Jennifer Lopez celebrates her Latina identity: ‘it made me feel special’

Jennifer Lopez celebrates her Latina identity: ‘it made me feel special’

Jennifer Lopez is proud to be a Latina and fully embraces her body in an exclusive clip shared by PEOPLE ahead of Tuesday’s instalment of Today. The singer was also heavily bodyshamed at the start of her career for her now highly praised physique.

“It’s just who I was,” Lopez told NBC News‘ Morgan Radford. She also added that when she was younger, her parents encouraged her to “be proud of who I was.”

“And so when I went into these worlds, like Hollywood, where we were not represented at all, I almost felt like a unicorn. ‘I’m Latina. I’m Jennifer Lopez from the Bronx. And my parents are Puerto Rican, I’m Puerto Rican.’ And I think it made me feel special.”

Lopez also recalled embracing her body despite not seeing many women who looked like her. “Even the whole body thing was such a thing. It was like, everybody was like size zero models, tall, blonde — beautiful, a certain type of beauty — but there was other types of beauty that I grew up with.”

JLo has always been vocal about embracing their bodies even at a time when body shaming was not even frowned upon. At one point, the Latina was even told to lose weight.

In an interview with InStyle, JLo narrated, “They’d say, ‘You should lose a few pounds,’ or ‘You should do this or do that. It finally got to the point that I was like, ‘This is who I am. I’m shaped like this,’” she continued. “Everybody I grew up with looked like that, and they were all beautiful to me. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I still don’t!”

Even today, the actress and musician follows the same mantra despite when people make ageist comments.

“‘Beauty has no expiration date’ was always my personal mantra because I’m in a business where youth is glorified and people try to write, especially women, off at a certain time,” told JLo to PEOPLE in July. She added, “It’s like, ‘Oh, you’re done no more movies for you. We don’t want your music anymore.’ Growing up, I looked up to people like Diana Ross and Cher and Tina Turner, and they were in their 50s and they were beautiful and almost coming into their own at that time.”

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