- Jennifer Lopez got her first break in the entertainment industry dancing as a Fly Girl on “In Living Colour” in 1991.
- She then got her breakthrough role as the late singer Selena in 1997, catapulting her to fame as an actress.
- But it wasn’t until 2001 that she became known as J. Lo, and the moniker has followed her ever since.
- In interviews from 2001, Lopez explained that it was her fans who gave her the nickname, which she has used informally ever since.
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Jennifer Lopez has been in the public eye ever since she made her debut dancing as a Fly Girl on “In Living Colour” back in 1991, but it was her breakthrough role as the late singer Selena in the 1997 film of the same name that catapulted her to fame as an actress.
She then starred in a slew of movies, from romantic comedies to thrillers, becoming one of the most in-demand stars in Hollywood. In 1999, she cemented her status as a triple threat when she embarked on a music career, releasing her first album, “On the 6,” an homage to the native New Yorker’s early days spent commuting into Manhattan from the Bronx on the subway.
“On the 6” was a commercial success, selling 8 million copies worldwide, according to Rolling Stone, so Lopez began working on her second album, “J. Lo,” which she released in 2001.
By that time, Lopez had become a tabloid fixture, due to her success in film and music, as well as her high-profile romances. The media ran with her new nickname, and the moniker has followed her ever since.
Jennifer Lopez said her fans gave her the famous nickname
In 2001, the “Hustlers” star told the Chicago Tribune where the nickname came from, revealing, “It’s something my music fans named me. I’d go to MTV or wherever and there would be kids carrying signs that said J. Lo. It’s kind of like street terminology, and it kind of caught on.”
The then-30-year-old was riding the wave of massive success, making Lopez the first woman to have the number one movie (“The Wedding Planner”) and album (“J. Lo”) in popularity and sales in the same week.
In 2017, she told E! News of her fans around the world, “They get me through so much. I know fans are always saying all the things you do for them and how you help them get through things, but really what they do for me – and for people like me – is priceless. Literally, they help you get through so many hard times.”
The nickname hasn’t come without controversy, though
Tabloid reports began to surface that Lopez first demanded to be called J. Lo in 2001 before she reportedly demanded to not be called J. Lo in 2008. In a 2001 interview with MTV, Lopez seemed to shut those reports down when asked if she requested that her record company call her by the stage name.
She reportedly laughed and said, “No. It wasn’t something that I started, like, ‘Call me J. Lo.’ Fans gave me the nickname. It was actually pretty cool.”
When asked if her family began referring to her as J. Lo, she said, “No. But my mother is so taken with the whole thing. She’s all ‘J. Lo, J. Lo.'”
In 2015, she addressed reports that she’d had her name legally changed to J. Lo
In an interview with Complex, the “Second Act” star addressed the “public criticism” she received over the name, and she said, “The rumours at that time were so endless. I still haven’t figured that all out completely. I’ve thought sometimes, ‘Was it because I was a woman? Was it because I was a minority?'”
She added, “‘Why me? Why are they picking on me so much? What have I done?’ It’s funny. Men get praise when they are successful, like, ‘Look how great he’s doing.’ Women get criticised for some reason. I don’t understand it. All I know is that because I’ve stuck around for so long people realise, ‘Oh, that must not be true.’ [Laughs.] ‘We finally got to know the real her.'”
But it’s her successful lifestyle brand that is most closely linked to the J. Lo moniker
In 2001, Lopez launched J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez, a clothing line which, as she told People magazine, she was inspired to create for a wide range of body types, adding, “from little to voluptuous, everybody gets to be sexy.”
She also debuted her first perfume, Glow by J.Lo, in 2001, and then created more than 20 spin-off scents in the years after, with Lopez kicking off a massive trend of celebrity fragrances that dominated the beauty industry in the early aughts.
Glow by J.Lo was an immediate success, reportedly earning $US44 million in sales within four months of its release in 2002, according to Inc. And though she continues to work on different scents and beauty products, as well as movies, songs, and TV shows, fans will always have a soft spot for her first fragrance. The bottle features a sparkly J. Lo pendant, which Inc. reports is “a little something extra for her fans.”
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