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celebrities > jennifer lopez

jennifer lopez

Jennifer Lopez is an idealist and an actress--one of Puerto Rican descent--who is convinced she can transcend the stereotypes mainstream Hollywood tends to attach to her heritage. Interestingly enough, Jennifer Lopez also is a realist and an actress who, through her idealism and hard work, actually has managed to transcend those very stereotypes to personify such diverse characters as an Apache Indian, a Cuban jewel thief and a Tejano singing sensation. Her credits range from being a "fly girl" on In Living Color to a transit cop in Money Train . "You have to be able to change your voice," says Lopez, who steps into the pop music limelight this month with her starring role in Warner Bros' Selena. The musical biopic covers the short, but dynamic, life and career of the top-selling Tejano singer who was gunned down by an unstable member of her own entourage. "Selena was a Texas girl and a Mexican, but she had a strong Texas twang and didn't have a Spanish accent like some people think."

And though Selena's own voice is used in the movie's concert sequences--a condition on which the artist's father sold the rights to the film--Lopez was eager to speak in a cadence that would meld with Selena's singing tone. "I didn't have to sing in the movie, but I learned how to sing her songs her way, Selena's way. I lip synced to her songs but it appears I'm singing because I am singing. You just can't hear my voice." But, despite the fact that Lopez is virtually a lock for the part--even when it comes to the physical resemblance--the role didn't come easily, Lopez reflects. She had to endure a grueling audition even though she had worked with Selena director Gregory Nava on the film My Family. "Gregory knows me and knows I can act," the actress says with unabashed confidence. "But I auditoned and screen-tested for the role. It was an intense test and the hardest audition I ever went through. I had to do two songs as Selena and perform them as she did. And I had to perform five scenes. I got there at six in the morning and left at five in the afternoon."

And then Lopez, who was perfecting her Apache accent in Stray Dogs, nearly lost the part due to a scheduling conflict. "I was working until August and they wanted to begin filming in June," she says. "But they decided to wait for me, and that costs a lot of money. Plus, my fee at this time is a lot of money. So I was happy that in the end that they decided to go with me." Once she began working on Selena, Lopez chose to disappear into the role and allow the memory of the singer to shine in the spotlight. "I wasn't interested in putting my own stamp on the performance--not in this case," Lopez says. "Maybe if Selena had died 50 years ago. But being that she was so fresh in her public's mind, I knew that the movie had to be true to her, and that it wasn't about me trying to become a star in the role. It was important for me to really get the essence of why she was so wonderful, why she was so important in our community, and why she touched the hundreds of thousands of people who mourned her death." Lopez hopes to touch her own audience with her forthcoming performance alongside Ice Cube in April'sAnaconda. Next up is Oliver Stone's film noir thriller Stray Dogs, and she recently appeared in Bob Rafelson's Blood & Wine opposite Jack Nicholson.

Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez was born in the Bronx, NY on July 24, 1970; after starting out in musical theatre as a child, at age 16 she made her film debut in the little-seen My Little Girl, but her career then stalled until she was tapped to become one of the dancing "Fly Girls" on the television sketch comedy series In Living Color. A recurring role on the TV drama Second Chances followed before Lopez was thrust into the limelight co-starring with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in the 1995 feature film Money Train; smaller roles in pictures including My Family/Mi Familia, Jack and Blood and Wine followed before she landed the title role in 1997's Selena, portraying the slain Tejano singer. Co-starring opposite George Clooney in 1998's acclaimed Out of Sight, Lopez (the product of a Puerto Rican family) became the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood history; the following summer, she returned to her musical roots with her debut pop album On the 6, scoring a major hit with the infectious single "If You Had My Love." ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide. Then-boyfriend Ojani Noa proposed to Jennifer at the wrap party for "Selena" by grabbing a microphone in the middle of the dance floor and presenting her with a large diamond ring. She accepted.

Born and raised in New York, Lopez considers herself a Puetro Rican. Is probably best recognized as one of the Fly Girls on the hit comedy show In Living Color. After two seasons on one of television's hottest sitcoms, she got a chance to display her acting abilities in CBS's Second Chances co-starring Connie Selleca and Megan Fallows. Although Second Chances only aired for one season, Lopez's character (Melinda Lopez) was so popular, it was continued on Aaron Spelling's series, Malibu Road. Lopez was also seen as a recurring character on FOX's South Central, where she portrayed Lucy, who worked in the co-op market.

Jennifer Lopez stars in her first major role as Grace Santiago, a New York City transit cop in the movie Money Train. Jennifer's most recent project includes New Line Cinema's My Family, a compelling story produced by Francis Ford Coppola about the lives of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles from the 1930s to the present. Lopez's stage background includes performing Synchronicity in Japan with dancer/singer/choreographer Hinton Battle, performing the Golden Musicals of Broadway on a European tour, along with appearances in regional productions of Oklahoma and Jesus Christ Superstar. Jennifer costars in Jack, a comedy directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Robin Williams as a ten-year-old oby who falls for his Latina schoolteacher.

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