Ever since Cleopatra, the world has been mesmerised by enchantingly powerful, talented women who are at the top of their game. And the triple threat Queen of Pop, Jennifer Lopez, has more than earned her crown after decades of captivating us with her hip-shaking music, iconic acting roles, business acumen and killer dress sense; all the while building up a global following of dedicated fans. Now, for the first time in history, J.Lo is bringing her star power to Egypt for a once in a lifetime concert in New Alamein on the North Coast. eniGma’s Founder & Editor in Chief, Yasmine Shihata, travelled to Houston, USA, for this exclusive interview with the musical sensation, to discuss love, life, women’s empowerment and her thoughts on visiting and performing in Egypt for the first time!
Even when dressed in a casual white crop top and jeans, J.Lo manages to transform the atmosphere of the room as soon as she enters, radiating a natural and timeless beauty that never fails to turn heads. Effortlessly fashionable, as she crosses her legs ready to begin the chat, it is clear from her suede combat boots, that comfort and practicality are incredibly important to this fashion icon. Her wavy golden hair, styled with a classic centre parting, is matched seamlessly with her oversized hoop earrings to perfectly frame her face. From years of meeting thousands of fans and having done nearly as many interviews, J.Lo is evidently more than comfortable in front of the camera, naturally sharing details about herself with a beaming smile and the occasional laugh. Despite her colossal fame, however, her down to earth character remains strong, treating everyone authentically with a generous dose of humbleness, proving that Jenny from the block really does still know where she came from.
Beginning her career as a dancer, before shifting to acting in 1993, J.Lo has been a household name for decades. After several films and being nominated for a Golden Globe in 1997 for her performance in Selena, the biopic about singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, J.Lo launched her musical journey in 1999 with the release of her debut studio album, On the 6. Since then, she has been indulging our ears with eight albums worth of hits, but she reassures us, she is far from finished, “I don’t feel like I am even half-way done yet. I feel like I have so much more to do; I feel like I have more to grow; I feel like I have more to accomplish, and I’m going to work hard at doing that,” she shares.
In an industry as cutthroat as music, J.Lo makes it clear that she is willing to fight in order to redefine stereotypical perceptions of what it means to be sexy and to continue her upward trajectory, “They want to write you off when you turn 30 years old. I was like, no that’s not going to happen to me,” the young 50 year old states with resolve. With years of experience of both uproarious support and outspoken criticism, J.Lo explains that what has helped her stay resilient through it all, is her steadfast belief that, “I don’t allow the outside world or what other people think tell me who or what I can be.”
As a result of her proud Latina heritage, J.Lo is not only a symbol of empowerment for women, but also for minorities. She iterates that her determination to prove that she can continue to succeed regardless of her age, is partially driven by her desire to inspire other women. “Women have so much more to offer at every age, and I’m going to show the world that it’s possible, because I’m going to do it. Through making sure that I can, I’m showing that everybody and anybody can,” she says adamantly. Recognising that living in the US has given her freedoms that not all women are afforded, J.Lo passionately believes in using her platform to its fullest. “I grew up in a country where you have a little bit more freedom than most. I understand that doesn’t exist all over the world, so I kind of took that to the max and maybe stretched the boundaries of it a little,” she adds.
Having worn the crown as the Queen of Pop for many years, it would be easy to assume that J.Lo lives the perfect life. But despite the success and fame, she reveals that life behind the scenes is a lot more complicated than it seems. “I’ve noticed that throughout my career and my life more generally, at times when I was doing really well professionally maybe things weren’t going well personally. And when things were going well personally, professionally, they weren’t. So, there’s always been a kind of struggle. But at the moment, for the first time in my life, I feel like professionally and personally everything is going really well,” she says with a smile, adding, “I’m focusing on growing, working on myself and evolving; really looking at myself to be better. When you work on yourself everything around you starts falling into place.” Discovering the challenging world of motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her twins was a huge part of her personal transformation. “These past 10 years, I’ve really been growing into the person that I always hoped I could be, and I think my kids have had a lot to do with that,” she shares.
On top of motherhood and being one of the century’s biggest musical stars, J.Lo is universally accepted as a true fashion icon. This year she has taken her daring sense of style to new heights as she explored and pushed the boundaries of high fashion in her latest music video for Medicine featuring French Montana, and with the fabulously eclectic outfits she is donning in her current tour. No wonder she was awarded the title of 2019’s Fashion Icon by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “Music and fashion have always been closely related for me,” she shares excitedly. Speaking about her latest tour, she explains, “It’s always fun when I put together a big show like this because fashion is always a big part of it.” Acknowledging the impact of Medicine, J.Lo tells us, “It was perfect timing. With the Medicine video coming out and it being very high-end fashion and ending up being so influential, we decided to open the tour with that look.” Paying attention to all of the details in order to create the perfect aesthetic, J.Lo explains, “I am very detail oriented. I make sure that all of the bells and whistles, the video content, lighting, lasers, pyrotechnics and everything else that makes the show exciting, work together with the fashion.”
This month, as part of her global tour, all of J.Lo’s fire, sparkle and ferocity is coming to Egypt. And while she has thousands of fans in Egypt, there is one very special little fan of Egypt that she will hopefully bring along with her, “My son is so excited to go to Egypt, he keeps telling me ‘I want to go’! I’ve told him so long as he’s not in school he can come,” she laughs.
This performance is part of J.Lo’s ‘It’s My Birthday’ tour, taking place just weeks after her 50th birthday, with each concert being designed and executed to genuinely feel like a giant party. In New Alamein, the ‘party’ will be celebrated by 20,000 of J.Lo’s fans, marking the first time that the superstar visits Egypt. As she explains, “I am just so excited to visit Egypt. I have never performed there, and that’s what is making it very special. Many of the countries that I’m going to for this tour, I’ve never been to before, so it will be full of new experiences for me and for the fans that I have never seen; which is very exciting!”
So thanks to Venture Lifestyle, the company behind J.Lo’s historic concert in Egypt. For one very big night only, J.Lo’s glamour, music and sheer unadulterated star power will dazzle the country with what is set to be a truly unforgettable performance…
Feature image by Michael Amico