The best of J. Lo
Two decades after the release of her debut album, Jenny from the block is better than ever. With the recent release of Hustlers, Jennifer Lopez hit a career-high opening weekend and has already begun to generate major Oscar buzz for her dynamic portrayal of a stripper-turned-scammer. Here are the legendary multihyphenate’s best pop culture moments, from her Fly Girl days to the present.
In Living Color
Lopez kicked off her career on In Living Color, where she was one of the sketch-comedy series’ Fly Girls from 1991 to 1993.
Though she snagged an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance in Gregory Nava’s 1995 drama My Family, Lopez’s true breakout moment came when she starred in the biopic Selena (also directed by Nava) as the the tragic title figure. Later that year, she appeared in the horror adventure Anaconda, and her big-screen arrival was complete.
Out of Sight (1998)
A year after breaking out with Selena, Lopez starred opposite George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh’s sexy crime comedy Out of Sight (and don’t you forget it).
On the 6 (1999)
Lopez’s debut album dropped in 1999, announcing to the world that she was a full-blown musician as well as an actress. The album garnered good reviews and blessed the late ’90s with singles “Waiting for Tonight” and “Let’s Get Loud.”
The 2000 Grammys
The world was not prepared for the fashion moment J. Lo brought to the Grammys red carpet in 2000. The star arrived at the awards show wearing a sheer, plunging Versace gown in a tropical-print silk chiffon, held together with what appeared to be nothing more than a brooch and a prayer. The look alerted the world to the power of its wearer and the relevance of its design house, as well as alerting Google to the need for an image search function.
J. Lo’s self-titled sophomore album arrived in early 2001, offering the singles “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” and “I’m Real” — the latter of which was remixed featuring Ja Rule, in an inspired pairing that would be repeated on a remix of “Ain’t It Funny” the following year.
The Wedding Planner (2001)
Enter the era of rom-com J. Lo! Her first title in the genre was 2001’s The Wedding Planner, in which Lopez plays a hyper-practical wedding planner who falls in love herself, if you can believe it. She would follow up the swoony movie with 2002’s Maid in Manhattan, 2004’s Shall We Dance?, 2005’s Monster-in-Law, and 2010’s The Back-Up Plan.
The 2001 Oscars
Just a year after setting the Grammys on fire in Versace, Lopez turned heads at the Oscars wearing a Grecian-inspired Chanel gown with a daringly sheer bodice.
"Jenny from the Block"
The lead single off Lopez’s third album, This Is Me… Then, is one of her most well-known (and certainly most quoted). “Jenny from the Block” asserts that the star is still the humble Bronx girl she always was, and the track’s music video starred Lopez and her then-boyfriend, Ben Affleck.
Maybe Gigli isn’t one of J. Lo’s best pop culture moments, but it certainly made its mark. Martin Brest’s rom-com is now widely considered one of the worst movies ever made, though the pairing of Lopez and Affleck attracted enormous attention at the time (in another influential moment in Lopez’s history, “Bennifer” launched the popularity of the celebrity-couple portmanteau).
Como Ama una Mujer (2007)
Lopez’s fifth album was also her first entirely in Spanish. Produced by her then-husband, Marc Anthony, the album showed off her singing abilities as well as her bilingual fluency, and with it Lopez became only the fifth artist to ever hit the top 10 with a Spanish-language album.
How I Met Your Mother (2010)
Lopez flexed her comedy muscles in a 2010 episode of How I Met Your Mother as a woman locked in a battle of wits with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), who is determined to sleep with her despite her adherence to a strict set of dating rules.
In 2011, Lopez joined American Idol’s judging panel in the series’ 10th season. She appeared on the show for five seasons (with a break during season 12), until its run on Fox ended in 2016.
After a four-year gap, J. Lo released her seventh studio album, Love?, in 2011. She announced the new era with the release of lead single “On the Floor,” a collaboration with Pitbull.
Jennifer Lopez: All I Have
Lopez got in on the Vegas residency trend with a two-and-a-half year stint at Planet Hollywood from 2016 to 2018. The concert received glowing reviews and became the sixth-highest-grossing Sin City residency of all time.
Shades of Blue
Just as American Idol drew to a close, Lopez expanded her small-screen takeover to the realm of network dramas. She produced and starred on NBC’s crime drama Shades of Blue as an NYPD detective for the show’s three seasons, from 2016 to 2018.
World of Dance
Lopez serves as both a producer and a judge (and a fashion icon) on the NBC dancing competition series World of Dance, which premiered in 2017 and has been renewed for a fourth season.
The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards
Before accepting the Video Vanguard Award at the 2018 VMAs, J. Lo proved why she was such a worthy recipient when she delivered a showstopping performance of a medley of two decades of hits, with assists from Ja Rule and DJ Khaled.
As Ramona, the queen bee of a team of strippers-turned-hustlers, J.Lo commands the screen whether she’s showing off her denim swimwear line or her incredible pole-dancing moves. Time will tell if it earns her an Oscar, but if nothing else, her turn in the film proves what we’ve known for years: She’s a bona fide star.