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  Jennifer Lopez

Interview with J. Lo. by Prairie Miller

Arriving in a low-cut sleeveless sundress, Jennifer Lopez was clearly not planning on doing this interview in the spirit of her starring role in this month's new movie, Enough. For the part, the head-turning diva plays a ninja-attired, get-even abused housewife with gritty, street combat skills. During her chat with NY Rock's Prairie Miller, Jennifer reflected on some of the physical and emotional stresses in her life that helped her latch onto the rage and fury of her character Slim in Enough. She also talked about her musical projects – past, present and future.

NYROCK:

You're looking great. How would you describe what you've got on today?

J. LO.:

Hmm, I don't know. It's a white cottony dress. And my shoes are Valentino. I'm in love with my shoes today!

NYROCK:

They seem kind of, well, minimalist. Can you walk in those?

J. LO.:

Um....yes!

NYROCK:

Since you're such a clothes fanatic, is it hard to part with old outfits?

J. LO.:

I don't get rid of anything. I keep everything. My closet is so stupid, it's ridiculous! I should get rid of things.

NYROCK:

Do you feel you can really kick butt now, after slugging Billy Campbell around in Enough?

J. LO.:

Well, I did at the time, last year when I did the movie. But not now. It's all right. Let people think I can!

NYROCK:

Was it tough being beaten up at the beginning of the movie by Billy, without just wanting to whack him back?

J. LO.:

Yeah, it's a bad feeling. Even to only act it, there's a bad feeling. You know what I mean?

NYROCK:

Was it hard acting like you were beating up a guy much bigger than you?

J. LO.:

Nah, I loved it. I'm very athletic, and I've been that way since I was young. I always ran and danced, and did tennis and stuff like that. So getting physical was really the easiest part for me in this movie.

NYROCK:

What was the hardest part?

J. LO.:

The harder part was the emotional stuff, much harder. And much more challenging.

NYROCK:

Why did a movie about a woman fighting back appeal to you?

J. LO.:

  Jennifer Lopez   
When I first read it, I thought to myself, this is like a female Rocky in a way. But a big draw for me was the woman empowerment thing. And an empowerment of anybody really, not just women. Because anybody can react to being in a negative relationship. That's not for women only.

In most movies, the woman is always being rescued out of situations. By a cop or a guy, whatever. And it was nice to me that she felt she had to do it for herself. So this is something different.

NYROCK:

Have you ever been in an abusive relationship like your character Slim?

J. LO.:

No, I've never been in a relationship where there was any physical attack like that. So it was hard for me to go there.

NYROCK:

On a lighter note, you know what made everybody crack up in the theater? When your daughter wants to know why you're called Slim, and then says she doesn't think you're that slim!

J. LO.:

Yeah, it was like, thank you very much!

NYROCK:

Was that in the script?

J. LO.:

Oh yeah, it was.

NYROCK:

You said you were never in a physically abusive relationship. What about an emotionally abusive one?

J. LO.:

Absolutely. I think everybody has been in relationships where you're like, this is not for me. Like, what am I doing here? So everybody on some level can relate personally to this movie. You know, anybody can relate to feeling that about a relationship, that you feel you should just not be there. Even in a work relationship, where you're not being treated or respected in the way that you should be.

NYROCK:

When you found yourself in a bad relationship like that, were you quick to leave?

J. LO.:

No, just like anybody else who is in that kind of cycle. You try to work it out. You have love for the person. So that's why it's easy to understand.

NYROCK:

You are involved in so many projects, and are known for being focused in everything you do. Was there ever a time when you did hit the wall, from doing just too much?

J. LO.:

Well, it's funny. Sometimes during this movie it was like, ooh, checkout time. Like I've never taken a day off while making any of my movies. And I've never been late.

NYROCK:

So you've never done the Mariah Carey.

J. LO.:

   Jennifer Lopez   
Uh.... Anyway! You know, that's not my style. But for the first time with this movie, it was like the end of the day and I was doing a scene, and I was like going to the director, Michael Apted, "I can't go on." I hit the wall. I remember telling him, "I'm not a weak person." And he goes, "I know you're not." What he said was just so touching.

Then I went to the doctor and I was like, "I'm so tired. This movie is draining me." And it was because of all the emotional stuff going on in the movie. It was like a purging. And it was tough.

NYROCK:

What about emotional stuff that was going on in your personal life?

J. LO.:

Well, yeah. There's tons of stuff you handle all the time that you don't realize weighs on you. You're usually used to being able to deal with that. Plus, there was stuff in the papers about me being pregnant, and my mother and grandmother got upset about it. So there was all that stuff. And then you're suddenly like, I can't take it anymore. So that's what happened to me during this movie. I was like, I need time off. I'm telling the doctor, "Can you write me a note that says we have to stop this movie for a month?"

NYROCK:

What did the doctor say?

J. LO.:

He told me, no. You'll be fine. You just need to rest, that's all. Instead of getting five or six hours of sleep a night, you need seven or eight. And you have to respect yourself that way. You have to take a few days off.

NYROCK:

What did you do on those days off?

J. LO.:

Nothing! I stayed in bed the whole weekend, just relaxing. People came over and cooked for me. It was nice.

NYROCK:

So were you pregnant or weren't you?

J. LO.:

No! Again, no. Last year, no. This year, no!

NYROCK:

I hear you. You've got everything going for you now. Number-one hit records, big movie coming up for Memorial Day, cool husband, fabulous marriage. So do you think people may want you to have children, just to complete this winning streak?

J. LO.:

Yeah, I think it's a natural thing. It's just like everybody who is in the public eye and married; everyone waits for that moment when you're going to have a baby. And it's a really fantasy kind of thing. You know, everything is so perfect. But it's not like that. Everything is just entertainment, you know? And it's not something that I get too crazy about.

NYROCK:

How do you escape that kind of public intrusion into your life?

J. LO.:

You really have to learn to not put any inferences into it. And that means the good stuff, as well as the bad stuff. You know, the bad stuff is what your family has to deal with. But the good stuff too, you can't buy into that either. And just knowing you're going to be judged for everything you do, or what you wear. I'm just like anybody else. You know, there are days when you just don't feel like it. And actors aren't like, let's say, the crew on a movie. They can't just blend into the background and go, I'm not feeling well today. So we're held to a different standard.

NYROCK:

Because you make more money?

J. LO.:

We work for it! And we have better clothes, and nice shoes too. Those are the perks, okay? For our loss of privacy! And for your mom calling you up crying, you didn't tell me you were pregnant!

NYROCK:

Does it get any easier for your mother over time?

J. LO.:

Well, now that I've been "pregnant" for the fourth or fifth time, it's getting easier. The first time she heard that, it was more devastating to her. Now, I've got to promise her, Mom, if I'm pregnant, I will call you first. But at the beginning, my mom was like, I want to talk to the press. She wanted to give interviews, and people were calling her.

NYROCK:

Do you ever have the urge to get even by planting stories in the press about yourself like, Miss Lopez is actually a transsexual?

J. LO.:

....Yes! I've thought of doing things like that. You know, like let's do this to the paper that wrote that awful story about me. But you know what? It's so counterproductive. You cannot win. Because they'll come back the next day, and do something even worse to you. No, it won't end there.

NYROCK:

Do you keep a secret shit list of people who are going to get payback for the way they treated you on the way up?

J. LO.:

Hey, success is the best revenge you can have on anybody.

NYROCK:

What's the most awesome thing that your new husband has brought to your life?

J. LO.:

Oh gosh, you know, I don't like to talk about Chris in public.

NYROCK:

Because?

J. LO.:

Because I've learned my lesson. From past relationships!

NYROCK:

Okay....

J. LO.:

[Giving in just a little] Everything's good!

NYROCK:

Do you ever have anxiety attacks and worry that a record is not going to sell or a movie is not going to make it, like Angel Eyes?

J. LO.:

I mean, deep down, probably. But I don't let those feelings bubble up too high. I don't try to put too much importance in any of that. It's my work on a project that brings me satisfaction, so that makes it okay no matter what. Like everything is not going to be a home run every time. It's just not going to be like that. You have to be satisfied with what you do. And I only have control over what I do.

NYROCK:

Is it sometimes hard to believe that all this has happened to you?

J. LO.:

Oh, every time you ask me! Every time. It hasn't changed. But I really do feel that you're always going to be that same person, no matter what you do. As long as you don't let outer things affect you. So in here and in here [Jennifer points to her head, and also to the area just above her very low-cut sleeveless sundress], I'll always be in the Bronx, you know what I mean? And that works for me. I like that.

NYROCK:

You've never lost touch with your old girlfriends from the Bronx…

J. LO.:

I can't. That's just who I am.

NYROCK:

Are there any specific goals you have that keep you motivated?

J. LO.:

It's not so much about goals, as about specific projects. Like having passion for something. It could be just an idea coming into my head, and then creatively going, okay, that's what I want to be involved with. I'll be like, oh yeah, I want to do this. And then it becomes the thing. So it's not so much about long-term goals.

NYROCK:

Will you ever switch entirely from music to movies?

J. LO.:

I don't think I'll ever stop making music. You know, in some fashion. But to me, music and movies are both even. They're both balanced, as far as how I pursue them. I give as much time to my acting as I do to my music.

NYROCK:

Do you feel it's easier to make things for you in movies or in music?

J. LO.:

    Jennifer Lopez   
It's not easy anywhere. For me, at this point in my career, I think with the music I have more control. Because it's more just me. Movies are collaborative, and so much more of a like centrifugal force, that needs to bring everything together. I mean, that has to happen with movies. But with music, I can just have an idea, write it down, and go into the studio with my producer and say, what do you think? You know, it's easier to accomplish at this point.

NYROCK:

When you did interviews years ago for Money Train, you said that you wanted to be in the music industry.

J. LO.:

I did? Like I had a plan, or something!

NYROCK:

Yeah, and last week you had over 5,500 spins on radio, of all your songs....

J. LO.:

Ooh.... That's nice!

NYROCK:

So where are you right now, musically?

J. LO.:

This year, probably the most pleasant surprise that I had, was how well people received the music. I mean, for me, it's like you love the music you do. And I'm sure every musician loves the music they do. But you never know how it's gonna be received. Like with movies, as I said, it's a more collaborative thing, and it's a little bit more out of your control. It's like, I did my work; I did it good; I'm happy with it. Or damn, I wasn't happy with that at all. You know what I mean?

But with music, it's like it's gonna come out the way you want it to, so the rest is kinda up to the universe. And the fact that it did have the success it did, coming off the J Lo album, The Remixes album, having a few more number ones, all that kind of stuff was just like, whoa. I just couldn't believe it.

I was like every time it happened, it was like, oh my God, are you serious? It was overwhelming to me, but makes me so happy. Because music is so personal to you. So you just never know.

NYROCK:

What was it like getting together with Nas?

J. LO.:

I wrote "Gonna Be All Right" for the J Lo album, then we remixed it. And we put it on The Remixes album, to have some new stuff on it that people hadn't heard. And it was just a natural thing for me. Probably my two favorite rappers are him and Biggie, of all time let's say. So it was great to go to him, and him be like, "yeah, I'll do it." Because he doesn't collaborate all that much all the time. He takes his time between albums, and stuff like that. Nas is not like one of those guys who just puts it out every six months. So it was really special for me, that he wanted to do it.

NYROCK:

Talk about the song you wrote for Enough.

J. LO.:

Well, they wanted me to do it. They wanted me to do something for the movie. But I can't force those things. It kinda just has to happen. And you are attached emotionally to the movie, but then when you walk away from it, you start having doubts. Like, where do you go with this? This is not really the type of music that I make all the time. But I know there's something inside of me that I have to offer to this. And then, you know, things happen. Things have a weird way of happening naturally and organically when they're supposed to. And I feel that this song was just meant to be, for this movie. Basically, I wrote the song for me to go through all these kinds of things as an actress with this character. You draw from all different experiences in your life. From way back to the present, to whatever, to make it really true and honest.

And my husband was tinkering around on the piano in October – it was after everything had happened in New York. And I was listening. And Chris made up this melody that was really beautiful. And a little bit of it sounded like the movie, a little haunting. So I said to myself, you know what, I can write something to that right now. And we can use it in Enough. So I started thinking about the movie and the character. And what she had been through, and what I had gone through in my own life. And just kind of that grateful feeling, to just be here, you know what I mean? And keeping it simple. Because life can get so crazy and everything. And then you realize, it's all just kinda about the simplicity of being here, and being healthy. And being alive. So that's where the song came from.

NYROCK:

In the aftermath of 9/11, how did music help you cope with that and express yourself?

J. LO.:

When things like that happen, as an artist you can't help but express yourself through music. And I think you saw a lot of outpouring of that. Because that's just the way that we express ourselves. So for me, it kind of manifested in that way. But, of course, I think it helps everybody cope, in a small way.

NYROCK:

Are you going to be doing VH1's "Divas"?

J. LO.:

They asked me to do "Divas," and I think we're trying to see if we can work it out. Because I'm working on a movie here in New York City. You know, to see if I could at least go and fly, and do one song, and come right back. I won't be able to be there to do as much as maybe I would like. But to at least be part of it, that would be wonderful for me. I don't consider myself a diva in that sense. But I think of myself as a musical person who has something to contribute. And I'd love to be part of it.

NYROCK:

What do you do when you can't sleep?

J. LO.:

I can always sleep. I'm always so exhausted.

NYROCK:

With your crazed life, are you still having fun?

J. LO.:

I go through periods. There are periods that are so fun, and so great. And there are times when I'm just tired. And the best advice I ever got was, when you're feeling really awful and overwhelmed, just know that you're tired. You're just tired. So take some time. Because you have it within you to do whatever you want to do. Like you can handle it, it's okay. You're gonna be fine. But you need rest. Take a moment.

NYROCK:

This is such a high point for you in your career. Do you ever worry about it starting to go downhill after that?

J. LO.:

Yeah, this is the time of your life! Get it now. It's over next year! You do think about things like that. But then again, I know that I'll always be creating in some way. Even if it's not at this level. It'll always be at some level. And that's what is satisfying to me. So I always have to try to hold on to that.

NYROCK:

What are you going to be doing next music-wise?

J. LO.:

Oh, I've been doing a lot of writing lately. And I'm, of course, looking forward to getting back in the studio. I've been talking with my producer and we've been relating a lot, even though I've been working on movies. You know, about what we want to do, and where we want to go. And about taking our time with really finding a sound. The first two albums, although I'm proud of them, were more of like quick projects. And we feel at this point, that we have the luxury to find what we really want to do, and take our time with it. So that's what we're gonna do. But we've been doing a lot of writing, and we have a lot of ideas. And I can't say when it'll be out, or when I'll put out a new single. It could be this summer, or it could be next winter. I don't know.

NYROCK:

What's with that story about your lesbian kiss in the upcoming movie Gigli?

J. LO.:

Well, in the movie I do play a lesbian. But there was no kissing.

NYROCK:

Are you saying you weren't a real lesbian?

J. LO.:

No, I was. I have a girlfriend in the movie. But kissing wasn't in the script. Sorry!

May 2002

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