J Lo the super-busy diva as ‘fembot’
LOS ANGELES—“Yeah, the cast called me a ‘fembot,’” Jennifer Lopez said about her “Shades of Blue” costars, who use the term to fondly describe her: like a female robot who can go on and on doing many things at the same time. See if you don’t run out of breath just reading what J Lo is doing these days: She’s shooting her new TV series, “Shades”; she has returned as an “American Idol” judge; she’s back doing the voice of Shira in “Ice Age: Collision Course,” and, to top it all, she’s starring in her residency show in Vegas.
And of course, the glamorous mom is also raising Max and Emme, her twins with ex-husband, singer Marc Anthony.
“I was doing a lot during this first season of ‘Shades,’” declared Jennifer in what could be the understatement of the year. She wore a baby blue Dolce and Gabbana dress with a red rose embellishment. This lovely fembot described the rest of her look: “The jewelry is all different stuff from over the years, and some new things that I just borrowed. And the shoes are Louboutins.”
Back to her busy life: “When I wound up taking on ‘Shades,’ we had been developing it for two years,” Jennifer said about the cop drama in which she stars and serves as executive producer. “So, we knew a year out when we were going to film. During that time, I was offered my Vegas residency. Also, they decided to bring ‘Idol’ back for another season.
“I would never have chosen to do a series again and do those other things at the same time. But it just worked out that way, so I had to work it out.”
Laughing, she cracked, “I started saying that I must be a robot, but I am not. I am human—flesh and bone. I get really tired, at times. But with a supporting cast like this, it made the work satisfying.”
The Bronx native plays Harlee Santos, a single-mom NY cop who’s forced to go undercover by the FBI to investigate her own squad. Ray Liotta portrays Matt Wozniak, Harlee’s commander and mentor, who is the subject of FBI’s anticorruption investigation. Drea de Matteo, Warren Kole and Dayo Okeniyi are among J Lo’s costars.
On being a woman and a person of color who’s making it in Hollywood, Jennifer, whose parents are Puerto Rican, said, “It’s because I don’t put limits on myself. I don’t think about age and race. I don’t think about how long I have been in the business. I think about what I want to do, and how I can make it happen.
“It’s just about focusing on the work and wanting to be better as an artist and person.”
The secret, she said, is not to be reined in by limitations, imagined or actual. “When you do that, you don’t limit yourself. We limit ourselves in our own minds a lot. I have battled that, as well.”
On her final “AI” season sitting as a judge with Keith Urban and Harry Connick, J Lo reflected, “The show turned out to be a much bigger part of my life than I ever thought it could be. I signed on to do one season of ‘Idol’ six years ago. I never thought I would sign on for the second one, but I fell in love with everyone there and everything it represented, as far as dreams and music, and the way they produced the show.
“That was a turning point in my career—for people to see me as a human being, and not represented through the media and what people chose to write about me that was not a true representation of the human being that I am.”
The pop diva added, “‘Idol’ turned out to be such a blessing in my life in so many different ways.”
As if she’s not busy enough, the star launched her residency show, “All I Have,” at the Axis Theater in Planet Hollywood Las Vegas in January and will return in May. The extravaganza, in which the fashionista dons show-stopping glittery costumes while she belts out her hits, will continue in June, July, August and December.
“The residency is amazing,” she said. “I felt that this was a great opportunity to use my catalogue of music and put it on that type of show. It was going to be totally new for me, and something that people hadn’t seen from me before.
“Probably, the only thing that has been most difficult about it is how taxing the show is.
“But people are responding to it in a great way. When you tour, people who come are the ones who want to see you. But, in Vegas, people who see shows are not necessarily fans of your music.
Light, protein diet
To keep her stamina, especially when she’s doing the Vegas show with its fully choreographed numbers, J Lo said, “My diet is pretty light, but it has lots of protein. Lately, when I have been doing the show in Vegas, I’ve been eating a lot of fish, sushi and protein shakes. I don’t want to feel heavy before a show.
“After the show, I will eat a normal meal, because I wind up being up for three or four hours after the show, even though it’s late. The different schedules dictate what I will eat at different times. It’s like being in training for something, or being an athlete at certain times. You have to eat for power.”
As far as romance is concerned, the busy star stressed that she is happy the way things are. She’s back together with choreographer and her former backup dancer, Casper Smart, her on-again, off-again boyfriend.
“I don’t think I am looking for anything, really,” insisted the entertainer who has been married three times (and was in a high-profile relationship with Ben Affleck). “When you get to a certain age, you realize that everything you need and want is within you (laughs). The happiness that you seek in others—really, the key to it—is within yourself. That’s what’s changed for me.
“I don’t feel like I am searching for something. I feel very content with the life that I created for my kids and me.”
On the pluses and minuses of being single or married, Jennifer, whose ex-husbands are Ojani Noa, Fil-Am dancer-actor Cris Judd and Marc, commented, “Both have their pluses (laughs). Again, it’s just about enjoying and being content about where you are in the present moment. ”
In the meantime, she’s just enjoying raising Max and Emme. “They’re going to be 8 next week (Feb. 22),” she happily announced.
Juggling all those shows and motherhood doesn’t seem to faze the glam mom. “It’s funny,” she remarked. “As long as we’re happy and healthy at home, then all of this other stuff, I can do it and I can concentrate on it. The kids are at the forefront of my thinking all the time. Not that it isn’t challenging or tiring—I am not saying that.
“So, that is always a juggling act. Your wish that you could be there for them more is probably the hardest part of it.
“But I’m luckier than most working moms in that I can bring them to my job, whereas if I worked in a 9-to-5 job, I probably couldn’t bring my kids to work. So, I probably get to see them a lot more than the average working mom.”
On how she tries to raise Max and Emme as responsible kids amid their wealth and privilege, JLo explained, “They watch and see me work a lot, so I hope they pick that up, because I want them to be able to work for what they want and not think that everything is going to be handed to them. That’s what’s different from my upbringing—we didn’t have much.
“So, it’s about teaching them the whole idea of being charitable and also working hard for what they want and knowing that what they want isn’t going to be handed to them. Those are probably the two biggest challenges.”
Jennifer emphasized that if the kids also want to become performers, she would not discourage them. “If they’re artists, I will support them in whatever they want to do.”
Is there something that the overachieving entertainer cannot do?
“There are lots of things I’m not good at. I am not good at basketball and being in small spaces—things like that.”
On what’s on her proverbial bucket list, Jennifer said, “I still have a lot of things on my bucket list. There are different things that I want to do as far as work is concerned, or places I want to live in when I get older.”
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