"I said no. I stood up for myself," recalled Jennifer Lopez in recounting her experience with a "crazy" director who asked her to remove her top during a fitting for a film.
This year’s edition of Actress Roundtable spearheaded by The Hollywood Reporter revealed some interesting details about Jennifer Lopez’s past, particularly her own experience in reference to the #MeToo movement.
Jennifer Lopez attending the 2006 Academy Awards. | Photo: Getty Images
Lopez was joined by Scarlett Johannson, Renee Zelllweger, Laura Dern, Awkwafina, and Lupita Nyong'o at the round table where they discussed their careers and working in the industry.
With powerful celebrities at the table, the topic of #MeToo became a highlight especially after Lopez admitted she was once almost exploited by a director.
"Luckily a little bit of the Bronx came out, and I was like, 'I don't have to show you my [breasts]..."
"A director at a fitting asked me to take my top off... because I was supposed to do nudity in the movie,” she recalled. “He wanted to see my boobs. And I was like, 'We're not on set.'"
Lopez proudly revealed how she stood her ground and didn’t allow the “crazy” director she didn’t name to get the better of her.
"I said no, I stood up for myself. But it was so funny because I remember being so panicked in the moment.”
Lopez further shared that there was another woman, a costume designer in the room when she turned down the director’s request.
"Luckily a little bit of the Bronx came out, and I was like, 'I don't have to show you my [breasts]. No. On the set, you see them,'" she said firmly.
Lopez reflects that by giving in to the director she would have given him the power to get away with anything next time. It’s a good thing she stood her ground. The costume designer was apologetic after.
Lopez is just fresh off the movie, “Hustlers” about a group of Manhattan strippers. Because some of the actors were required to be topless, the 50-year-old delighted in the fact that during production there was a comfort coach who managed these talents.
“It was basically somebody who understood that world and said, 'These things are OK,' and, 'These things are not OK,'" Lopez explained. The coach basically made these talents comfortable according to her.
“It was so scary, I was so terrified. I have my robe on and there's 300 extras, all men. I think that was putting myself out there, in a way, deeper than I had ever done physically and emotionally..."
It was also a source of security that the film was directed by a woman, Lorene Scafaria. Lopez once told Variety that the film would have taken a different route if it was directed by a man not for how nudity would be played but with how hustlers would be presented in the film.
“Lorene Scafaria, the director, was really great. It was a nonjudgmental lens. Whereas I think from a man, these women would have been judged, because men put women in categories."
"I’ve learned that I know who I am, I know what I do, I know I’m a good person, I know I’m just out here working my a-- off and trying to fulfill myself, creatively.”
Though Lopez isn’t new to sexy roles, she admits during her interview for Actress Roundtable that this was the first time in a while she felt “terrified” over a role. She was particularly scared of the opening scene where she had to deliver a pole dancing number. She described her terror shooting the scene.
“It was so scary, I was so terrified. I have my robe on and there's 300 extras, all men. I think that was putting myself out there, in a way, deeper than I had ever done physically and emotionally, and playing a character that was that unapologetic in so many ways. It was so different from who I was."
Lopez also spoke about her personal life and how she chooses to ignore the lies that would sometimes be painted about her.
“What I’ve learned is that none of it matters. And it really doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve learned that I know who I am, I know what I do, I know I’m a good person, I know I’m just out here working my a-- off and trying to fulfill myself, creatively.”
She recalls a time when it still mattered and she just wanted to quit. But she’s grateful for her stint in "American Idol" where she serves as a judge because people get to see her for the musician she is and how much of a girl and crier she is.
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