Jennifer Lopez led People en Español's list of "100 Most Influential Hispanics" in February 2007. She has parlayed her media fame into a fashion line and various perfumes with her celebrity endorsement. A fashion icon, several of her dresses have received considerable media attention, most notably the Jungle green Versace dress which she wore at the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2000—voted the fifth most iconic dress of all time. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Jennifer Lopez advocates for human rights and vaccinations, and is a supporter of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In 2011 she was named the most "Beautiful Person" by People magazine in its annual issue.
Jennifer Lopez was born on July 24, 1969, in the Bronx, New York, and was raised on Blackrock Avenue in the borough's Castle Hill neighborhood. She is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents Guadalupe (née Rodríguez), a kindergarten teacher, and David Lopez, a computer specialist, both born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Lopez was raised as a Roman Catholic. She has two siblings, Lynda and Leslie. Lopez spent her entire academic career in Catholic schools, finishing at the all-girls Preston High School in the Bronx. She financed singing and dancing lessons for herself from the age of nineteen. After attending Baruch College for one semester, Lopez divided her time between working as a notary public in a legal office, dance classes, and dance performances in Manhattan night clubs. She had a small part in the 1987 film My Little Girl, at the age of sixteen. After months of auditioning for dance roles, Lopez was selected as a dancer for various rap music videos, a 1990 episode of Yo! MTV Raps, and as a backup dancer for the New Kids on the Block and their performance of their song "Games" for the American Music Awards in 1991. She gained her first regular high-profile job as a "Fly Girl" dancer on the television comedy program In Living Color from 1991–1993. Soon after, Jennifer Lopez became a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and made an appearance in her 1993 video "That's the Way Love Goes".
Lopez's first television job as an actress was on the Fox series South Central. She also made guest appearances in Second Chances and Hotel Malibu. She then appeared in the made-for-television film Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7. Lopez's first serious screen role was in Gregory Nava's 1995 drama My Family, playing the character of Young Maria in the 1920s. After starring alongside Jimmy Smits and Edward James Olmos in My Family, Jennifer Lopez starred in the action film Money Train, opposite Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. In 1996, she reportedly beat out Ashley Judd and Lauren Holly for the supporting role in Francis Ford Coppola's 1996 comedy Jack starring Robin Williams. She then starred opposite Jack Nicholson in Bob Rafelson's well-received noir thriller Blood and Wine (1996).
Lopez's first big break came in 1997, when she was chosen to play the title role in Selena, a biopic of the Tejano pop singer Selena. Despite having previously worked with Nava on Mi Familia, Lopez was subjected to an intense auditioning process before landing the role. She earned widespread praise for her performance, including a Golden Globe Award nomination for "Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy". Later that year, Lopez appeared in two major films. She starred in the horror film Anaconda alongside Ice Cube and Jon Voight, playing the role of Terri Flores, a director who is shooting a documentary while traveling through the Amazon River. Despite being a modest box office hit, the film was critically panned. Jennifer Lopez then starred as the leading actress in the neo-noir film U Turn, which is based on the book Stray Dogs, starring alongside Sean Penn and Billy Bob Thornton.
In 1998, she had one of her most acclaimed roles, starring opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel. Cast as a deputy federal marshal who falls for a charming criminal, Lopez won rave reviews for her performance and in the process she became the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a role. That same year, she provided the voice for Azteca on the computer-animated film Antz. Lopez then starred opposite Vincent D'Onofrio, in the psychological thriller film The Cell (2000). She portrayed Catherine Deane, a child psychologist who uses virtual reality to enter into the minds of her patients to coax them out of their comas. The film was released in August 2000 and became a box office success opening at number one. The following year, Lopez took a break from acting in films, in order to work on her music career.
In 2001, Lopez starred alongside Matthew McConaughey in the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner. The film debuted at number one, making her the first actress and singer in history to have a film and an album, J.Lo, at number one in the same week. Her next roles were in the supernatural romance Angel Eyes (2001), and in the psychological revenge thriller Enough (2002). Both failed to find an audience, and were met with a negative response from critics. She appeared alongside Ralph Fiennes in the romantic comedy film Maid in Manhattan (2002). Her character, Marisa Ventura, is a struggling single mother who lives in the Bronx and makes her living cleaning rooms in a super-luxurious Manhattan hotel, and gets mistaken for a socialite by a princely politician. Maid in Manhattan was a box office hit, opening at number one. The New York Times compared the film's storyline to her 2002 song, "Jenny from the Block", commenting, "In her new single, Jenny From the Block, Jennifer Lopez declares that despite her enormous wealth and global fame, she has not lost touch with her roots."
Some of her other critically acclaimed films include An Unfinished Life and Shall We Dance?. Two independent films produced by Lopez were well-received at film festivals: El Cantante at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Bordertown at the Brussels film festival. Her modestly successful film career includes Monster-in-Law (2005). Gigli, however, would become a notorious box office bomb.
In 2006, Jennifer was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award along with Lauren Shuler Donner and Diane Warren.
Jennifer Lopez is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood and the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood history, though she's never had a film grossing over $100 million in the USA. She was on The Hollywood Reporter's list of the top ten actress salaries in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Lopez received $15 million for her role in Monster-in-Law. Her top-grossing film domestically is Maid in Manhattan which grossed $94,011,225, and her most successful international film, Shall We Dance?, grossed $112,238,000, at the international box office. Domestically, Shall We Dance? grossed $57,890,460 and a total of $170,128,460 worldwide. In 2007, Lopez made the Forbes magazine's list of "The 20 Richest Women In Entertainment," ranking ninth. Her wealth was estimated to be $110 million in 2007.
On January 27, 2010, it was announced that Jennifer Lopez would guest-star on an episode of How I Met Your Mother as Anita Appleby, a no-nonsense author of self-help books that teach women how to mold men into "relationship machines" through the power of denial. After Robin informs Anita of Barney's womanizing ways, Anita sets out to "break" him.