When Jennifer Lopez was first breaking into Hollywood, one-dimensional executives didn’t embrace her brand of beauty. They would not so subtly suggest she lose weight or change her look, an affront to any woman, especially one who was taught to love her curves. But they didn’t know who they were dealing with: Lopez single-handedly changed the times. Desire is her currency. The world has been coveting her glow, and now with the Jennifer Lopez Inglot makeup line, they can achieve it.
“It’s a true reflection of the things people know me for,” she says about the 70-piece collection that centers around her mainstays such as illuminator, bronzer, gloss, eye shadow, and mascara. “Glowy skin, neutral shades, glitters—it’s all the fun stuff I loved growing up and that I still love.”
Read InStyle's interview with Lopez below.
Who was your biggest beauty influence? Since we’re talking makeup, I think the person who most comes to mind is Kevyn Aucoin. He was one of my first makeup artists, and a total legend. He transformed faces but at the same time never took himself too seriously. He liked to say, “Play with it—it’s just makeup.” He’s the reason I’ve never been afraid to try all kinds of looks, whether they’re inspired by what I’m wearing or by my emotions. You can do all kinds of crazy things and then wash it off and start over.
How did you feel about your looks growing up? I was such a tomboy. As a kid, I loved sports, playing in the dirt, climbing trees, and swinging my swing too high. Then everybody started putting on dresses. I thought I wasn’t feminine enough and that my nails were too short and stubby. I was too tough for a girl, or so I thought. But now, of course, I feel like my Bronx-girl, urban toughness is one of my biggest strengths. It’s who I am.
Would you say the Bronx still influences your style? Everything about growing up in the Bronx influenced me and is still with me today. I still wear big hoops and a lot of jewelry, whether it’s with a couture gown or with Timberlands. Also, how I do my hair. I’m still a ponytail, bun-on-top-of-your-head girl, which is all very Puerto Rican Bronx.
Throughout your career you opened up the conversation about body image and paved the way for curvier women to be more accepted and appreciated. Do you feel that you’ve had that influence? So many people have come up to me over the years—famous people, people I meet on the street, fans, everybody—and they say that very thing: “Thank you so much. I have the same type of body. I used to think I was fat, but now I feel beautiful.” My generation was very much focused on size 0 models. It was just so unattainable for most normal people, including me. My mom and my grandmother were the ones who drilled into me, “This is how we are, and this is what’s beautiful.” My dad loved my mom’s body—all the men in our family loved the women’s bodies. Being curvy or not being 6 feet tall was never a bad thing; it was actually something that was celebrated. And so, later on, when I brought that in front of the world, I wasn’t really trying to send a message. I was just being myself.
You never tried to hide your curves. That’s because they didn’t bother me at all. But I got a lot of flak for it from people in the industry. They’d say, “You should lose a few pounds,” or “You should do this or do that.” It finally got to the point that I was like, “This is who I am. I’m shaped like this.” Everybody I grew up with looked like that, and they were all beautiful to me. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I still don’t!
You seem to be aging backwards. What’s your fitness routine and diet like? I like to work out in the morning.
It loosens me up, gets me ready for the day, and keeps me strong. I’m convinced that working out is part of what makes me so happy. I really believe that when you take care of yourself and work to stay healthy, you’re better able to take care of those you love.
How do you teach your daughter, Emme, to handle the pressure of feeling like she has to look perfect all the time? The one thing I really want to teach her is to love and respect herself first and to make sure she commands respect from others. Social media—it’s fun and social, but at the end of the day you’re living in real time, where you have a core group of friends and family. I try to get her to focus on the things that matter: being a good person, friend, and daughter, being happy with herself, and doing the things she loves. She’s an artistic soul. The other day at my concert, there’s this part in my show where I say, “Ladies, what do we need from the world?” And she was in the front row yelling, “Respect!” And I said, “Yes, Emme! Teach them young!” That’s what I want to teach her; that’s what I want her to know.
For more stories like this, pick up the June issue of InStyle, on newsstands and for digital download now.