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Jennifer Lopez ile yapılan röportaj
Protected and Taught by Her Parents
She's come a long way from the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. That's where Jennifer Lopez, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, got her start, singing and dancing in neighborhood shows in the Bronx.
Today she's in Vancouver, filming An Unfinished Life, in which she teams up with Robert Redford. She's dressed all in white -- squeaky-clean running shoes and velour warmups she designed herself, with a "J. Lo" insignia over the breast. She's wearing three diamonds -- two rocks on her ears and the extraordinary pink diamond engagement ring from actor Ben Affleck, with whom she stars in the crime drama Gigli, due out this month. In a soft voice with traces of the Bronx, Lopez, 33, talked with Reader's Digest about her working-class roots, what she's learned about life, love (after two false starts), and what it feels like to reach her very own version of the American Dream.
RD: These last few years you've had a hit movie, a couple of hit CDs, launched a clothing line and perfume, opened a restaurant, and you're engaged to the love of your life. It looks like a fairy tale. How does it feel?
JL: It feels amazing, but also scary -- like I'm about to start learning what life is really about.
RD: What was the Bronx like that you grew up in? Was it safe?
JL: It was inner city. To me it was safe. It was all I knew. My mother would send me to the store, and I'd go, when I was like eight years old.
RD: There weren't gangs, or gunshots?
JL: I only found out when I was in my 20s and dated a cop who worked in my neighborhood. I told him I grew up on Castle Hill, and he said, "That's the worst crime area." I knew nothing of it. My parents had three girls and raised us to do the right things -- go to school, get good grades, try to get into college. It was about trying to have a better life. We weren't allowed to hang out on the streets. Parties -- God forbid. I'd beg for weeks to go, then have to be home by 11 p.m., when everybody else was just getting there.
RD: So your parents were protective?
JL: It's like my mother said, "We had three girls." Boys were the enemy.
RD: In one of your movies last year, Maid in Manhattan, your character's mother tells her that she shouldn't try to be anything but a maid. Do a lot of Latino parents have that attitude -- accept your station in life?
JL: Fear of failure. It's a fear of success almost. They don't want to rock the boat. There's food on the table, a place to eat. There's a fear to dream a little bit more, go a little bit higher.
RD: Was that the message you got from your parents?
JL: From the community. I felt very much like we're going to work at Macy's, get married, have kids. If you're really ambitious, then you'll go to college, maybe be a lawyer. Forget being a doctor -- it's way too much school to pay for. Luckily, with my mom and dad, I really did get the feeling that we could do anything if we worked hard enough.
RD: Has being Latina ever been a handicap for you?
JL: I never thought of it that way. I never thought, Oh, I'm not white or blond. I just thought, I could do that.
RD: Did you speak Spanish in your home growing up?
JL: My grandmother spoke Spanish. My mother came to New York when she was two and my dad when he was six. They speak perfect English.
RD: How were you able to pick up the language?
JL: After Selena, I took a beating from the Latin press for not knowing Spanish. I said, "Hey, back off. I grew up in an English-speaking country, and I'm proud of my roots, but at the same time, I never learned the language." Then I married Ojani [Noa, her first husband], who only spoke Spanish. I learned it really fast.
Redefining Hollywood's Definition of Beautiful
RD: Selena was your break. It made you a star. Did you identify with her?
JL: Very much. Edward James Olmos, who played Selena's father, told me, "You'll never have another part like this again, where you're perfectly suited, in the right time in your life, where you understand." When things come into your life at a certain moment, it's for a reason. I had a lot to learn from it.
RD: What did you learn?
JL: To not wait till tomorrow. You just don't know what's going to happen. Selena was 23 when she was killed, and had the maturity and grace of a woman who knew she had to get more done in a shorter amount of time.
: You've been called one of the sexiest women in the world. What makes a woman sexy?
JL: Being comfortable with who you are. People think, Sexy, big breasts, curvy body, no cellulite. It's not that. Take the girl at the beach with the cellulite legs, wearing her bathing suit the way she likes it, walking with a certain air, comfortable with herself. That woman is sexy. Then you see the perfect girl who's really thin, tugging at her bathing suit, wondering how her hair looks. That's not sexy.
RD: Though men love the way you're built, women can sometimes be catty because you're not stick-thin, you have a voluptuous derriére. Do you think you've helped change Hollywood's definition of what's beautiful?
JL: I hope so. It's important for all types of women to know that you don't have to fit a prototype of what one person thinks is beautiful in order to be beautiful or feel beautiful