J.Lo rules the world...or worlds
, really: TV, music, movies, beauty, fashionâ€”you know, kind of everything. Jane Fonda talks to her friend Jennifer Lopez
about life, love and learning from her hugest year yet.
October 27, 2011 by Jane Fonda
“I was always a dreamer.” Jennifer Lopez, photographed in Los Angeles.
In one year, Jennifer Lopez has managed to go from superstar to megastar to ultimate-supreme-giganto star, all thanks to a little thing called American Idol (oh, and her new album, Love?, and her new clothing line for Kohl’s and, yes, even her very public split from Marc Anthony). Former neighbors from the Bronx must have seen this coming when they nicknamed her The Supernova as a child.
So how did she go from Jenny From the Block to blockbuster? Lopez, 42, got her first break at 22, dancing as a Fly Girl on the hit TV show In Living Color. In 1997, her starring role in the acclaimed Selena sealed the deal: She had most definitely made it. Then, in 1999, Lopez released her first album, On the 6 (remember “Waiting for Tonight”?), and that was it: She’d officially become a triple threat.
And who could forget her jaw-dropping fashion moment in 2000, the cut-down-to-there green Versace gown that’s so famous it’s actually on display at the Grammy Museum in L.A.? Since then, she’s only continued to gain steam: more movies, more albums, plus fragrances, that clothing line and—cuteness!—her three-year-old twins, Max and Emme.
Lopez’s friend Jane Fonda has a theory about what keeps her on top: “Jennifer’s uniqueness lies in her combination of extraordinary beauty, intelligence and street smarts. She’s a fantastic role model. She owns it.” Listen in as Fonda and J.Lo chat about her career, her children and her tumultuous love life.
JANE FONDA: Jennifer, hello! Let me remind readers that we made Monster-in-Law together. But most people don’t need reminding, because even though the critics didn’t like it, it was number one at the box office.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Yes, and it’s a cult favorite now. People always tell me that they loved when we slapped each other! [Laughs.]
JANE FONDA: And the last time I saw you, you so generously presented me with a UCLA Icon Award. That moved me very much.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Aw, thank you.
JANE FONDA: You are so busy. American Idol, next year you’re in What to Expect When You’re Expecting with Cameron Diaz, you just sold a new show to Fox, you have a clothing line and a million different perfumes. You seem to feel very comfortable with being powerful. Is that a fair assessment?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: That’s funny. I’m very comfortable with being productive. I like doing things, and I like creating things. As far as being powerful, I guess I’m comfortable with it. It’s not really how I think of myself.
JANE FONDA: When you’re that busy, if one or two things get out of whack, it can be really stressful. How do you deal with that?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: For me, when it’s work stuff, I don’t take it as seriously. I always feel like this is the type of career that ebbs and flows—you have to kind of ride the waves and sometimes you even fall under the water. But for the most part, I feel like I can handle it.
JANE FONDA: What does stress you?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: More personal stuff stresses me out.
JANE FONDA: And do you have a technique for overcoming this stress?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I do a lot of praying. You know, I went to 12 years of Catholic school! I’m also very into positive thinking. The minute I feel nervousness or anxiety or fear, I go, “No, no, that’s not a thought that I need to have right now. Everything’s great, everything’s good, you’re going to be fine.”
JANE FONDA: Let’s get to American Idol. As you have said many times, it’s shown a completely different side of you to fans. Did you expect that?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: It’s so funny. I felt like people already knew me! I didn’t realize that they didn’t until I was on the show. I just thought, Oh, they’re going to see me like they’ve always seen me, because I’ve always been the same. But when I got on the show, I realized, Wow, they really didn’t get to see that side of me.
JANE FONDA: What do you like most about doing it?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I love working with the singers. I love just finding them. This week, Scotty McCreery’s album is number one! And we discovered him.
JANE FONDA: I’m so impressed with the savvy tips that you give to the contestants.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Thank you so much. It’s such a great exchange, because in helping the contestants, you grow yourself in a weird way. You’re watching them, going, “You know what? I do that sometimes.”
JANE FONDA: Did you have anyone giving you advice when you started out?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: When I first started in music, Puffy and I were together and he mentored me. He let me know what the music business was like, and that was something that I took with me. I didn’t think about it at the time, but then I realized later I’m quoting him!
JANE FONDA: I see you out, and you often seem to be surrounded by a posse of women. Do you have many close women friends?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Oh my God, my girlfriends are everything to me. They celebrate with you, they cry with you, they hold you when you need to be held. They laugh with you. They’re mean with you! They’re always there, and it’s just a priceless thing to have.
JANE FONDA: That’s impressive, because women can be very jealous of someone like you.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I’m not one of those types of women, and the women that I attract are not that type. We stand up for other women and we root for other women. Some of my friends, like my friend Arlene, I’ve known since I was seven. She’s with my kids right now.
JANE FONDA: Is it possible for someone like you to have a new relationship out of the public eye? Or maybe it doesn’t matter.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: No, it matters, especially at the beginning of a relationship. I think to give something a chance, to really get to know somebody, you want to do it out of the public eye. You know the media—they want to rush everything. They want to give their seedy opinions without knowing all the facts. So can I [be private in a relationship]? Yeah. I think so. When I’m ready to do that, I will. But I’m not thinking about that right now.
JANE FONDA: What have you learned from all of your past relationships that prepares you better for a new relationship?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I think that I’ve finally learned the biggest lesson of all.
JANE FONDA: What is it?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: You’ve got to love yourself first. You’ve got to be OK on your own before you can be OK with somebody else. You’ve got to value yourself and know that you’re worth everything.
JANE FONDA: And not settle for less.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: And until you value yourself enough and love yourself enough to know that, you can’t really have a healthy relationship.
JANE FONDA: I agree. We talk about falling in love. What’s wrong with that sentence? Falling. When you love yourself, you don’t fall. You stand on two feet.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: That’s right. Standing on two feet, seeing everything straight and right and clearly. You’re absolutely right. So what should we call it? Walking in love? I don’t know, we have to find something else! We’ve got to redefine that.
JANE FONDA: As a three-time divorcee myself, I think what’s most important is being brave enough to learn from the failures. Can you talk about that a little?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I just think when it’s easy, it’s great. But when something bad happens is when you really learn. It causes self-examination, it causes you to take a look at yourself. You naturally start analyzing. It’s not that you’re wrong; it’s that sometimes you just need to make adjustments. Change your way of thinking, change your way of doing, change your way of choosing.
JANE FONDA: I read that you once fired a manager who told you to lose weight. Do you think your attitude of “I’m happy being curvy” has had an impact on girls?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Many people have told me it has, and that’s something I’m proud of. I was just so infuriated that somebody said you couldn’t have a little extra meat on you—because I was by no means fat! That was so mean and closed-minded. I was like, “No, this is who I am, and this is the type of woman that I grew up with, and it was beautiful and there’s no reason to be anybody but myself.”
JANE FONDA: Do you still get pressure from people to have your body look a different way?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: No, I don’t get that now. I think people know better. [Laughs.]
JANE FONDA: How has your style evolved through the years?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: The things I liked when I was, like, 16 and in the Bronx—jeans, cut-up T-shirts—I still like. But I’ve been exposed to so much now from traveling the world and seeing couture clothes. I used all of that when I created my new line for Kohl’s. My style has come from everything, from where I started to where I am today.
JANE FONDA: When I did The Oprah Show, she flashed a picture of you and asked the first word that came to mind, and I said “street-smart.” But afterward, I thought I should have added “gorgeous.” Your skin is amazing. Any secrets? Don’t tell me you just wash your face and moisturize.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: I really do! And I’ve just started using these treatment masks—they’re like paper masks, from SK-II [Beauty editors’ note: They’re $90 for six at shop.sk-ii.com]. They’re moisturizing masks and age-defying, and I love them.
JANE FONDA: A number of women in Hollywood, like Kate Winslet and Salma Hayek, are speaking out against plastic surgery. What are your thoughts on that either way?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Honestly, I’m not going to make a judgment on it because I don’t have to yet. I mean, I’d like to think I’ll feel great about myself and age gracefully, but then I think, Well, what if I do want a little bit of something? I’m open to being open.
JANE FONDA: You’ve said that when the twins came, you experienced a new kind of love. Can you talk about what you meant by that?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Anybody who’s had children knows this feeling of deep love. It’s a selfless love, an unconditional love. And it makes you kind of examine everything that has happened. You’re going, “Wait a minute, this is how pure love is supposed to feel.” They made me really, really see and feel what it should be.
JANE FONDA: I’ve read that you bring your children with you when you go on location. Have you thought about how you’re going to manage that when they get older and they start into serious school?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: They just started school, three days a week, and so I have to travel without them here and there. I think it’s really important for them to be with me, and they’re surrounded by family when I’m not there.
JANE FONDA: I love that. I read that instead of having nannies, now you have your mom, sister and best friend to help you look after them.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Yes, yes. My cousins help me, my best friend. It takes a village—you do really learn what that means once you have kids. But I like to wake up with them, I like to put them to bed, and even if I have to go back to work after I spend that couple of hours with them between dinner and when they go to bed, I’ll do that.
JANE FONDA: Your not-for-profit, the Maribel Foundation, helps women and children by linking top medical specialists to patients in inaccessible locations. Why is that cause so important to you?
JENNIFER LOPEZ: My sister and I are so in love with our children, and we wanted to do something for [others]. We opened our first clinic in Puerto Rico a year ago, and we’re opening another one in Panama. It’s something that we plan to do for a very long time.
JANE FONDA: Jennifer, I’m proud and honored to be your friend and to know you. Thank you for letting me interview you.
JENNIFER LOPEZ: Thank you! The feeling is mutual. You know how much I look up to you.
JANE FONDA: Bye, honey!
Jane Fonda is an actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist.