of my personality, and a part of why I do what I do, because I have so much to say on that subject, and so much to learn on that subject and in this lifetime, I feel like that’s what my life is about, a lot. And like I said, it’s kind of this journey that I’m on that is just a destiny that I have. And as far as being a fighter, I feel like I was born into that as well, being born in The Bronx, and people not really expecting me to do what I did, and every step of the way I’ve kind of had to fight for it, nothing comes easy to me, in that sense, like of the things that I’ve been able to accomplish, just I always have to work very hard, and I feel like some people, you feel like, oh this happened and whatever, and it may seem that way from the outside, but everything, I had to really work hard for it. And I don’t mind that. Also part of my personality, I like fighting for things and I like working hard for things, and then sitting back and going, I did that, that’s a great sense of accomplishment for me.  

Q: Do you think, as you’ve said, you’ve worked for it, but a lot of people work hard and don’t get anywhere. Like how much do you think is sort of luck and fate?
A: I don’t know, I think it’s a lot of things, but I also think that you have to work very hard, and I don’t think you can get, it will keep coming to you if you don’t work hard. I think at a certain point you can be given opportunities and handed certain things, but at a certain point if you are not working it and you are not really making it happen  

Q: You spoke a lot about your own role models in music, like Madonna, and Lady Gaga or something…

A: Yes. 

Q: But what about role models in acting?

A: In acting, I always was a big fan of Jodie Foster, I was always a big fan of, she just had a very big kind of still quality to her that I enjoyed in her acting, but also very strong too and I don’t know why, and Barbara Streisand I’ve always loved as an actress, and probably for her musical talents as well which I was drawn to, but as far as men go, and acting, I would probably have to say, I hate to sound so whatever, but Robert DeNiro, one of my favorites, “I’m the champ, who’s the champ, I’m the champ”, that’s my favorite line from a movie ever. 

Q: The best advice you got from?

A: My mom. My first job, I went away to Europe I was in a musical, and I didn’t get some part that they were handing out, while we were rehearsing, and she was like, don’t ever call me crying again. I called her crying, mommy, I didn’t get the part, and she was like, come on. She was like, if you are going to be in that business, you better toughen up. You can’t cry over every part you don’t get. She was right. Cause it happened a lot. (laughs) 

Q: Do you think you are a tough mom?

If you ask people around me, they will say no, they say that I need to be tougher, but I feel like when I am with them more, I just want to love them a lot. (laughs)

Maria Estévez

Correspondent Writer

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