After attending one semester at Baruch College in New York City, Jen dropped out and got an apartment in Manhattan to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer.
After various jobs around the world, Jen became a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block in 1991 and even performed with the group during the 18th Annual American Music Awards. Shortly after, she became a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color, where she remained as a regular cast member until 1993, when she decided to focus on an acting career.
The “Let’s Get Loud” singer’s breakout movie role was as the lead in 1995’s Selena. From there, she appeared in Anaconda, Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan and more.
Her film career actually led her to meet Ben Affleck, whom she costarred with in 2003’s Gigli. The pair started dating and got engaged in 2002 but split in 2004. Seventeen years later, they eventually found their way back to each other and rekindled their romance in 2021.
The New York native expanded her film career when she starred and executive produced Hustlers, a film about the true story of a group of strippers who conned wealthy men, in 2019. Her role scored her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes.
Some people may be surprised to learn that Jen’s singing career actually didn’t kick off until 1999 with her debut album On the 6. Of course, her career exploded with iconic songs like “Jenny from the Block,” “On the Floor,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” and more. She still tours and performs her music to this day.
If her performance chops weren’t enough, she had a designer clothing line called JLo, which launched in 2003. The same year, she released her first fragrance, Glow by J.Lo. These days, she is very proud of her JLo Beauty and skincare line.
The Boy Next Door actress has broken many milestones during her career, including being the first Latina actress to earn more than $1 million for a movie. She talked about her intense work ethic during an interview with Variety in 2019.
“My business philosophy is that you have to work harder than everybody else. I always tell my kids and they’re like, ‘Yeah, we know you work hard.’ I’m like, ‘No, it’s not just that I work hard. I put in harder work than everybody else. I work harder and harder and harder and harder. When everybody is sleeping, I’m doing more.’ It’s just a relentless pursuit of creativity,” the “Papi” artist said at the time.