Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My J. Lo Exclusive Interview

J.Lo up closer

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MANILA, Philippines - To attempt to make a brief introduction of Jennifer Lopez is just an exercise in futility. The Latin superstar is so accomplished in many ways that no amount of words could measure her success or her influence in Hollywood. From humble beginnings to the top of the industry, her story is an inspiration to everyone. And now after more than two decades in the industry, the old Jenny from the block finally pays Manila a visit and The Philippine STAR was the first to see her.
This writer met with Jennifer a couple of months ago during the height of summer when the temperature was reaching nearly a hundred degrees and the humidity was nearly zero. The busy star had about 20 minutes break in her schedule that particular day and that was enough to do a quick but intimate interview. The location was in a secret and secured compound in the San Fernando Valley part of Los Angeles where she was doing scenes for a TV commercial. Jennifer’s current boyfriend, the hunky Casper Smart, accompanied her that day.
When we got to the location, Jennifer was in the middle of a take. We were brought to a corner in the house where we can set up for the interview. She did a quick pictorial and one more scene before she finally got her 20-minute break — which she so graciously gave to The STAR — thank you, Jennifer!
I prepared several questions (which have been previously screened) and when she finally joined us, I was in so much hurry that, as soon as she sat down and we exchanged hellos, I immediately started asking questions without realizing that the camera was not ready yet.
“Are we rolling?” she stopped me and called the attention of the camera-man. She let out a giggly laugh and it allowed me to rearticulate my first question. The interview lasted for about 10 minutes with no more pauses. Casper sat next to her on the couch but wasn’t visible on camera. He was quiet and visibly proud of his Jenny.
Here is my full interview.
After two decades of immense success in the business, what still keeps you going? What keeps Jennifer Lopez going?
“I just love what I do. I really do. I love all the opportunities I get and all the things that I get to do over and over whether it’s making music, making records, being in movies, creating things... I am just a creative person and I really love it.”
You were recently named the most influential celebrity in Hollywood. How do you feel about the title?
(Laughs before answering.) “You know I try not to think about those things too much. It’s really flattering when it happens but I don’t try to take it too seriously. I just try to keep my nose in my work and try to do the best that I can do.”
But did you have some self-awareness of this “influence”?
“I don’t know. I really don’t think about it too much. I work with great people and we work well together and so I don’t think about that. I just try to live my life the right way and, I think, with that, it kind of all works together.”
Perhaps the “influence” thing comes up because you were in American Idol for two years. It was so successful but then many fans are saddened because you are not going back. What will you take with you from your Idol experience?
“That was an amazing experience for me and I loved every single second of it. I am sad, too, but it’s one of those things when you know it’s time to move on. Being part of that show was a beauti- ful thing but sitting and judging is not what I do. I am a performer and I am an actress and I am an enter- tainer and at the end of the day, that’s what I need to get back to. I don’t know, maybe, I’ll go back and do another year at another time. You never know.”
Did you always know that you were going to do just two years of Idol?
“I was only gonna do one year and then I loved it so much I stayed for two years! And then everybody was like, ‘Oh, she’ll just be back for, I don’t know, three, four, five years...’ and when they offered me the third year, I just said, ‘You know what, I think it’s time for me to get back to work.”
Speaking of Idol, we have our girl there, Jes- sica Sanchez. What did you think of her?
“She was amazing. I saved her — me and the other judges, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson — (when) they voted her off... it was so crazy. I was just a fan of hers from the very beginning.”
I think she’s a fan of yours, too.
“She’s fantastic! I remember her from the early auditions — coming out with all her attitude and every- thing, she was a very, very special talent.”
So you’re going to Manila. What will fans expect from your show?
“The show? It has a lot of energy. You’re gonna get all the songs that you know me for and a couple of new ones, too. It’s very theatrical in a sense. It kind of tells a story and, I think, people have really enjoyed it throughout the States and it’s been going really well and I think, the fans in the Philippines — who tweet me all the time! I have a lot of Twitter-Filipino fans — it’s amazing!”
If they can elect you Filipino, you’re going to become one.
(Laughs at my attempt at humor before speaking.) “Yeah! They are so supportive and loving. They are like, ‘Come to Manila!’ And I am like, ‘I am coming!’ And, now, I can say I am coming.”
Speaking of your songs, how would you describe your music now?
“Right now, it’s very dance-oriented. I always have collaborated with rappers — it has been a part of my musical career. I don’t know! I just try to stay cur- rent with sound. I love current music. I am always, kind of, abreast of what’s happening on radio. I love all kinds — I love hip-hop and I love pop music and I love, you know, dance music. So, mine is always, kind of, a hybrid of all those things.”
At this point in your career, how would you measure it versus your goals when you were just starting? “Wow! I have to say, even though I had really big dreams, everything that’s happened is so far beyond anything that I could ever think. But, at the same time, I feel like I am not even halfway there. It’s kind of a weird thing — thinking about it from the beginning and thinking about it now and thinking about the future.”
Do you still worry about your career?
“Hmm... Worry? I think it’s just natural when you love something to worry about, you know. But I feel confident now; I am in a good place. I feel like I’ve done a lot and I feel like people know that I’m here to stay.”
To what do you attribute your success?
“Hard work.”
Does success come to hardworking people or do you need talent, too, or luck?
“Talent, hard work, luck. Lots of loving people around you; lots of support, you know. But, I think, from my par- ents, I got all of that stuff. I got all those blessings.” But looking back on your career, what are you most proud of?
Or anything.
“I am most proud that I am a good mom, you know. For me, that’s the biggest job that I have.”
Is it more challenging than creating music?
“It is the hardest thing ever because you are always wor- rying that you are not doing enough; that you are not there enough — especially when you’re a working mom, which most moms are these days. You just always feel that guilt of having to work and not being there for them at every single moment but I try to remind myself that I work for them.”
If there’s one thing that you can “redo,” what would it be? “Redo? I don’t know. I don’t think that I would go back and redo anything because if it went bad why would I want to revisit?”
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being Jennifer Lopez, the superstar?
“The superstar? The best thing is I am doing what I love. The worst thing is that it comes with a lot of pressure; a lot of things, you know — fame and scrutiny and judgment, but that comes with the territory.”
How would you compare the old Jenny from the block to J.Lo today?
“Honestly, I still feel the same like I did when I was 16, which sounds crazy. I still get excited; I still get nervous. I still can’t believe it’s happening but I still feel like I belong there — right, that’s where I belong. You know what I mean? All these mixed feelings but it’s been a good ride.”
We ended the conversation with her taped invitation to her Manila fans to watch her concert. She had a little difficulty pronouncing “Manila” in the beginning but she was able to deliver “Mabuhay” and “Mahal ko kayo” in a single take!
Catch Jennifer on her Mall of Asia Arena concert on Nov. 26.
(J.Lo Dance Again World Tour at the Mall of Asia Arena is presented by Vista Land, Zenea and PLDT Fibr; in cooperation with Visa and made possible by McDon- ald’s; with GMA Channel 7, GMA News TV and DWLS-FM 97.1. Special thanks to FOX, StarWorld, Makati Shangri-La, Ivory Music & Video; Radio High 105.9 and MMI; media partners The Philippine STAR, Philstar.com, Manila Bulletin, Juice. ph, Inquirer.net, Pep.ph, 24/7, Metro Maga- zine, Star Studio. Official venue is Mall of Asia Arena, for the benefit of UN Women National Committee Philippines [United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women].
Ticket prices are: VIP P25,840; Patron P18,610; Patron Standing P15,510; Lower Box A P18,610; Lower Box B P15,510; Lower Box C P10,340; Upper Box P7,760; General Admission P2,590. Tickets are available in all SM Tickets outlets. For inquiries, call 470-2222 or visit www. SMTickets.com.)

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