Jennifer Lopez Knew Aspiring Actors Wouldn’t Be Successful if They Said These Words

Jennifer Lopez knew what it took to be successful in the entertainment industry. So when aspiring actors and singers asked her for this one piece of advice, she felt that it showed they weren’t ready for the spotlight.

Jennifer Lopez felt these types of aspiring actors weren’t going to make it

Jennifer Lopez posing in a silver dress at the 2024 Met Gala.
Jennifer Lopez | Marleen Moise/Getty Images

Lopez seemed to take no shortcuts as she pursued Hollywood success. She initially started her career as a dancer, ending up on Keenen Ivory Wayans’ In Living Color as a Fly Girl. The sketch comedy show helped launch several actors’ careers, including Lopez’s, who would pursue film roles after leaving In Living Color. Some of her earlier film roles were Mi Familia, Money Train, and Serena, which earned her critical acclaim and more opportunities.

She was also able to enjoy a successful music career, having released the record On the 6 in 1999. Her film success could only be matched by her musical accomplishments at one point, as On the 6 went on to sell eight million copies. Since then, she’s released nine studio albums, establishing herself her singing career.

Lopez has often cited her tireless work ethic as the source for her success. But she’s also conveyed an incredible amount of passion for all the work she’s done.

“I’ve never been motivated by money. I’ve always been motivated by – I wanna be a great actress; I wanna be a great singer, a great dancer. I wanna make movies; I wanna make music. And the money came along with that,” she once told GQ.

Lopez felt in order to make it in the entertainment industry, aspiring artists required a similar amount of passion and resilience. Which was why Lopez often wrote off artists who asked her this one question.

“When people ask me, ‘How do I do this? How do I get into this?’ I think to myself, ‘You’re not going to do this,’” Lopez said in a 2021 interview with Elle. “Because if you’re going to do this, there is a drive within you that will find a way and you don’t need anybody to tell you, ‘You should do this, or you should do that.’ That’s not how it goes. It’s just knocking on the wall and finding a way. When people ask that question, I go, ‘This person probably is looking for a shortcut.’ There is no one sure way to become an actor or start making music. People fall into it in different ways, in their own time.”

Jennifer Lopez loved being a mentor

Although Lopez would offer some tough love to her younger peers, she asserted that she really did enjoy being a mentor. She’s seen less experienced actors in the same position that she might’ve been in during her younger years, and didn’t hesitate to offer sage advice.

“I like sharing the experience that I have. When I work with younger actors and I see them banging their head up against the wall, really trying to make this moment work, it’s just like: The most important thing you can do right now is relax. Let’s just be, let’s just live,” Lopez said. “You start off and you have all of these ambitions: ‘I’m going to be the greatest actor of all time and I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that.’ You can and you will, but how you become that is to relax into it and understand that you know what you’re doing and that you’ve put in the work. The more relaxed, the more aware I can be, the better.”

What Jennifer Lopez would’ve done differently as an actor

On the surface, it seemed that Lopez had little to regret when it came to her career. But there were a few decisions she would’ve tweaked if she could go back in time. When she was starting out, Lopez would try to accept too many movie offers. This was because diverse roles for Latina roles were scarce. But when Lopez became a bigger actor, she still found herself not as particular with her film roles as she should’ve been.

“I didn’t get called in for everything someone who wasn’t Latina would get called in for. I got called in for very specific things,” she said. “As I started getting more leads here and there, I should have pulled back. I took that mindset with me instead of going, ‘I should only work with certain kinds of directors that I really want to work with. I should choose this material in a different way.’ I just wasn’t as particular as I could be, I think. And if I [could] start over, I think I would’ve done that. I would’ve known that the director is really the helm of the project when you’re acting. Just like in singing, the producers you work with are very important. I knew that with music, but I didn’t quite understand it as much when I was younger about directors.”

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