This is a guest post by Spencer Blohm to follow up on our post, Why J Lo Would Be the Best Blogger Ever.
Jennifer Lopez turned 44 last month (I can’t believe it either), and at an age when many people are slowing down their lives, she keeps ramping things up.
J-Lo is a self-made woman through and through, everything she has, she worked for. What’s more, she’s living proof that if you chase your dreams and roll the dice, you can hit the dizzy heights.
Her journey from the little girl from the Bronx to a multimillionaire business woman is like something out of one of her movies. So let’s take a look at how this extraordinary woman not only used her singing and acting talents to her advantage, but emerged as one of the savviest entrepreneurs in show business.
Jennifer Lopez was born and raised in the Castle Hill neighborhood of the Bronx by Puerto Rican immigrant parents. Her family was not wealthy, but had managed to save up to move into a two-story home when Jennifer was little. From a young age, her parents worked hard to instill a strong work ethic into Jennifer and her two sisters. After high school she enrolled in college, but dropped out after only a semester to pursue her dreams of being a professional dancer.
At this point she and her mother couldn’t seem to see eye to eye over the matter and Jennifer moved out and essentially became homeless, sleeping on the couch at a dance studio.
Luckily Jennifer was soon able to land roles as a dancer in a few local plays as well some backup dancing jobs. Her big break, however, came when she was selected to be a “Fly Girl” for In Living Color, where she worked from 1991 to 1993. She left the show to briefly become a backup dancer for Janet Jackson, however she decided to pursue her own dreams – instead of backing up someone else’s.
But J-Lo didn’t stop with dancing.
Rather chasing her dreams of becoming a dancer, Jennifer discovered a different passion – acting.
She stumbled her way through the mid 90’s with roles in small budget films and TV flops, but each part she got seemed to be bigger than the last. Her breakthrough year was 1997 when she starred as the title character in the bio-pic Selena and also had a major role in the thriller Anaconda.
The public, and Hollywood, sat up and took notice.
But J-Lo didn’t stop with acting.
After impressing music producer Tommy Mottola with her singing abilities, she landed a record deal with Sony. In May 1999 she released her first single “If You Had My Love”, which shot to the #1 spot on the Billboard charts, while the album On the 6, broke into the top-ten. She had another hit on her hands by the end of 1999 with “Waiting For Tonight”.
But J-Lo didn’t stop with singing.
In early 2000 she made fashion history when she arrived on the arm of then-boyfriend P. Diddy in a racy green chiffon Versace dress which was seemingly held together by a strategically placed brooch. This appearance solidified her superstar status for the new millenium.
The early 2000’s also saw Jennifer become one of the first celebrities to establish a clothing line. In the past she had expressed her interest in bringing her signature look to the masses, but it was just a dream until she got the financial backing of Andy and Tommy Hilfiger, and proceed to launch the fashion and lifestyle brand J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez in late April of 2001.
In May 2001 she released her second album J. Lo and her new film The Wedding Planner both of which went to #1, making her the first person to ever have the #1 album and film simultaneously.
But J-Lo didn’t stop with fashion.
She capitalized on her new-found popularity by collaborating with the (then struggling) fragrance company Coty for her first scent; JLo Glow. This came at a time when celebrity fragrances, save for White Diamonds, didn’t exist and weren’t pursued by beauty companies or celebrities. The fragrance was a gamble both for Jennifer and Coty and many expected it to fail. However, when the fragrance launched in August of 2002 it brought in over $40 million internationally by the end of the year and quickly became the second best-selling fragrance in America.
Now take a breather, because that’s exactly what Jennifer did.
Until nearly a decade on, when she stormed back onto our TV screens.
Thanks to her new judging gig on American Idol, the release of her album Love?, and being named a spokesperson for both Venus and L’Oreal Paris, J-Lo made a staggering comeback. That July she appeared on HSN to promote her latest fragrance, Love and Light, which sold over 50,000 bottles during the show and has since gone on to become her most successful fragrance with $2.9 million in revenue. In addition to breathing life back into her singing career, she rejuvenated her clothing empire by partnering with Kohl’s departments stores to release the Jennifer Lopez Collection which featured clothing, accessories, and housewares. In 2012 she expanded her empire even more by founding a luxury t-shirt company, Teeology, and launching her 18th fragrance, Glowing. By the end of the year her net worth was estimated to be over $250 million.
The lesson? Whatever you are now, don’t stop there.
Reach for the stars. Booty shaking is optional.
So, a happy belated birthday to the incredibly talented, savvy, and beautiful Jennifer Lopez!
Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment and pop culture writer. Despite his desire for the general well-being of the public he has been known to bust a move to his favorite J. Lo songs, “Waiting for Tonight” and “Get Right”, on occasion. He lives and works in Chicago.
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