A homeless woman, whose video showcasing her singing ability at a Los Angeles Metro station recently went viral, performed for a live audience Saturday, hoping to raise awareness of the homelessness crisis.
Russian-born singer Emily Zamourka appeared onstage during the “Little Italy” celebration in San Pedro, singing the same Italian opera piece that garnered her international attention.
“I’m not a professional singer, but I’m very critical to how I’m going to sound or how I’m going to perform,” she said. “It has to be delivered right. It’s not easy, so that’s why today I will apologize in front of everybody, because they probably thought I’m going to bring a [bigger] repertoire or something. It’s going to be the same song that they know me from the subway [for].”
Zamourka, who has been homeless for the past few years, said that she has been overwhelmed by the worldwide acclaim she has received since the Los Angeles Police Department posted a video of her singing at a Metro Purple Line station on its social media.
The video, which has been retweeted over 6,000 times on Twitter since being posted on Sept. 26, prompted many to applaud her operatic voice. Zamourka didn’t know that her singing had been heard by people around the world until friends called to tell her.
She later thanked the officer who took the video, as shown by another clip posted by the LAPD.
Zamourka previously said that she has no formal training, but would not decline to sing on stage. The opportunity to do so came on Saturday.
After performing at the event and giving interviews to local and international reporters, Zamourka left to rest. LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office, which hosted the “Little Italy” event, said it is working to find housing for the singer.
But though she thanks everyone who has supported her, Zamourka believes a person’s skills shouldn’t determine whether they receive help.
In the wise words of Dunder Mifflin’s expert prankster, Jim Halpert, “sometimes goodbyes are a bitch.”
When Michael Scott bid his emotional farewell to the Scranton branch in Season 7 of The Office, he and Jim never officially said goodbye to each other. The sentiment was mutually understood, but the goodbye itself was too painful, so they simply ignored it. Years later, that’s exactly how fans and cast members parted ways with the show itself.
The NBC comedy ended in 2013, but fans have ultimately refused to let it go. The Office is one of the most popular shows on Netflix, acts as fodder for endless memes, and has even inspired an Off-Broadway musical. Though a reboot currently remains off the table, former co-stars and IRL best friends Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey wanted to give people another way to celebrate the off-air series, so they decided to host a podcast called Office Ladies.
Each week, the two ladies of The Office will re-watch an episode and share memories, a few fast facts, and behind-the-scenes stories from filming. The first episode, “Pilot,” aired Wednesday on Stitcher’s podcast network, Earwolf, and fans should definitely give it a listen.
In Episode 1, Fischer and Kinsey recall the early days of shooting, back when no one had any idea if the U.S. version of the UK show with the same name would take off. They take listeners back to the “Pilot” episode, which aired on March 24, 2005, and reminisce on which hilarious moments were improvised, Jim and Pam’s first flirts, how Sprinkles the cat came to exist, and more.
If you tune into the podcast, here are some of the enlightening tidbits that you can expect to hear.
Steve Carell is as nice as he is funny
You may have heard rumors that Steve Carell is a super agreeable guy, and Fischer is here to confirm. “He’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” she says, noting that while he’s not constantly cracking jokes he is personally responsible for some of the funniest moments on the show.
In the pilot, for instance, Carell improvised the line where Michael’s talking about his heroes. Showrunner Greg Daniels apparently asked Carell who he thought Michael Scott’s heroes would be, and that’s how they created the line, “Bob Hope. Umm, Abraham Lincoln definitely. Bono… and probably God would be the fourth one.” Iconic.
Jenna unpacks Pam and Jim’s undeniable spark
One of the fan-favorite relationships on the show is, of course, the slow-burn romance that develops between Jim and Pam. Jenna Fischer is just as obsessed with the two work pals turned spouses as you are, and is excited to lend some commentary to the couple. She talks about the flirtation between the two characters in the pilot, the heartbreaking talking head where Jim wonders if he’ll be invited to Pam’s wedding, and her favorite moment between the two: Their cat party conversation.
Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.
Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez, Bianca Marroquín and Lindsay Mendez are committed to the “sisterhood” of Latinas in the arts, and they are all working hard to encourage young people to pursue creative work. Pictured from left to right: Actresses Lindsay Mendez, Mandy Gonzalez and Bianca Marroquín.
Mandy Gonzalez was a teenager when she sat in her bedroom in Saugus, Calif. and watched the cast of “Rent” perform at the Tony Awards. Watching actress Daphne Rubin-Vega sing “Seasons of Love” made a lasting impression because she was “someone who looked like me… I thought ‘I can do this,’” recounted Gonzalez.
Flash forward to today, and there’s no doubt Gonzalez, who is Mexican and Jewish, has made it in the acting world. She currently plays Angelica in Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton.”
Gonzalez is one of a small group of Hispanic professional theater actors working on Broadway today. Even though Hispanics make up 18.3 percent of the nation’s total population, the first-ever Actors’ Equity Association study of diversity noted that less than 3 percent of its members identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Broadway audiences don’t reflect our country’s diversity, either. A January 2018 report from the Broadway League discovered that Latinos account for only 7.1 percent of theatergoers.
However, Broadway has indeed been inching toward progress in terms of diversity over the years. For example, the original 1979 Broadway production of “Evita” was picketed by the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors for not hiring Latino actors to tell a story about Argentinians. But when “Evita” was revived in 2012, it had actors of Latin descent in the two lead roles, among others.
And today, a quick glance at the headshots of performers in “Hamilton” paint an inclusive picture. Aspiring Hispanic performers can also look to multiple Broadway shows for inspiration—there’s Karen Olivo in “Moulin Rouge,” Eva Noblezada in “Hadestown,” and Shireen Pimentel in the upcoming “West Side Story,” to name a few.
Still, many are quick to note there is still a long way to go.
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy/Ted Ely/Courtesy of Bianca Marroquín
Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.
Bahara’s road to acting was not your ordinary. She was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and soon after she and her family were forced to flee the country and become refugees in Moscow. Eventually Bahara and her family were sponsored by the UN and were helped to settle-in the U.S.. Even though she faced many struggles while growing up, she never lost the passion and faith of one day becoming an actor.
After making a splash in multiple headlines with her announcement on Deadline, Variety and TheWrap, beguiling and multi-faceted actor Bahara Golestani is the new fresh face to watch on the new season of NBC’s smash hit series “This Is Us,” which returned for its 4th season in September.
A graduate of the world-renowned Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre, Golestani is best known for her roles in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and is also a voiceover actor. Her upcoming projects also include the Jason Koch-directed indie film BENEATH THE BLACK VEIL and the highly-anticipated Michael Bay blockbuster film 6 UNDERGROUND premiering on Netflix in December 2019.
Having been both nominated and winning multiple Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG, People’s Choice, and NAACP Image Awards, NBC’s “This is Us” returned to television this fall to continue the captivating and unique story of the Pearson family. The newest season will dive deeper into the family’s history including stories from their pasts that have shaped their present day lives.
Having been announced recently in the industry trades and spreading like wildfire to the rest of the world, Bahara portrays a mysterious and important character that will drastically affect the lives of the Pearson family. “This is Us” Season 4 Trailer
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Golestani walked an untraditional path to achieve Hollywood success. She grew up in a creative household; her father was an artist and her mother was an actress, so she always had a natural passion to perform and to pursue the arts. She grew up playing the violin and loved performing in school plays. At the young age of four, she and her family were forced to flee the country and became war refugees in Moscow.
Their lives were completely transformed as they had to leave their home abruptly with nothing and led a refugee life with no stability. They ultimately were sponsored by the UN in Moscow helping her and her family move to America eventually residing in Phoenix, Arizona to start a new life. Golestani had a difficult childhood adapting in America as she didn’t speak a word of English. With the help of the hit television series “Friends,” she was able to learn the language and at the same time, became enthralled with acting. After high school, she pursued modeling, successfully landing several magazine covers, but always knew her true passion was to act.
From the moment she stepped foot into the Stella Adler Academy in Hollywood during a campus tour visit, she knew this was exactly where she belonged. In order to make money for the costly tuition, she worked diligently for two years on multiple jobs and finally saved enough money to move and enroll herself in the Academy. Upon graduating from Stella Adler, she persistently went out on auditions and worked as a professional fitness model, even successfully placing first in female bodybuilding competitions.
After landing roles in various short films, Golestani has since appeared in TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” CBS’ “Madam Secretary” ID TV’s “Betrayed,” and film AN AMERICAN FUNERAL, before landing her breakout role on the newest season of NBC’s “This is Us.”
When Golestani isn’t busy acting and continuously honing her craft, she can be found working on her fitness continuously bettering herself both physically and mentally. As a speaker of five different languages (Farsi, Russian, Dari, Pashto and English), she has worked as a translator/consultant on film and TV sets and has also completed voiceover work in films like 6 UNDERGROUND. Golestani has a huge compassion for refugees of war and is very proud of her Afghan roots. Ultimately, she would love to become a role model to those in similar positions to her when she was a child and plans to become even more active through various charities and organizations.
Melinda Gates, whose book this year documented the systemic and societal challenges that continue to face women around the world, recently pledged $1 billion over the next 10 years to initiatives designed to accelerate gender equity in the United States.
It’s the biggest initiative yet from Gates through her standalone Pivotal Ventures firm, separate from her role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Melinda Gates established Pivotal Ventures four years ago to focus on issues including gender equality and empowering women. Her book, “The Moment of Lift,” documented the need to remove barriers for women, with the goal of helping not just women but society as a whole.
In the announcement this morning, Gates cited three priorities for the funds: 1) “dismantling the barriers to women’s professional advancement;” 2) “fast-tracking women in sectors with outsized impact on our society—like technology, media, and public office; and 3) “mobilizing shareholders, consumers, and employees to amplify external pressure on companies and organizations in need of reform.”
She wrote, “I want to see more women in the position to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives. I believe that women’s potential is worth investing in—and the people and organizations working to improve women’s lives are, too.”
“I believe our goal should be to expand women’spower and influence in society. I think of power and influence as the ability to make decisions, control resources, and shape perspectives. It is something women exercise in their homes, in their workplaces, and in their communities. I recognize that “power and influence” are not words we have historically associated with women — nor are they words that all women associate with themselves. I also acknowledge that because of my family’s wealth, I have access to certain kinds of power and influence that very few people do. Still, I use these words, imperfect and imprecise though they are, because they are the best way I know to describe what men in this country — in particular, white men — have long had that women have not.”
Continue on to Geekwire to read the complete article.
She also landed an historic Tony Award, plus an Oscar nomination for her performance in ‘Claudine.’
Diahann Carroll, the captivating singer and actress who came from the Bronx to win a Tony Award, receive an Oscar nomination and make television history with her turns on Julia and Dynasty, died Friday. She was 84.
Carroll died at her home in Los Angeles after a long bout with cancer, her daughter, producer-journalist Suzanne Kay, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Carroll was known as a Las Vegas and nightclub performer and for her performances on Broadway and in the Hollywood musicals Carmen Jones and Porgy & Bess when she was approached by an NBC executive to star as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse raising a young son, on the comedy Julia.
She didn’t want to do it. “I really didn’t believe that this was a show that was going to work,” she said in a 1998 chat for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television. “I thought it was something that was going to leave someone’s consciousness in a very short period of time. I thought, ‘Let them go elsewhere.’ ”
However, when Carroll learned that Hal Kanter, the veteran screenwriter who created the show, thought she was too glamorous for the part, she was determined to change his mind. She altered her hairstyle and mastered the pilot script, quickly convincing him that she was the right woman.
Carroll thus became the first African American female to star in a non-stereotypical role in her own primetime network series. (Several actresses portrayed a maid on ABC’s Beulah in the early 1950s.)
Her character Baker, whose husband had died in Vietnam, worked for a doctor (Lloyd Nolan) at an aerospace company; she was educated and outspoken, and she dated men (including characters played by Fred Williamson, Paul Winfield and Don Marshall) who were successful, too.
“We were saying to the country, ‘We’re going to present a very upper middle-class black woman raising her child, and her major concentration is not going to be about suffering in the ghetto,'” Carroll noted.
“Many people were incensed about that. They felt that [African Americans] didn’t have that many opportunities on television or in film to present our plight as the underdog … they felt the [real-world] suffering was much too acute to be so trivial as to present a middle-class woman who is dealing with the business of being a nurse.
“But we were of the opinion that what we were doing was important, and we never left that point of view … even though some of that criticism of course was valid. We were of a mind that this was a different show. We were allowed to have this show.”
Julia, which premiered in September 1968, finished No. 7 in the ratings in the first of its three seasons, and Carroll received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe for her work.
While recuperating after starring on Broadway in Agnes of God, Carroll had found herself digging Dynasty — “Isn’t this the biggest hoot?” she said — and lobbied producer Aaron Spelling for a role on his series.
“They’ve done everything [on the show]. They’ve done incest, homosexuality, murder. I think they’re slowly inching their way toward interracial,” she recalled in a 1984 piece for People magazine. “I want to be wealthy and ruthless … I want to be the first black bitch on television.”
With over 90% female travellers stating that safety concerns affected what they did in their personal time when travelling for work (GBTA/AIG Travel survey 2018), there’s a need for women to be security-savvy.
Female travellers face unique travel safety risks. Women are often perceived as an easier target by criminals and are also more likely than men to be victims of sexual harassment or violent sexual crimes. Women are also targets of harassment, cultural discrimination, local regulations and bias in business settings.
Forward-planning and self-awareness have a big part to plan in ensuring women stay safe when travelling, whether for business or leisure. Riskline, a leading global travel risk intelligence company, gives female travellers a head start with its top five best practices.
Top 5 best practices for female traveller safety
1 – Keep those at home informed
Ensure a trusted person at home always has a copy of your full itinerary and important details before your departure. This includes alternate ways to contact you, a photocopy of your passport and any travel or medical insurance information.
2 – Know your travel destination
Always familiarise yourself with your destination prior to travel. Research your destination using tools, such as Riskline’s Female Traveller Safety Report, so you can be fully informed of various cultural and societal practices. This includes local culture and laws, especially in countries with extensive social and legal restrictions against women.
For example, in some Islamic countries, buses, subways, restaurants and other public establishments are often gender-segregated, while some teahouses are off-limits to women altogether. On the other hand, a lack of feminine care necessities may pose an issue in developing countries. Tampons and contraceptives may be only found at major supermarkets or pharmacies in large cities or in some cases, not available at all.
In Iran, where the legal code is based on Islamic law, physical contact between unrelated men and women is forbidden in public – even in a private or social setting do not shake hands with Iranian men unless they initiate it and extend their hand first. Unmarried men and women are legally forbidden from being alone together in a social setting, sometimes even in public, unless they are related.
3 – Remain aware of your surroundings
Exercise common sense safety precautions, even during the daytime, while travelling in unfamiliar locations. Women are more frequently targeted than men for pickpocketing and bag snatching, especially if travelling alone as they are often perceived as an ‘easy target’. In developing countries, the perception that foreigners are more affluent than locals may put you at a higher risk.
Be alert and keep your bag close to you at all times, especially on public transport and other crowded areas. If you’re out after dark consider using private and official taxis, especially those operated by women drivers, as a safer mode of travel than public transport and walking alone.
In India, it is recommended to avoid all forms of public transport as sexual assaults are common onboard buses and trains. Use only official and registered taxis or reputed radio cabs – but avoid sitting in the front seat of the taxi and always take the seat behind the driver, as there have been some reports of sexual advances by cab drivers. Do not travel alone at night, especially in deserted areas or villages where crime rates are high.
4 – Don’t be afraid to say no
Depending on your destination, you may attract attention among locals for your foreign appearance or simply for being a woman travelling alone. In countries like Jamaica, Morocco and other countries frequented by tourists, female travellers may be at a higher risk of being sexually harassed by local men due to misconception about foreign women, especially Westerners, and their behaviour.
Be confident in demeanour and learn to say “No” or “Stop” in the local language without worrying about causing offense. While smiling and ‘small talk’ may be considered a friendly gesture at home, in some countries local men may perceive it as a sign of interest.
In the Bahamas, female travellers may receive unwanted attention from men, ranging from open displays of catcalling and staring to physical groping, including during the daytime. It is best to ignore these advances or confrontations and walk away. In the event that harassment escalates, draw attention to what is happening and locals will likely come to your aid.
5 – Give feedback
Tell your travel manager, HR rep, co-workers and friends about what worked, and what didn’t, during your trip. Employers have a Duty of Care obligation to ensure your safety and well-being during a work trip. Your feedback can make the experience safer and more enjoyable for future female travellers.
Not all travellers are the same, and female travellers face unique safety risks. Women can be perceived as an ‘easier target’ for criminals and are more likely than men to be victims of sexual harassment.
Consider this: more than 8 in 10 (83 percent) women say they have experienced one or more safety-related concerns or incidents while traveling for business in the past year (GBTA/AIG Travel survey 2018). It is unfortunate that women should take precautions in many facets of their life due to safety concerns, and business travel is no different. Therefore, we want to ensure all women remain ‘safety-savvy’ when working abroad and access to the right information is key.
Detailed reports, such as our Female Traveller Safety Reports, are written by women for women and are also designed to support a company’s Duty of Care obligation to keep their employees safe while travelling. They provide information on local customs and laws, safety concerns as well as specific details on health and wellness that directly affect female travellers.
There’s a huge – and increasingly growing – need for companies to embrace diversity and inclusivity, and we hope that providing access to detailed travel information to female employees will soon become the norm.
‘Forewarned is forearmed’ as they say, and women need to need to arm themselves with the right information in order to ensure they can make the most of trouble-free travel.
Authors: Suzanne Sangiovese & Jayeon Kim, Riskline
Riskline is a leading travel risk intelligence company in operation since 2007 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Riskline’s world-class security services are trusted by small business and Fortune 500 companies across a wide range of industries. riskline.com
Fresh off her much buzzed performance in the movie “Hustlers,” the multi-talented performer has announced she will be hosting the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show alongside Shakira.
The duo follow in the recent footsteps of Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga, who have headlined the biggest show on American TV. Super Bowl LIV will take place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Feb. 2, 2020.
The news came via the two singers’ social media, and was swiftly followed by confirmation from the NFL’s official account.
The performances by Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake in the last two years have drawn criticism, and many performers have been reluctant to take the gig in light of the NFL’s response to Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeling during the national anthem.
Earlier this year, the league announced a partnership with Jay-Z and his Roc Nation label which encompassed entertainment and social justice efforts. The rapper was likely instrumental in bringing Lopez and Shakira to the stage next year, given his position as a consultant on the halftime show.
Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.
In 2018, eight undocumented families took the extraordinary risk of allowing film crews to chronicle their lives as they faced potential deportation. Ranging from harrowing to hopeful, their journeys illuminate and humanize the complex U.S. immigration system. Living Undocumented depicts the struggles many must endure in their quest to pursue the American dream.
Living Undocumented is co-directed by Aaron Saidman and Anna Chai and is executive produced by Emmy®-winning executive producers Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman via Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation banner, along with executive producers Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey, Anna Chai and Sean O’Grady.
Quote from executive producer Selena Gomez:
“I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented, because over the past few years, the word immigrant has seemingly become a negative word. My hope is that the series can shed light on what it’s like to live in this country as an undocumented immigrant firsthand, from the courageous people who have chosen to share their stories.”
Quote from series co-director and executive producer Aaron Saidman:
“Living Undocumented is designed to illuminate one of the most important issues of our time. But rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect.”
Partnering with Nature’s Way to celebrate its 50th birthday, Mandy Moore shares her passion for paving a better way to wellness.
“As someone with a busy lifestyle, having an intentional, balanced wellness routine helps me be my best self for my job, my friends and my family,” said the actress and wellness advocate.
While no single trick or technique guarantees well-rounded health, it’s really about establishing habits that work best for you and your lifestyle. Your routine may often change daily depending where you are on your wellness journey, but Moore shares thoughtful considerations to always keep in mind:
1 Start from within. It’s important to understand the connection between your mind and body. “I recognize it takes time, trust and baby steps, but the outcome is incredibly rewarding,” Moore said. “I’m a strong believer in the power of therapy and find my most important work is done during the moments when I feel like I’m operating at 100 percent.”
She also recommends downloading a meditation app, calling a friend or writing in a journal to help balance a hectic schedule.
2 Seek new ways to nourish your body. Wellness goes beyond simply what you put on your plate. Drinking water-based beverages is a big piece of Moore’s wellness routine. She loves relaxing with tea sourced from around the globe and drinking water with liquid chlorophyll for an internal refresher.
3 Breathe in the sights, scents and sounds of nature. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to take time to breathe and take in nature’s true beauty. Watch a sunset, walk through a park or get away from the city lights so you can really see the stars shine. Be more proactive and immerse yourself in environments that truly allow you to feel renewed. Moore herself loves to go hiking and walks her dogs, Jackson and Joni, each day.
“There’s something that’s innately healing about feeling connected to the ground—feeling grounded, literally, to the world around you,” she said.
4 Unplug to recharge. Even if your schedule constantly keeps you on the go, it’s important for your mental health and well-being to take time to unplug and find different ways to clear your mind. “Take moments to step away from the computer, tablet or phone—put it in the other room, let it charge and do something else constructive for your brain,” Moore said. “Pick up a book, put on an album, call a friend, light a candle and decompress. I’m a big proponent of smell—sense therapy is really helpful for me. One of the first things I do when I get home is light a candle.”
In the nearly 30 years since she danced her way onto our screens as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, Jennifer Lopez has evolved into an award-winning, record-breaking, history-making phenomenon.
A force to be reckoned with in every industry she enters—be it dance, music, TV or film—the star has also made strides in the business world, intertwining her marketability with her personal persona and riding her brand all the way to the bank.
The Business of Being J. Lo
The consummate boss lady, Lopez has leveraged a thorough understanding of her personal brand and identity to generate several multi-million-dollar business enterprises. It is a tactic that, according to the successful multi-hyphenate, is key to longevity.
“You have to remember the value of your individuality—that you have something different and special to offer that nobody else can,” she said in an interview with IOL.
Lopez’s marketability lies in her origin story and the hard work ethic that took her from the southside of the Bronx to the highest echelons of stardom. To quote her hit “Jenny from the Block”— “no matter where she goes, she knows where she came from”—that sentiment has endeared her to fans, and consumers, worldwide.
“Staying authentic to that image of an entertainer, mother, and woman of humble beginnings in a struggling Puerto Rican family from the Bronx is important, and it’s key to reaching a bigger audience of potential customers. That’s a big part of who I am, and my brand in a way,” Lopez said in a sales pitch to Silicon Valley.
Lifestyle a la Lopez
Lopez first flexed her business muscle in 2001, when she launched her eponymous clothing and accessories line, J. Lo by Jennifer Lopez. With an unapologetic focus on providing fabulous fashion choices for women of all sizes (including often overlooked curvaceous body types), the label has gone through several iterations over the years, expanding to include girls’ sportswear and housing decor. In 2010, she relaunched the brand in partnership with popular retail chain Kohl’s, capitalizing on their exclusive private brand strategy to ensure nationwide saturation of her vision. The collection, which includes a wide array of fashion running the gamut from statement pieces to chic comfort, is a testament to the entrepreneur’s personal taste (if she wouldn’t wear it, it doesn’t hit the shelf).
“It’s great to collaborate with Kohl’s in the creation of a full lifestyle
brand that represents my full style and essence,” said the entrepreneur, who is known for taking an active role in each stage of the production process. “I’m a mom. I work. I want comfort, but I also want to feel sexy and modern. I think a lot of women want the same thing.”
As Lopez’s star continued to rise on the charts and in theaters, she made yet another boss lady move that would further cement her status as a business mogul. Alongside then manager Benny Medina, the star co-founded Nuyorican Productions, a film and television production company, in 2001. The production house has developed a wide range of projects, from documentaries to primetime shows to online series, with Lopez often starring or serving in an executive producer capacity. To date, the entity is responsible for six films, 12 TV series (including award-winning The Fosters, which won two GLAAD Media Awards for its outstanding representation of LGBT issues), four TV specials, one online series, and nine musical releases.
The Smell of Success
Lopez’s long-term influence and impact on the fashion industry extends beyond clothing, accessories, and home goods. In 2002, she launched what would become America’s top-selling fragrance and the best-selling celebrity fragrance line in the world—Glow. The move jump-started the now common-place strategy of celebrities bringing their own namesake scents to the market. In the 17 years since its inception, Lopez has released 24 fragrances, with revenue in the billions.
No Time Off
The mid-2000s saw Lopez incrementally building her empire—starring in several films (including 2006’s Bordertown, which earned her an Artists for Amnesty Award from Amnesty International), producing several others under Nuyorican, releasing her sixth studio album, maintaining her lifestyle brands, and serving as the Chief Creative Officer for NuvoTV (a Latino community focused cable network). It wasn’t until 2008, after giving birth to twins Max and Emme, that she finally took a short hiatus to focus on her new family.
She was back on the grind less than two years later, when she joined the judging panel on the tenth season of American Idol. The comeback served as the spark of a resurgence predicated on her undeniably successful personal brand that—nearly a decade later—has yet to falter.
The Power of Branding
Armed with an ambitiously sharp business mind, an innate understanding of her brand, and a ferocious work ethic, Lopez has established herself as an obvious go-to for major companies looking to connect to consumers via a relatable feel coupled with a healthy dose of glamour. L’Oréal Paris, Gillette Venus, Fiat Automobiles, denim powerhouse Guess, and luxury footwear Giuseppe Zanotti have all called on the business behemoth, who boasts one of the most powerful brands on the planet.
The numbers don’t lie: more than 150 million people, a whopping 75 percent of them millennials, follow the phenom on social media, privy to Lopez’s every post, project, and partnership. That fact alone points to her uncanny ability to connect with the masses using her high-profile status as a business asset for social commerce.
To Lopez, that universal appeal serves as the potential foundation for creating wide-ranging business opportunities that have yet to be realized.
“I want to build something that has never been done before,” she declared in 2015 at VentureScape, a venture capital conference in Silicon Valley hosted by the National Venture Capital Association. And she most definitely will. Her companies boast a track record of success that surpasses Stanford graduates (the stereotypical recipients of such funds) and is predicated in part on her willingness to take risks.
“I have found that taking risks, being true to myself, and making decisions with good intentions can exceed even my own expectations,” the mogul mused in her 2014 bestseller, True Love.
Beyond the Business
Lopez may have established herself as an entrepreneurial enigma through her mastery of multi-faceted platforms and her sheer intelligence in strategically building and managing her brand, but her talents and impact (obviously) extend well past the boardroom. The fervent go-getter was advised as her career was just starting to blossom to “make a moment of her shot” (a piece of wisdom bestowed by fellow actor Jack Nicholson while on set shooting the neo-noir thriller Blood and Wine in 1997).
She took the advice to heart, harnessing every opportunity to its full potential, smashing racial barriers, and side-stepping naysayers to become one of (if not the) most influential Hispanic performers in the United States. In 2018, TIME Magazine named her among its “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and for good reason.
The quadruple threat (singer, actress, dancer, and producer) has sold more than 80 million records in the last two decades, holding the record for releasing the first remix album—entitled J to tha L-O! The Remixes—to ever debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as well as the highest first week sales for a Spanish album in the United States—her 2007 Como Ana una Mujer.
As an actress, she has blazed a record-making trail in Hollywood as
well, capturing the nation’s attention in 1997 with her portrayal of Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the namesake biopic Selena and demanding a salary that at the time made her the highest-paid Hispanic actress in history. Collectively, her films have grossed more than $3 billion, and she holds the distinction of being the first woman to have a number one film (The Wedding Planner) and the number one album (J. Lo) simultaneously in the United States.
Lopez has also left an undeniable mark in the dance industry, cementing her reputation as a powerhouse on the floor with her fierce choreography and the producing (and serving on the judges panel) of the wildly popular World of Dance, which features dancers and groups from all over the world competing for a $1 million prize.
Her influence goes beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the recording studio, however. Lopez’s list of philanthropic efforts rivals her professional achievements. From the founding of the Lopez Family Foundation, a global nonprofit “dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and children and increasing available medical care,” to her service as the first national celebrity spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, her care, concern, and support for her fellow man and women is evident.
With her tenacious can-do attitude, persistent work ethic, and unapologetic boss lady branding, Jennifer Lopez has built a successful, multi-tiered legacy that is sure to stand the test of time. And she is confident there is even more to come.
“You have to believe that you really have that power to make your life whatever you want it to be,” she said.