Jennifer Lopez In Conversation with Sam Sanders : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders It's Tuesday. Jennifer Lopez dishes to Sam on life lessons from her "Jenny from the Block" days to her starring role in the upcoming romantic comedy, "Second Act." Tweet @NPRItsBeenaMin with feels or email samsanders@npr.org.
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Jennifer Lopez On Longevity And 'Second Act'

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Jennifer Lopez On Longevity And 'Second Act'

Jennifer Lopez On Longevity And 'Second Act'

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SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey, y'all. Sam Sanders here. Going to run through a quick list of public radio stations. I first heard NPR on KSTX, my hometown station in San Antonio. I got my first public radio internship at WBUR in Boston. I learned how to write a news spot at OPB in Portland, Ore., and I covered breaking news for the first time at WUNC in North Carolina. Also, stations like KPCC and KCRW and WAMU have been my constant companions for the last decade.

You, too, listener, probably have some very personal connection to at least one public radio station, if not several - the one you drive by on your way to work, the one whose staffers you see in your local grocery store, the one you wake up to every morning to hear news not just about the world, but also about your neck of the woods.

That is the beauty of public radio. It's personal. Every member station across the country speaks to your community and your needs. Show those stations that you care. If you go to donate.npr.org/sam this month, you can choose which station you want to give to. That donation helps the entire public radio ecosystem, including this show. So give right now to the station of your choosing at donate.npr.org/sam. To the station you grew up with, to the station you moved to, to the station you can't wait to check out, you decide. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JENNY FROM THE BLOCK")

JENNIFER LOPEZ: (Singing) Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got. I'm still - I'm still Jenny from the block. Used to...

SANDERS: Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders, IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. You can probably already guess who I'm talking to today. She's already said her name for us, Jennifer Lopez, J.Lo, Jenny from the block.

Listen, this is a big deal. I have interviewed a fair amount of celebrities on this show, and I'm going to tell you the truth, J.Lo is the first one that's really gotten me starstruck.

I mean, it makes sense. I have been following her career since she was a Fly Girl, a dancer on "In Living Color" back in the '90s. I remember her iconic role in "Selena." I mean, as someone from south Texas, I cannot even tell you how many times I have watched that movie. And I, like the rest of us, can sing along to a lot of J.Lo's songs. I mean, she has been part of the culture coming up on three decades. So clearly I was super hyped about this conversation.

I actually caught up with Jennifer Lopez as she's doing this big press run right now for a new movie she has coming out. It's called "Second Act." In the movie, J.Lo plays a driven woman from modest means who proves she can do anything anyone else can, while also finding lasting love in the process.

Jennifer gets real with me on what it takes to be successful as she has been for so long. She talks about the difficulties that she's dealt with as a Latina in the industry, the lessons she's learned over the years, etc., etc. I have been calling this chat, in my mind, J.Lo's master class. OK, without further ado, here it is - me and Jennifer Lopez at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, where she was camped out doing a whole bunch of interviews with a bunch of journalists, myself included. enjoy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JENNY FROM THE BLOCK")

LOPEZ: (Singing) I know where I came from. From "In Living Color" and movie scripts to On The 6, to J.Lo to this headline clips, I stayed grounded as the amounts roll in. I'm real. I thought I told you. I really been on "Oprah." That's just me.

SANDERS: I hear you've had a long day, so thank you for making time for us.

LOPEZ: One of many that we'll have the next few days.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. There's a big push for the movie.

LOPEZ: It's go time.

SANDERS: It's go time. It's go time. But you're used to go time.

LOPEZ: I'm used to go time.

SANDERS: You've been on go time for...

LOPEZ: For many years now. Yeah, for a lot of years now.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah, yeah. How does it feel? You are - how many junkets have you done now 'cause you've had a bunch of movies?

LOPEZ: Yeah, so many.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Over 40-something junkets. I don' know.

SANDERS: And, like, how many of these interviews do you do in a day? Like, you were doing this since the morning?

LOPEZ: My God. Yesterday, we started at 10:30, and we went straight through till about 6, just interview after interview after interview.

SANDERS: That's not fun.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: That's not fun.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: What is your favorite moment of the, like, movie release process?

LOPEZ: The movie release?

SANDERS: Not the junkets - like the premier, the - like, what is the part...

LOPEZ: I like...

SANDERS: ...That's most fun for you?

LOPEZ: I like doing - you know, I like going and visiting the morning shows and the evening shows. Those are always fun.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: You know, the premier is always great. You know, seeing it with an audience...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...Is probably the best time to see how they react, especially when you're doing a movie like this where people laugh and cry.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LOPEZ: You know, so that's always fun.

SANDERS: Yeah, and have you seen this yet with an audience?

LOPEZ: Yeah, many times.

SANDERS: How was it?

LOPEZ: It was is great. It's great.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: It plays awesome, thank God. (Laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah. We should tell folks what the film is about.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: I will let you do that - "Second Act."

LOPEZ: You saw it. What is it about?

SANDERS: I did see it. All right. All right. OK, OK.

LOPEZ: I'll help you. I'll help you.

SANDERS: All right. Your character...

LOPEZ: Yes.

SANDERS: ...Plays...

LOPEZ: Maya.

SANDERS: Maya - plays a hard-working assistant manager at a local grocery store.

LOPEZ: At a local box store, almost like a Costco.

SANDERS: Yes.

LOPEZ: Like a Costco.

SANDERS: She has a heart of gold...

LOPEZ: Yes, she does.

SANDERS: ...But she wants more for herself - a second life, you might say.

LOPEZ: Oh, yes. She wants - she wants to progress. She's been the assistant manager - she's been at the store for 15 years...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...Assistant manager for six.

SANDERS: Yeah, and she's been good. Like, the store is doing well.

LOPEZ: Oh, she's helped the store.

SANDERS: Yeah, so through a series of events, her godson works a little magic, and the character ends up in the C-Suite.

LOPEZ: Yeah, yeah. So she gets passed over for that manager job in a sense.

SANDERS: Yes.

LOPEZ: And then what happens is, you know, she's - she's - she's about to give up. I think the character is really - she's - she's just at - you know, I think everybody's been at a point in their life like this where they just feel like, damn, I keep trying and trying and keep trying to make something happen and make something move and work. And it's just maybe - maybe I'm not supposed to...

SANDERS: We have all felt that way.

LOPEZ: ...Be one of those successful people. Maybe I'm not supposed to, you know, have a different type of life. Maybe this is it for me. I grew up on this block. I was born here, and this is where I'm going to die. You know what I mean?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Like, we all have that...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...Thought. And then, through a series of events, like you said, something happens. And she's given an opportunity to show what she can do.

SANDERS: It's hard to overstate...

LOPEZ: And she didn't have the education.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: The fancy education. And she didn't, you know, grow up, you know, around the people that you need to know. And she gets this opportunity to show that her street smarts, her hard work ethic, her heart, all of that is worth something a lot more than she thought it was.

SANDERS: Yeah. Totally.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: Well - and so - like, I was thinking about this movie, was reading up on you, thinking about your body of work, and there's a theme with a lot of your work. It is about the Mayas, women who can do it and need someone to see that they can do it. And then I was like, oh, that's J.Lo, too.

LOPEZ: Yeah. I think, you know, I'm drawn to the characters that I'm drawn to because I see myself in them, in a sense. And I think that's where I'm at in my life, too, where I finally realize my - and I think women are at this point in society right now, what's happening in the world. We're realizing that we have worth and value, and that we deserve everything that we want.

SANDERS: Snaps (snapping fingers).

LOPEZ: Oh. I didn't know we snapped on this show.

SANDERS: Sure. If we can. When did you feel like in your life or your career that you needed a second act? When did you reach that valley? Was there a moment, a time in your life?

LOPEZ: I think, you know, when I had two little twins and got divorced, and thought that, that would never happen.

SANDERS: Divorce.

LOPEZ: I waited - yes. I waited a long time to have kids, and when I finally did, when I was married and thought like, OK, this is going to be my - this what's my life is going to be for the next 50 years and it didn't work out that way, I knew that I had to exam - start examining things because I wanted that more than anything. And I thought, you know, OK, there's something that I need to look at here. What am I not doing right? Where do I need to improve? What's...

SANDERS: What was it?

LOPEZ: ...happening? I mean, I think it was - it's just that. It's just, like, realizing that you have to love yourself first, that you cannot look for your happiness or somebody else to fix you, that you have to fix yourself and be your own best friend and stand on your own two feet and be happy on your own. And then you can share a life with somebody, and then you can have a family and then, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: And then you - and in doing that and kind of becoming that whole person, then all of a sudden your work transforms because...

SANDERS: Work gets better.

LOPEZ: ...That - yeah. That idea translates through everything in your life. And you go, oh, I actually do deserve to get this or have that or get paid that or deserve to own part of that. And I bring something to the table there instead of being like, oh, well, thank you so much for giving me that. You know, I don't know if I deserve it, but thank you. It's a different mindset.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: We tend to focus on the negative things people say, not the positive things they say, you know? And for me, it seemed for a long time that there was a ton of negative things being said about me.

SANDERS: Which negative thing hurt you the most?

LOPEZ: Oh, so many. I mean, everything. You know, I am a sensitive person. You know, I think people learned that when I was on "American Idol" that I cry at the drop of a hat.

SANDERS: (Laughter) That's fine.

LOPEZ: Right?

SANDERS: We cry.

LOPEZ: Yeah. But I'm a sensitive person, so anything...

SANDERS: Was there one critique that, like, stung the most?

LOPEZ: I don't know. I mean, there was so many different things. Like, literally, like, 10,000 things are shooting through my head right now. Well, she's been married this many times. She's a mess. She can't sing. She can't dance. She can't act. She can't do anything. What is she doing, you know what I mean? It felt like that sometimes. And I'm sure that's not what it was all the time. But for some reason in my mind, that's what I - and it was reflecting back...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...For me. And then finally when I was just like, wait a minute, what are you doing? Like, you're doing great. Give yourself some credit. Like, seriously girl, what is going on with you? And - but you need to dig and you need to figure out why you allow that stuff to affect you. And also it wasn't even so much people on the outside. It was me.

SANDERS: I was reading somewhere - one of the profiles of you recently talked about how all throughout your house there are affirmations...

LOPEZ: Everywhere.

SANDERS: ...Hung up. Like, what kind of stuff do they say?

LOPEZ: It says all kinds of stuff, from you are my sunshine, my only sunshine on a pillow to, you know, life is beautiful, the happiest place on Earth is right next to you, you know. It could be a million - I don't know. I can't even think of what they are right now. I'm just so used to seeing them there.

SANDERS: But it matters because words speak life and words death.

LOPEZ: Our thoughts speak - create our life.

SANDERS: Yes.

LOPEZ: I really believe that. They create our life. They create our health. They create our peace or our not peace.

SANDERS: There you go. I love where we're going here, but I want to give you a chance to talk more about this movie. Your friend, Leah Remini, is in the movie.

LOPEZ: Yes.

SANDERS: That's cool.

LOPEZ: Yeah. It's amazing. I really felt like if we could capture the very special relationship that we have in real life and get that on there, like not act when they said action but act in the best way, which is where you don't act, where you really bring the reality to it, it would be special, and we did.

SANDERS: How long have you all been friends? I had no idea before the movie.

LOPEZ: Fifteen years now.

SANDERS: How did you meet her?

LOPEZ: I met her at - she was friends with my - with Emme and Max's dad, Mark. And she came to his premiere when we first started dating, and we met at the premiere. And we just became fast friends like immediately.

SANDERS: She must be a good friend because you let her slap you in the movie.

LOPEZ: Yeah. She does.

SANDERS: Can we talk about that scene? It's super cute.

LOPEZ: I mean, she's an incredibly naturally funny person and, you know, she's translated that into a great career. And I always say, Leah's superpowers are helping people and making them laugh. That's what she loves to do. And she does that in every aspect of her life.

SANDERS: Yeah. There's this scene where you need a pep talk.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: Her character gives it to you. And there's, like, this slap in the face.

LOPEZ: Yeah. The slapping in the face.

SANDERS: You're the champ. You're the champ. Has that happened in real life?

LOPEZ: Yeah. She does the you're the champ thing. And we do the - who's the champ? I'm the champ - from "Raging Bull."

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.

LOPEZ: That classic movie. If you don't know it, children, look it up. But it's a classic Robert De Niro movie. And his trainer's saying, who's a champ? He says, I'm the champ. Who's a champ? I'm the champ. And we do that - she would do that before, like, a show for me.

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: And she said, you know, I'm going to do the I'm the champ thing here.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: And I'm like OK. She goes, because I'm, like, hyping you up...

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LOPEZ: ...To go into the - to go tell this guy off. And I said, OK, OK, cool. Yeah, do whatever you want.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: And she did it, but then she started slapping me...

SANDERS: In the face.

LOPEZ: ...So I slapped her back.

SANDERS: (Laughter) That's friendship. That's friendship.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: Time for a quick break. When we come back, Jennifer Lopez tells me about the time Penelope Cruz gave her a pep talk on an airplane. BRB.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: I think that one of the things that makes your fans love you and makes the world take you seriously is that there are a lot of folks that started with you...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...And they ain't doing junkets and the Four Seasons right now...

LOPEZ: Right (laughter).

SANDERS: ...You know? I mean, I'm not asking for a master class - unless you want to give one - but...

LOPEZ: Yeah, right, right.

SANDERS: ...Like, what is J.Lo's lessons for longevity?

LOPEZ: Honestly, to find something that you love to do.

SANDERS: Or a few things. You do more than one thing.

LOPEZ: Right. Find your passions, and pursue them relentlessly, and don't stop. I mean, really, I think it's just about working hard. I always tell my kids - my kids are like, I know you work hard. And I go, no, I don't work hard; I work harder than everybody else. You have to work harder than - everybody works hard. Everybody's out there grinding. You got to work harder than everybody else. And that's one of my things. And the other thing is just don't stop. The people who are not successful are the ones who stopped halfway through somewhere. They just stopped. If they were to keep going, they would've eventually got there.

SANDERS: What was the moment that made you closest to stopping over the course of - what? - it's been...

LOPEZ: I think...

SANDERS: ...Because you starred as a Fly Girl in the '90s, right?

LOPEZ: Right. I think after, like, when the tabloids started and Ben and I were on the tabloids and then we broke up and that fell apart. And then I was trying to kind of, like, get my career back to get - you know, like, there was a time when everything just felt like it was - I was like maybe I just shouldn't do this anymore, maybe I should just stop singing and stop making movies and do something else. And you just - you get to those crossroads in your life. And I remember there - it was another actress who said to me - I was like, I don't know, I was thinking about maybe I'll keep doing movies, but I don't know if I'm going to keep singing. She was like, you have to keep singing.

SANDERS: What?

LOPEZ: What do you mean?

SANDERS: Who was that?

LOPEZ: We all look at you. And it was Penelope Cruz.

SANDERS: OK, shout out.

LOPEZ: Yeah, we were on a plane together, and we started talking, and I was just like, I just don't know. And she was like, you are crazy. You have to - no, Jennifer, we all look at you, and we - and I was like, wow. And it meant a lot to me. And there was a few people like that over time who, you know, just - they say things to you in passing, and it affects you so much. It's a little bit like...

SANDERS: Explain.

LOPEZ: ...God talking to you. Well, I just believe that, you know, God speaks through people. You know, you're driving on a road and you see something on the side of a milk truck that you really needed to. And you go, oh...

SANDERS: That was for me.

LOPEZ: ...That was for me, you know?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: And that was from God. And I feel like things like that happen all the time. And I feel like Penelope was a little angel, in that moment, for me.

SANDERS: Yeah. Penelope, like you, is a Latina woman making it in the industry.

LOPEZ: That's right.

SANDERS: And I've heard you talk about never giving up, but a lot of folks would look at your career and say you probably had to deal with a ton of obstacles...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...That men didn't have to deal with...

LOPEZ: Yes.

SANDERS: ...That white folk don't have to deal with.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: Do you - how much so you think about that?

LOPEZ: I don't think about it a whole lot. I just keep it - I just keep trying to be better. And I don't - and I do that for myself, not so much for anybody else but for myself because I want to prove to myself that I belong here and that I deserve to be here. And that, like I said, was a journey for me to start believing that. So the fun in it now, to me, is going, yup, see...

SANDERS: And what?

LOPEZ: See, Jen..

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...You were right.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: You deserve to be here.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: You belong here. You have - you deserve all the great things in the world just like everybody else on this planet. You're no different.

SANDERS: I do think one of the things that helps the culture understand that whoever works hard and gets it deserves to be there...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Is the way in which we talk about people from different backgrounds. And when I was reading up on you, I noticed that, like, a lot of the coverage of you from the '90s, in the way journalists wrote about you and your work and your body, it was - I found it offensive.

LOPEZ: Oh, yeah. Well, that was that time I was telling you about where you just - I just felt like...

SANDERS: There was this, like, Latina bombshell.

LOPEZ: Yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: And these words - and they would be - they were loaded, right? You had to have noticed that.

LOPEZ: I can't tell you - when we talk about junkets, going junkets abroad and, you know, these journalists sitting there and straight out disrespecting you, talking about your ass, talking about da, da, da, da (ph). And until you stand up for yourself and go - you know, say something that puts them in their place, and then they go, oh, I can't mess with her like that.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: But you have to.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: You have to stand up for yourself.

SANDERS: Do you think you got it worse because you're Latina?

LOPEZ: Yup.

SANDERS: Do you think my industry is better now?

LOPEZ: Because a woman - yup.

SANDERS: Yeah, OK.

LOPEZ: Yeah, I don't...

SANDERS: Do you think we're better now about it?

LOPEZ: I think you're being forced to be better about it because we're making a big stink about it now. Women are making - and rightfully so...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...You know? We don't want to be marginalized. We don't want to be harassed. We don't want to be made to feel like we don't deserve something or get less pay or - you know, none of that - no, no. Each person should be valued for their character and their - what they bring to the table, their work. That's how you should be - as a person, not because of the color of your skin or who you like to sleep with or...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...What you believe religious wise or - you know, any of that...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...You know?

SANDERS: But I also see when someone makes it and they didn't have the privilege growing up and they are of color and they're making it in a world that doesn't look like them...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...I say your achievement means a little more to me...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Because I'm guessing you went through more...

LOPEZ: Yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: ...You know? I'm guessing you went through more.

LOPEZ: You had to break through a couple of more barriers, and you have to believe in yourself that much more because it doesn't come as easy. It's not as expected, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: That's the thinking in the world.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: You expect these type of people to be there, you don't expect these type of people...

SANDERS: Let me tell you - yeah.

LOPEZ: ...To be there. You expect those type of people to be like the valet guy or the person working in the kitchen...

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

LOPEZ: ...Or whatever. And that's not fair...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...Because those people work just as hard to give their kids all the opportunities that we have in this country, right?

SANDERS: Yeah, let me tell you, I feel it. I'm a black guy in public radio.

LOPEZ: Right.

SANDERS: Every other week someone's like, oh, didn't know.

LOPEZ: Right (laughter).

SANDERS: You're like, well, I'm here...

LOPEZ: You're right.

SANDERS: ...You know? Here I am, yeah, yeah. What was the most - because I want to know how much we've changed. And I hope my industry has changed. What was almost, like, racially offensive whatever some journalist said?

LOPEZ: I don't know. You know, I don't dwell on those things...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...And I don't hold them close, you know?

SANDERS: Are you still mad at those folks?

LOPEZ: No, I'm not mad at anybody.

SANDERS: Teach me your ways.

LOPEZ: Yeah, I'm not. I don't - I feel like it's useless. Guilt, anger, fear - those are useless emotions. We just - we have to learn how to not let them control us.

SANDERS: What's your practice for controlling them?

LOPEZ: My good practice for controlling that is all those affirmations all over my house...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LOPEZ: ...OK? - all of the positive thinking I can have, realizing that we live - life is hard, but we live in a beautiful world. And we all don't have the same starting points - some of us start in a worse place than others, some people have terrible circumstances in other countries, you know? And so I'm not saying, like, I have all the answers. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is there is something to the way that you think and the way you approach life - how it turns out for you.

SANDERS: Start your church. I will go.

(LAUGHTER)

LOPEZ: I got to stop talking like a motivational speaker.

SANDERS: But you know what?

LOPEZ: That's not my goal. That is not my goal.

SANDERS: People need that (laughter).

LOPEZ: I'm just trying to live my life...

SANDERS: I hear you.

LOPEZ: ...Do OK, like, be better every day.

SANDERS: But you know what? People need that.

LOPEZ: Like, that's my thing.

SANDERS: People are sad. People are...

LOPEZ: No.

SANDERS: ...Upset. The world - like, the world feels...

LOPEZ: It does.

SANDERS: ...In a place right now.

LOPEZ: It is.

SANDERS: So I don't - I'm not going to tell Jennifer Lopez to not give motivational truths...

LOPEZ: Right.

SANDERS: ...Because we could use it.

LOPEZ: Well, because - but that's what my life is about. Like, this movie, "Second Act," is about that. It's about, like, the only thing stopping you is you.

SANDERS: Is you.

LOPEZ: And so forgive me if I sound, you know, trite or preachy or any of that. I'm not trying to be. I'm actually not that type of person. You know, I'm a girl from the Bronx who just feels, you know, really, really happy to have made it through her own dark forest, in a sense...

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

LOPEZ: ...And is still growing and evolving and trying to be better every day.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Like, I still go to bed at night and think to myself, God, I could have been better there. I could have been a little bit more, went out of my way a little bit more there...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...You know? Like, I do. I - it makes me happy to do that...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...And to feel like, you know what? Tomorrow I'm going to try to do a little bit better.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: One more break. When we come back, J.Lo tells me about this crazy, epic kind of infamous magazine profile of her from the '90s and how it fundamentally changed the way she deals with the press. Lots of tea spilled - I promise - after the break.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: You know, one of the things I notice about being able to really drive your own ship is that you also have to be in charge of your own message. And what I love about your trajectory in your career is that you learned, very quickly, to control your message. And you're in charge. And I love it. And there is this - you probably can't even remember - I don't know. There was this profile of you from 1998 in Movieline.

LOPEZ: Oh, yeah. Well, that's what made me realize I had to.

SANDERS: But even then, you still were controlling your image.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: Because, like, he walks in - you're in charge. You're laying down getting that massage...

LOPEZ: Right.

SANDERS: ...By the pool. You are...

LOPEZ: Right.

SANDERS: And, like, you've mastered controlling your message.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: Was it hard to get to that?

LOPEZ: Yeah...

SANDERS: Because it was hard, so...

LOPEZ: I think so because that...

SANDERS: Oh, so that was a bonkers profile?

LOPEZ: Yeah, that was a crazy profile. That was my very first interview for a magazine, and I learned very quickly that a lot of things you say can be taken out of context.

SANDERS: Well, because you were...

LOPEZ: ...And painted...

SANDERS: I mean, because you were speaking truth about...

LOPEZ: But also painted...

SANDERS: ...Colleagues.

LOPEZ: ...In a different way because if you say it and they can take that one sentence that sounds really provocative...

SANDERS: They will.

LOPEZ: ...And you're, like, trying to explain it, and you're a nice person, you're trying to explain it in a certain way and it comes out a different way, it's a mess, you know what I mean? And listen; it was a learning curve for me. And I'm glad it happened then because then I realized, like, OK, I have to be responsible with my - with what I say and how I say it. And I have to say what I mean. And trying to make a point, sometimes, is not worth it, you know what I mean?

SANDERS: Did that profile hurt you?

LOPEZ: Oh, yeah.

SANDERS: I mean, because I read it, and I was like she's...

LOPEZ: It hurt me.

SANDERS: I liked it to because...

LOPEZ: It did two things.

SANDERS: ...You said things that folks would never say.

LOPEZ: It did two things.

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: It gave me a lot of notoriety in the moment, and then it made a lot of people in the industry really pissed off. And so when I look back at it now, I go - you know, I never wanted to hurt anybody. I didn't realize that my words could impact people that way....

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...You know what I mean? Like, I was just a nobody at that time - you know what I mean? - just like - I had done one or two movies. Like, who the hell was I? So I was still in that kind of fan mentality back in the Bronx. And then you go, oh, wait a minute; you have responsibility, you know, to present yourself in the way that you are and not let people interpret it in a way that could be - that you're this hurtful, callous person. You're not. And that hurt me.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: That bothered me...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: ...So I learned to be more responsible - so, yeah.

SANDERS: And there were - I mean, I'm not going to rehash it, but, like, there were - who was mentioned? Wesley...

LOPEZ: Many people...

SANDERS: Wesley Snipes.

LOPEZ: Tons.

SANDERS: ...Woody Harrelson, Oliver Stone...

LOPEZ: Tons. And by the way, the interviewer...

SANDERS: ...Cameron Diaz.

LOPEZ: ...Once he realized that I was so green and that I would talk about it - nobody would do that.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Nobody would ever talk about those people. I wouldn't do it now. They would never.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: You know, I - but he saw blood.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LOPEZ: He was a shark. He saw blood water, and he annihilated me.

SANDERS: But you probably outlasted him, I bet you. I bet you're doing better than him.

LOPEZ: Well, I'm a quick learner, you know? And honestly, I'm not a bad person, so the adjustment was easy to make. It was like, oh, OK, I'm sorry. That's not what I meant. That's not how I wanted to - that's not who I am.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. They're going to rush you out of here soon, but I do got to - like, just, like, some like procedural questions.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: One thing I always wonder with someone that puts such a good face out to the world all the time - like, I'll watch your Instagram videos - you're ready.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: You up in here - you ready.

LOPEZ: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Like - well, how - what is the number of people involved in making J.Lo every day - the squad, right? Like, I saw...

LOPEZ: Well...

SANDERS: ..A few folks up in here just for this.

SANDERS: ...Everything is team.

SANDERS: OK, team.

LOPEZ: Yeah, really.

SANDERS: That's good.

LOPEZ: I've learned that from Alex - right...

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: ...This team.

SANDERS: Alex, who?

LOPEZ: ...Team - Alex, my boyfriend.

SANDERS: Oh, yes.

LOPEZ: Rodriguez, A-Rod

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: You know, because he's such a - he's a sports guy so, everything is team. But it's true.

SANDERS: And this sports metaphor is in the movie, too.

LOPEZ: It's the people - yeah. He's - there - it's all people. So I have tons of people, but, you know, I don't need people to...

SANDERS: Yes.

LOPEZ: ...Make me every day. Like, I don't have hair and makeup every morning and - do that. You know, if I'm working, I do.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: If I'm not...

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: ...You're going to catch me barefoot, with my ponytail and...

SANDERS: On a day...

LOPEZ: ...You know, and nothing, you know...

SANDERS: On a day when you're working...

LOPEZ: ...Definitely not these on you, know what I'm saying?

SANDERS: They look great. On a day when you're working, though, what is, like - how many people...

LOPEZ: On a day when I'm working...

SANDERS: I'm just so curious.

LOPEZ: I have...

SANDERS: My editor's curious.

LOPEZ: Yeah. I have hair, makeup, a stylist - you know, wardrobe person for the clothes - and...

SANDERS: Twenty? Thirty?

LOPEZ: No.

SANDERS: I don't know (laughter). I don't know.

LOPEZ: Oh, my god, who wants to walk around with 20 or 30 people?

SANDERS: Well, not all with you at once...

LOPEZ: I would say like...

SANDERS: ...But they're here, they're there, they're everywhere.

LOPEZ: No, on a regular day, it's me and my assistant rolling everywhere....

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: You know what I mean? - just helping me out. You know, I don't drive. I haven't driven in a long time.

SANDERS: Your life.

LOPEZ: Yeah, I don't. Please, you don't want me driving.

SANDERS: Are you a bad driver?

LOPEZ: They stop me...

SANDERS: Oh, you're a New Yorker.

LOPEZ: They stopped me from driving years ago. They were like, she's going to hurt herself or somebody.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LOPEZ: And so - and that's why just I don't drive.

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: I just don't have the...

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

LOPEZ: I have ADD that way. And - so it's just the two of us. But then on work days, it will be, you know, the glam squad and me and the assistant. And it's like five.

SANDERS: OK, but then the bodyguard, your press person...

LOPEZ: Security.

SANDERS: Security - I'm sorry.

LOPEZ: No, and that press person is not with me every day.

SANDERS: OK.

LOPEZ: She's here on the press junket.

SANDERS: She's here being like you need to end this interview, Sam. I know. I know. I know.

LOPEZ: She's like - don't your questions right now.

SANDERS: Uh-oh.

LOPEZ: She's like, why are you trying to make her out to be...

SANDERS: I'm probing.

LOPEZ: ...A diva?

SANDERS: No, I don't - I just - I think that, like...

LOPEZ: What is it? What's the goal with that question?

SANDERS: Honestly...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...I'm just, like, interested.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: I'm interested in - because whenever I interview celebrities...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...One-on-one, they're so real and they feel like real people that you want to just hang out with...

LOPEZ: But they are.

SANDERS: ...But you know - they are, but they're living a day-to-day that is different than most of us.

LOPEZ: Of course.

SANDERS: And it's not better or worse, but it's different.

LOPEZ: But isn't everybody's day-to-day different than everybody elses?

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. And I want to ask Danny about his day-to-day, too.

LOPEZ: Right.

SANDERS: And I want to ask you about your day-to-day.

LOPEZ: It's going to be different, right?

SANDERS: And it will be different, but I just want - like, I just want to know about everyone's day-to-day...

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...So - I'm just nosey.

LOPEZ: Yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: I'm nosey. Last question is - promise you last question. She's eyeing me.

LOPEZ: Yeah, I got to go. I got to go.

SANDERS: One of the things everyone told me - when I was planning this interview, they're like her skin. It's always glowing.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's glowing. It's glowing.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's glowing. So I said - what I want to ask is, how much water do you drink a day water?

LOPEZ: Water?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: I would say about - you know, you're talking about regular bottle of water?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Probably six.

SANDERS: It's healthy now.

LOPEZ: That's not too much. It's not too little.

SANDERS: But it's good.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's good. Anyway, you got to go.

LOPEZ: That's it.

SANDERS: I really appreciate you.

LOPEZ: Thank you.

SANDERS: I have been a fan...

LOPEZ: Thank you.

SANDERS: ...Since the Fly Girl days...

LOPEZ: Yes.

SANDERS: ...And...

LOPEZ: From my chunky days.

SANDERS: That's (laughter). That's not chunky.

LOPEZ: That's what we always say - my chunky days.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness.

LOPEZ: Then I cut off all my hair.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: I got to say, I said I love how ernest you are. My favorite lyric of yours is, I really been on "Oprah." And it's a win that you have.

LOPEZ: I - yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: And you owned it. You were like, I did this.

LOPEZ: Yeah.

SANDERS: And I love how, like, you work hard and you celebrate your successes earnestly.

LOPEZ: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVENS SONG, “FLICKER”)

SANDERS: J.Lo - fun fact - I wore a suit for that interview. I don't ever do that. Anyway, thanks to Jennifer Lopez for her time - and to be honest - her entire body of work. Her new film, "Second Act," is in theaters December 21, and this show is in your podcast feed all the time. So, listener, if you like this show, go leave us a review on Apple podcasts right there on your smartphone or your computer, however you're listening to us. Your review helps other folks find the show, and we want that to happen. All right, thanks for listening. I'm Sam Sanders - talk soon.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVENS SONG, “FLICKER”)

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