Ms. Jennifer Lynn Lopez, born in 1969, started from humble beginnings in New York. At age 19 Lopez paid for singing and dancing lessons since she wanted to enhance her skills in both areas. Shortly after her lessons, Lopez became a “Fly Girl” dancer in 1991 on the comedy program, In Living Color for seasons 3 and 4. Then she became a backup dancer for Janet Jackson.
After the dancing gigs Lopez got into acting. She appeared on shows such as South Central in 1994, which was cancelled in its first season, and guest appearances on Second Chances and Hotel Malibu. She also appeared in Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7, a television movie which aired in 1993. Then in 1995 she landed her first big screen role in the film Mi Familia (My Family) alongside actors such as Jimmy Smits and Edward James Olmos. After Mi Familia, Lopez starred in Money Train in 1995, Blood and Wine in 1996, and she appeared in Jack in 1996 as well.
Lopez’s big break came in 1997 when she was cast to play Selena in Selena , a biopicture of the Tejano pop singer. Lopez received criticism for not having Mexican roots, but despite this Lopez’s performance earned her widespread praise. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for “Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.” She also received an ALMA Award for “Outstanding Actress.”
Also in the year 1997 Lopez appeared in horror film Anaconda and the crime film U Turn (based off of the book Stray Dogs by John Ridley). The following year, Lopez starred opposite of George Clooney in the film Out of Sight. This is still considered one of her most acclaimed roles, and not only did she receive many positive reviews for her performance, this film also launched her to becoming the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for one role. She also received her second ALMA Award for her performance in this film.
In 2000 Lopez starred in the thriller The Cell. Then she appeared in the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner and the supernatural romance Angel Eyes. In 2002 brought on the thriller Enough and the romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan. Maid in Manhattan was considered a box office hit, opening at number one. This is the second film that opened at number one, the first being The Cell. In 2004 she appeared in Shall We Dance? In 2005 she appeared in An Unfinished Life and Monster-in-Law.
In 2006, Lopez ventured into the world of producing when she worked on and starred in two independent films. First one was El Cantante, a biopic about the history of salsa dancer Hector Lavoe, was well-received at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007. Then Bordertown, a film inspired by the true story of female homicides in Ciudad Juarez and the American reporter sent to investigate them. This film did well at the Brussels film festival.
The most recent film Lopez appeared in was the 2010 comedy, The Back-Up Plan.
Acting is one of many talents Lopez possess. Lopez is mostly known for her music career which began in 1999. Her debut album, On the 6 not only reached the top ten of the Billboard 200, but it also featured the number-one lead single from the Billboard Hot 100 list, “If You Had My Love” and the top ten hit, “Waiting for Tonight.” She also had two songs on this album that became Grammy nominations. The first was a Spanish-language duet with Marc Anthony entitled “No Me Ames.” “No Me Ames” not only went on to reach number one on the U.S. Hot Latin Tracks, it also received two Grammy nominations at the 2000 Latin Grammy Awards for “Best Pop Duo/Group with Vocal Performance” and “Best Music Video”. The second song, “Let’s Get Loud” was the final single and earned her a Grammy nomination for “Best Dance Recording” in 2001.
In 2001, Lopez dropped her second album, J.Lo. Interestingly enough, this album was also released right around the same time Lopez’s film, The Wedding Planner was released. Lopez became the first actress-singer to have a film and an album reach number one in the same week. From J.Lo came the singles “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, “Play”, “I’m Real” and “Ain’t it Funny.” Her third studio album came in 2002 and was called This Is Me…Then. This album spawned four singles for the artist including “Jenny from the Block”, “All I Have”, “I’m Glad” and “Baby I Love U!”
Her fourth album Rebirth was released in 2005. This album wasn’t as successful as her previous ones and it only brought one single, “Get Right.” In 2007 she released Como ama una Mujer, which was her first album she sung in Spanish. This album reached the top ten on the Billboard 200, number one on the U.S. Top Latin Albums and reached the U.S. Latin Pop Albums charts.
After Como ama una Mujer was released, it wasn’t even a full year before Lopez’s next album, Brave came out. After Brave, there was a four year lull in Lopez’s musical career. Earlier this year Lopez released her latest album Love?. From this album came the lead single “On the Floor.” This single was the first in eight years to garner Lopez a spot on the Billboard Hot 100, landing at number 3.
Outside of her career, Lopez has a clothing line, a perfume line, and a production company called Nuyorican Productions. Lopez is also largely into philanthropy. She has participated in events helping the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and in 2009, she formed the Maribel Foundation. The Maribel Foundation is designed to support the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Lopez dedicates time for causes such as the promotion of whooping cough awareness, and her film Bordertown garnered her many thanks and awards including the Artists for Amnesty International Award. Lopez has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by People magazine in 2007, and she received a Women in Film Crystal Award in 2006. The Crystal Award honors outstanding women who have helped expand the role of women in the entertainment industry.
Currently Lopez is sitting in as a judge on the American Idol panel. She’s also set to appear in the 2012 film What to Expect When You’re Expecting.