Jennifer Lopez Still Struggles With Imposter Syndrome
Jennifer Lopez has a lot to be thankful for these days. Last night was the premiere of her latest rom-com, “Marry Me,” which opens in theatres on Feb. 11. She showed up to the red carpet event in a gorgeous white dress with her boyfriend, Ben Affleck, on her arm, looking happier than ever. If there’s one thing you can respect about Lopez, it’s how she still manages to remain relevant after close to three decades in the biz. She’s what some would consider a triple-threat celebrity – and yet, like many of us, she still struggles with imposter syndrome.
Lopez has a lot going on these days. Following “Marry Me,” her film “Shotgun Wedding” (in which she plays another bride) comes out this summer, along with Netflix’s upcoming film “The Mother” in which she plays an assassin. She also has a documentary set to stream on Netflix that chronicles the year she turned 50. She’s proven herself as an actress, singer, dancer, producer, and more. So how is it that someone as successful as J Lo still finds herself questioning why she’s in certain rooms?
In a recent cover-story interview with “Rolling Stone,” Lopez described her career as “slow and steady,” despite her major success. “I think I’m an underdog,” she said. “I always feel like I was scrapping from the bottom. Always. I always felt like I wasn’t the one that was supposed to be in the room. That’s part of being Puerto Rican and from the Bronx and a woman. You know what I mean? All of that stuff. Not being born into a family with money. Not knowing anybody in the business. I just went out there and said, ‘Fuck it. I’m going to just try. I’m going to try to get in here.'”
Lopez talks about how creating her own production company, Nuyorican Productions, was a move to take back control of her career when bigger parts weren’t being offered to her. “I don’t even know half the movies when they come out at the end of the year,” she said. “I have the top agents in the world, but [those projects] don’t come to me.”
The condition of doubting your abilities, feeling like you don’t deserve to be where you are, or feeling like a fraud is often referred to as imposter syndrome, and it’s something a lot of women can relate to – Black and Latina women, especially. In fact, according to a study by Heriot-Watt University and the School for CEOs, more than half of women in executive-leadership roles said they have felt like imposters, compared to only 24 percent of men. For Black and Latina women, imposter syndrome often manifests when we find ourselves reaching a certain level of success and being the only one, or one of a few, in our job or field. According to a 2019 report, 45 percent of women of color have found themselves being the only one in corporate rooms.
When Lopez was a rising star, she was in many ways the only one. Her career started with “In Living Color” and making small appearances in music videos, TV shows, and films, and it didn’t actually take off until she landed the role of Selena Quintanilla in the movie biopic that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. At the time, there weren’t many Latina A-list actresses in Hollywood. However, after almost 30 years in the game, Lopez still hasn’t won a single Golden Globe award, and she’s never been nominated for an Oscar. She’s even opened up about her “Hustlers” Oscar snub.
“Well, it’s just 20, 25 years of people going, ‘Well, she’s not that great. She’s pretty and she makes cute music, but it’s not really this and that,'” Lopez said. ” You know, I think I’ve done some nice work over the years, some really nice work. But there is a club that I just wasn’t a part of. And I always acted like, ‘Yeah, I’m good. I’m fine. I’m OK.’ But it hurts to not be included. I don’t know if I ever will be. There is an inner circle, like, ‘We are the great artists.’ And then there’s the pop artists.”
Regardless, Lopez has never allowed the rejection or criticism to stop her from reaching for the stars. That’s probably one of the most admirable things about her: she might struggle with imposter syndrome and feelings of insecurities, but she knows her worth, never stops dreaming, and believes that one day she’ll get her due.