Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born July 24, 1969 and is nicknamed “J-Lo“. She is an American actress, singer, dancer, fashion designer, producer and businesswoman. In 1991, Lopez began appearing as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color, where she remained a regular until she decided to pursue an acting career in 1993. For her first leading role in the 1997 Selena biopic of the same name, Lopez received a Golden Globe nomination and became the first Latin actress to earn over US$1 million for a film. She went on to star in Anaconda (1997) and Out of Sight (1998), later establishing herself as the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood.

She was born in The Bronx borough of New York City, to Puerto Rican parents Guadalupe Rodríguez and David López. She has an older sister, Leslie, and a younger sister, Lynda, a journalist. David worked the night shift at the Guardian Insurance Company before becoming a computer technician at the firm, while Guadalupe was a homemaker. When Lopez was born, the family was living in a small apartment in the Castle Hill neighborhood. A few years later, her parents had saved up enough money to be able to purchase a two-story house, which was considered a big deal for the relatively poor family. At the age of five, Lopez began taking singing and dancing lessons. She toured New York with her school when she was seven years old. Her parents stressed the importance of work ethic and being able to speak English. They encouraged their three daughters to put on performances at home—singing and dancing in front of each other and their friends so that they would stay “out of trouble”. Lopez spent her entire academic career in Catholic schools, finishing at Preston High School. In school, Lopez did gymnastics, ran track on a national level, and was a member of the school’s softball team. She excelled athletically rather than academically, competing in national track championships.

While attending her final year of high school, Lopez learned about a film casting that was seeking several teenage girls for small roles. She auditioned and was cast in My Little Girl (1986), a low-budget film co-written and directed by Connie Kaiserman. Lopez acted as Myra, a young woman at a center for troubled girls. After she finished filming her role in the film, Lopez realized that she wanted to become a “famous movie star”. To please her parents, though, she enrolled in Baruch College, only to drop out after one semester. She told her parents about her dream of becoming a movie star, but they insisted that it was a “really stupid” idea and that “no Latinos did that”. The differences in opinions led Lopez to move out of their family home and into an apartment in Manhattan. During this period, Lopez performed in regional productions of the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Oklahoma!. From there, she was hired for the chorus in a Golden Musicals of Broadway, which toured Europe for five months. She was unhappy with the role, as she was the only member of the chorus not to have a solo. She later got a job on the show Synchronicityin Japan, where she acted as a dancer, singer, and choreographer. 

Lopez’s debut single, “If You Had My Love”, was released in May 1999, as she began to ready her first album. Lopez became the first artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 with a debut single since Britney Spears did so with her single “…Baby One More Time” four months prior. During production of her debut album, Lopez was aware that she received her recording contract on the basis of her looks and an already established name in the entertainment industry, and she wanted to prove she had musical talent. Prior to the debut of her music, critics wondered why she would take the risk of launching a music career. By the end of 1999, Lopez successfully converted herself from a film star to a pop star. 

Lopez parted ways with Epic Records in February 2010, citing that she had fulfilled her contractual obligations and now wished to release her seventh studio album under a new label. Her departure from the label temporarily halted production on the album, which commenced in 2009. Upon signing a new contract with Island Records, recording resumed on the album. In April, Lopez starred in the romantic comedy The Back-up Plan, her first theatrical role in three years. In June, following the departure of Ellen DeGeneres from American Idol, it was reported that Lopez was in talks to join season ten’s judging panel. During this same time, Lopez was being considered for a role on The X Factor for her appeal to Latin and International markets. It was officially announced in September that Lopez would be joining the tenth season of American Idol. MTV stated that the deal was “mutually beneficial to all those involved”, while CNN reported that Lopez was viewing it as a decision to revive her career, while American Idol producers believed that Lopez and Steven Tyler’s appointments would strengthen viewing figures. In October, Lopez released her fourteenth fragrance, Love and Glamour. The perfume was inspired by Lopez’s forthcoming “return to the spotlight”.

L’Oréal Paris named Lopez their new Global Ambassador and the face of their brands, including EverPure hair care, Preference hair color and Youth Code skin care. Her EverSleek hair care ads made their debut in early 2011, to coincide with the release of Love? and her debut as a judge on American Idol. To further promote her comeback, in February, Venus chose Lopez as their new Global Ambassador.

In September, Lopez launched the Jennifer Lopez Collection, a clothing and accessories line for Kohl’s with Tommy Hilfiger. In addition to the clothing line, she also launched the Jennifer Lopez Home Collection, featuring bedding, towels and luggage. Later that same month Fiat, an Italian automobile manufacturer, enlisted Lopez to promote their products, including the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio. Olivier Francois, the Chrysler chief marketing officer, stated that she fitted perfectly with the brand.

In March 2018, Lopez opened up about her own Me Too movement story of being sexually harassed by a director early on in her career, when she was asked to take her top off during one of her first films. Lopez has also been an active advocate for the Time’s Up movement.

Following the September 11 attacks, Lopez was heavily involved in charitable activities. Joining various other artists, she was featured on charitable singles such as “What’s Going On” and “El Ultimo Adios (The Last Goodbye)”, which benefited people affected by the tragedy. One dollar from each ticket sold at Lopez and Anthony’s co-headlining North American concert tour, which grossed an estimated $10 million, was donated to Run for Something Better—a charitable organization supporting physical fitness programs for children. In February 2007, Lopez was honored with the Artists for Amnesty prize by the human rights organisation Amnesty International, for her work in the film Bordertown, which shed light on the hundreds of female homicides in Ciudad Juárez.

In 2009, Lopez launched the Lopez Family Foundation (originally known as the Maribel Foundation) alongside her sister, Lynda. The nonprofit organization seeks to increase the availability of healthcare for underprivileged women and children, offering a telemedicine program supported by a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The foundation has led to the expansion of medical facilities in Panama and Puerto Rico, and created the Center for a Healthy Childhood at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. 

In December 2012, Lopez held a charity drive that would affect her three favorite charities: the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles as well as the American Red Cross, mainly benefiting victims of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of her home town, New York City. In May 2015, she became the first national celebrity spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF), appearing in a campaign entitled “Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are”. That September, Lopez was announced as the first Global Advocate for Girls and Women at the United Nations Foundation. This role sees her mobilizing action to address challenges faced by girls and women around the world, including maternal health care programs, education and violence against women. In September 2017, following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, Lopez announced that she would be donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas residency to humanitarian aid for Puerto Rico. Along with ex-husband Marc Anthony, she launched a humanitarian relief campaign entitled Somos Una Voz (English: We Are One Voice), an effort supported by various celebrities to rush supplies to areas affected by Hurricane Maria. Lopez and Anthony presented a subsequent concert and telethon for disaster relief, “One Voice: Somos Live!”, which raised over $35 million. She was also among various artists featured on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s charity single “Almost Like Praying” which benefits Puerto Rico.

Lopez is an avid supporter of LGBT rights, and has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS research. In June 2013, amfAR presented Lopez with its humanitarian award for her philanthropic work. That September, she was awarded the Ally for Equality award presented by the Human Rights Campaign, for her support of the LGBT community. The following year, she received the GLAAD Vanguard Award. In July 2016, Lopez released a single entitled “Love Make the World Go Round”, a collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda, which benefits victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. She was also featured on the song “Hands” along with numerous other artists, also benefiting those affected by the Orlando shooting. Among numerous other artists, Lopez signed an open letter from Billboard magazine to the United States Congress in 2016, which demanded action on gun control. 

Lopez endorsed President Barack Obama in his 2012 presidential campaign, speaking in television advertisements and attending a fundraising event for Obama in Paris. She endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, headlining a free concert in Florida in support of her that October.

Lopez’s music explores the “romantic innocence” of Latin music, while strongly identifying with hip hop. Growing up, she was influenced by Latin styles ranging from salsa to bachata, but it was the 1979 hip hop song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang that she said changed her life.

She has been influenced by artists such as Tina Turner, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Barbra Streisand. She credited Rita Moreno’s performance in the 1961 musical film West Side Story as a major inspiration. Critics have considered Lopez’s voice to be limited, and obscured by the production of her music, while remaining “radio-friendly”.

Lopez is regarded as the most influential Hispanic performer in the United States, credited with breaking racial barriers in the entertainment industry, she became the highest-paid actress of Hispanic descent in history.