Good thing she stood her ground! Jennifer Lopez's curvaceous body may be fully embraced and celebrated by Hollywood now, but that wasn't always the case. In the winter issue of Cosmopolitan for Latinas, the 44-year-old singer says she's always been proud of her body and had to fight in her career to keep it.
"Early on, my family really made me love who I was and what I looked like. My body was nothing out of the ordinary in my neighborhood," explained Lopez, who grew up in The Bronx, New York with her Puerto Rican parents. "When I first started on television [as a Fly Girl on In Living Color], people, and even my own manager at the time, would tell me I had to make all of these changes."
"But you have to stand up and say, 'There's nothing wrong with me or my shape or who I am, you're the one with the problem!'" she says. "And when you can really believe that, all of a sudden other people start believing too."
The philosophy has helped her to juggle her career as a singer, actress, producer, American Idol judge and single mom to 5-year-old twins Max and Emme. How does she do it all?
"One day somebody told me I had to perform in front of 35,000 people on the set of Selena. I didn't know how to do it. I just said to myself: Don't think about it. You can do this and you'll be great," she recalls. "I walked out onto that stage. And then I did. I've been following that rule ever since."
Lopez, who has been dating her former backup dancer Casper Smart since October 2011 after splitting from husband Marc Anthony, tells the magazine that the best part of being Latina is having a passion for life. "I love the family that I grew up in," she says, "the strength and passion and the heart that we bring to things and then the way I was raised -- the intense love we demonstrate."
For more of Lopez's interview, pick up the winter issue of Cosmopolitan for Latinas on newsstands Tuesday, Oct. 29.