From a critically acclaimed movie, national tour, an engagement to MLB superstar, upcoming Super Bowl performance, three massive fashion campaigns, and her 50th birthday, you could say that Jennifer Lopez is killing it right now.
The dancer turned actress turned singer and global entertainment phenomena hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since she first hit the scene as just dancer in the wildly popular sketch comedy show “In Living Color” in 1991 before pivoting to acting and breaking out into the music scene to put it simply, J.Lo has quite literally done it all in her multi-decade long career.
J. Lo’s impact on pop culture
Lopez has been impacting our culture since the early days of her career as technology developed and further put the lives of celebrities in the limelight. From her heavily publicized relationships that influenced couples names for generations to come (rest in peace, Bennifer) to her iconic Versace plunging gown from the Grammys in 2000 that caused Google to create Google Images (true story) and even how her curvier figure changed the body ideals of women for women to shift away from being rail thin, her influence on society has stood alongside her vast career accomplishments.
What happens after 40 in Hollywood?
In an industry that makes it increasingly harder for women to be allowed to age, Lopez has made room for herself at every decade, squashing the entertainment industry’s norms to displace women over a certain age. Even the beloved Meryl Streep admitted to to the Wall Street Journal that she thought her career had ended when she hit her 40s, citing that the roles left for women of a certain age tended to be more stoic and serious, lacking the same excitement and spirit as roles for twenty-somethings.
Liv Tyler echoed a similar sentiment, telling MORE magazine in 2015 when she was 38, “It’s not fun when you see things start to change.”
“When you’re in your teens or 20s, there is an abundance of ingenue parts which are exciting to play,” she added. “But at [my age], you’re usually the wife or the girlfriend — a sort of second-class citizen. There are more interesting roles for women when they get a bit older.”
So, how has J.Lo managed to maintain longevity throughout her career?
After “The Boy Next Door” released in 2014, eight years after her twins, Max and Emme, were born, the actress spoke out on the societal pressures put on mothers in America to look and be a certain way.
“There’s this funny notion in America that you can’t be a mom and be sexy,” she told Latina. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard…The truth is that women can be sexy until the day they die.”
She’s been leaning into “aging,” instead shedding the negative stereotypes that simply come along with getting older. Lopez has been vocal in interviews and on her various social media channels, including YouTube, speaking unabashedly about her age simply as a number, not a limit.
“Everybody thought I was crazy when I wanted to go out and let everybody know that I was 50,” she admitted in a YouTube video on her channel. “For me, it was important. It was important as a woman to do that, to let people know that you don’t get to write women off at a certain point in their life. You don’t get to write people off.”
Lopez added, “I didn’t realize that in just being myself and being unafraid to say that to the world, ‘I’m a woman, I’m 50 years old, and I’m here and I’m not going anywhere,’ was going to mean so much to so many people.”
What’s next for J.Lo?
Lopez has been teasing her big performance at the 54th Superbowl next month alongside Shakira. This is the first time both singers have ever performed at the famed halftime shows known to make performers adopt the “go big or go home” mentality. In the midst of her preparation, she’s been hitting the award circuit due to her part in the critically-acclaimed “Hustlers,” even snagging some nominations for best supporting actress along the way.
J.Lo’s roots in fashion are growing stronger, landing her as the face of not one but three different fashion campaigns in recent months. The multi-talented Lopez is currently the face of Guess right now, as well as part of the spring 2020 Versace campaign. As if that weren’t enough, Coach announced in November of 2019 that she’d also be the face for their spring campaign.
Moral of the story? Age is merely a number and in the words of J.Lo herself, “Look at me, I’m limitless.”
Photo Credit: Variety