Jennifer Lopez is more than just a fantastic dancer, an OK singer, and a passable actor. She is a spirit that has haunted me and countless other light-skinned Puerto Ricans like myself since the day she burst onto the scene in a white Kangol and told everybody she was “from the block.”
Lopez, who I still don’t believe is 50, is featured in GQ this month, where she’s being lauded as an icon of this, the year of our Lord 2019. As someone who has been forced to follow J.Lo’s career for cultural and patriotic reasons, it’s hard to understand why every year isn’t archived in magazines as her “icon year.” While 2019 might appear to be a “Lopezaissance,” it’s really been pretty similar to any other year that J.Lo’s been alive and working. She went on tour. She dropped a movie. She got engaged, and she wore a green dress. She’s done it all. Now she’s doing it again but with the wisdom that comes with age. (Although agreeing to marry Alex Rodriguez doesn’t exactly scream, “I’ve learned my lesson about marrying trash men,” looking at you, Marc Anthony.)
In her GQ interview, Jessica Pressler makes an incredibly accurate (and scary?) point when she writes that her familiarity with J.Lo’s presence is akin to her familiarity with air. J.Lo’s career, for all of its highs and lows, is part of the oxygen we breathe. An atmosphere that naturally smells like Glow by J.Lo.
The most interesting part of the interview, though, comes at the start, as Pressler describes an area of J.Lo’s Manhattan apartment: “Sofas in shades of ecru, cream, and white that, while cozy, appear remarkably unsullied by the debris of human life.”
While Pressler is describing what sounds like an insanely expensive couch that no one sits on, “cozy and unsullied by the debris of human life,” is actually a spot-on description of J.Lo herself. Her public persona seems inviting and sofa-like, as if at any moment you two can cuddle up and watch Selena together while she describes what it was like to bring another icon to life. She also lacks any sign of being affected by the debris of human life. No wrinkles, no signs of having had children, no signs of spending almost a full year traveling between Miami and New York every other week to work two jobs—and indeed not a single sign that she ate any of the all-white cupcakes I bought for her and an entire crew of people for her birthday in 2017, when I worked on Shades of Blue. (It’s the most nervous I have ever been around baked goods.) We paired th white cupcakes with mostly white balloons and only white flowers so as not to sully the sterile environment of J.Lo’s shades of cream trailer.