Some people know her as a singer, others as an actor, some even as a dancer – but why is Jennifer Lopez really famous?
Jennifer Lopez found her first taste of fame through acting as a teenager. She appeared in numerous roles over the years but also started singing, releasing her first album in 1999. Her talent and ability secured her a spot in the public eye, making her very famous.
Read on to learn more about Jennifer Lopez’s expansive career in the spotlight.
Jenny From The Block
Jennifer Lopez had a relatively advantageous upbringing, despite being born in The Bronx. Her parents – Puerto Rican by nationality – worked hard to provide for the family. Initially, they lived in a small apartment in an average neighborhood but moved out to a two-story house just a few years later.
This was considered a massive leap for the almost-poor family. It also meant Lopez herself wouldn’t have to grow up in a ‘rougher’ neighborhood. As a young child, her parents encouraged her performing side. By the age of five, Lopez was engaging in singing and dancing lessons.
Along with her two siblings, Jennifer would spend her free time singing and putting on shows for friends and family. Allegedly, this was so they’d stay out of trouble. Evidently, this worked, as Jennifer spent her youth being both academic and athletic.
In high school, she participated in gymnastics and ran track. She found success in the latter sport, later competing on a national level. Further, she played as part of the school’s softball team. It was likely this academic start that enabled her to perform so well later in life as a dancer.
When Lopez was seventeen, she found her first small taste of fame. She’d auctioned successfully for a small production called My Little Girl, released in 1986. Reportedly, it was at this point that Lopez decided she wanted a career in the film industry.
However, it was also at this point that the once close-knit family began to exhibit tensions. It’s documented that Jennifer Lopez’s parents disagreed with her choice of career. They argued after Lopez dropped out of college, and she was forced to relocate to Manhattan, away from her parents.
As her acting talent expanded, so did her roles. She found success in Europe and Japan, seeing the world from a relatively young age. She dabbled as a dancer and performer, before launching a ‘full time’ acting career around 1993.
Throughout the nineties, Jennifer Lopez blossomed and became a household name. She found repeated success on the big screen, being cast in numerous films and television shows. As early as 1995, Lopez was working with big names, such as Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.
Her breakthrough came in the form of a biopic titled Selena, in which she played the lead role. This was the making of Lopez, with one of the biggest talking points being her salary. She was reportedly paid one million dollars for the movie. This established her as the highest-paid Hispanic actress in history at the time.
You can see the trailer for this film, starring Jennifer Lopez, below.
Ultimately, it was a kick in the face to her parents. In the arguments years before, they’d claimed that pursuing acting was a stupid idea, and “no Latinos did that”.
The success invigorated and inspired Lopez, and she decided to adopt music as a side-venture. She recorded a demo tape in Spanish, and it was sent around to record labels. The demo was a semi-success, with producers liking her voice, but insisting she sang in English.
Now she’d established herself as a credible musician, dancer, and actor, the fame train steamed on in earnest. It seemed that, for Jennifer Lopez, each career path would be as successful as the last. She released eight albums by 2014 and starred in thirty-nine movies by 2020.
She also enjoyed ample appearances in television shows and was well-awarded for her work on the multiple stages. In 2020, her net worth was reported to be almost half a billion dollars – a staggering amount for any artist.
Jennifer Lopez never hesitated to give back to the world that had given her so much. She became a philanthropist as early as 2001, working with various charitable organizations. In one instance, she donated one dollar per ticket sold for a North American tour that she co-headed.
She also returned to the embrace of her family and founded the Lopez Family Foundation. She also worked to support her roots, participating in events that benefitted Puerto Rico.