The highly anticipated Jennifer Lopez (or should I say Jennifer Affleck!?!?!) documentary, Halftime, hit Netflix last month and shows us what life is like through her perspective, and while we know that she has an incredible work ethic (and impeccable style) the road to success, even now, isn’t always easy. The majority of Halftime follows JLo during a pivotal time in her life, as she preps to be the headliner, alongside Shakira, for the Super Bowl LIV Halftime show and navigates award season for her nominations in the movie Hustlers. If you need a renewed sense of motivation to follow your own ambitions, here are five lessons imparted by our favorite Latina superstar.
Believe in Yourself
One of the more relatable moments of the film was hearing JLo talk about her experience with imposter syndrome, “I really believed a lot of what [the media] said, which is I wasn’t any good…I wasn’t good at anything. I just didn’t even belong here. Why wouldn’t I just go away?”
The amount of ridicule and disrespect she’s gotten throughout her career was enough that she even considered quitting at one point, but she attributes a lot of her success to ignoring the negative things that were being said about her and instead “[figuring] out who I was and [believing] in that and not [believing] in anything else.”
It’s Never Too Late to Start
Halftime opens up with JLo’s 50th birthday celebration, with Lopez stating, “It doesn’t feel different than any other birthday…I really feel like my life is just beginning.” She talks about what an incredible opportunity performing at the Super Bowl is, particularly as it comes 20 years after she began her career as a singer.
Society has conditioned us to believe that there is a timeline for success, that things should (or shouldn’t be) done by a certain age. Women, in particular, are constrained by these ideas, which is why it’s so empowering to see Lopez redefine these standards, and prove that we are capable of taking on new challenges and pursuing our goals at any age.
Don’t Let the Disappointments Keep You Down
When asked on the red carpet what she’d say to her younger self when she was nominated for her first Golden Globe for Selena in 1997, Lopez responded, “I would tell her don’t give up, keep going. It doesn’t matter what happens tonight. You’re still a winner.” This mentality is what has allowed her to persevere and handle setbacks with grace. When she didn’t win the Golden Globe for her role as Ramona in the movie Hustlers, and wasn’t nominated for an Oscar despite the praise for her performance, she was the one to comfort her team (including her manager) who seemed to take the news harder than she did.
Remember Your Why
Jennifer Lopez used the disappointments as a moment to reflect, “I got my hopes up…and then it didn’t happen. I had to ask myself, what does that mean? I do this not for an award, I do this to tell stories, effect change, and connect with people.”
She goes on to talk about how some of her most meaningful professional moments have been when people tell her how much her work means to them, or how her sheer presence in the industry has been inspirational.
Stand Up for Something
Staying quiet is easy, and some people, including Lopez, had previously “[left] the politics to everybody else.” But Trump’s anti-Latino rhetoric and subsequent treatment of asylum seekers pushed her to use her time at the Super Bowl to make a statement. When she received backlash from NFL officials about her choice to put cages on the field (referencing the inhumane treatment children at the border received), Lopez refused to make changes, saying “to take out the cages and sacrifice what I believe in would be like never being there at all.”
Jennifer Lopez is known for being a fantastic entertainer, but beyond that, she will be remembered for staying true to herself, contributing to the well-being of her community, and always striving for more, which is something we can all aspire to.