Jennifer Lopez Gets Vulnerable in Her New Netflix Documentary 'Halftime'

"There were many times where I was just like, 'I think I'm just gonna quit.'"

'Halftime' Review Even Jennifer Lopez Has Insecurities
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Jennifer Lopez is easily one of the most successful women on the face of the planet. For starters, the multi-millionaire has starred in nearly 40 movies and sold 80 million records. She's an electric performer with elite dancing chops. And the woman does not age — so much so that she bottled up her skincare and created JLo Beauty.

But even the multi-hyphenate superstar can be insecure. And she actually has been for a long time; she just got good at hiding it. In her new Netflix documentary Halftime, which opened the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, J.Lo gets vulnerable like you've never seen her before, opening up about insecurities and how she has always coped with being the underdog.

"No matter what I achieved, their appetite to cover my personal life overshadowed everything that was happening in my career," she said in the documentary-style film, available to streaming starting today. "I just really had a very low self-esteem. I really believed a lot of what they said, which was I wasn't any good, that I wasn't a good singer, I wasn't a good actress, I wasn't a good dancer, I wasn't good at anything. I just didn't belong here. Why wouldn't I just go away?"

She added, "There were many times where I was just like, 'I think I'm just gonna quit.' I had to really figure out who I was and believe in that and not believe anything else."

In the two decades that she's been starring in blockbuster films, the actress has received little recognition in the award-show circuit. And in the documentary, she got real for the first time about never really receiving any accolades for her work. And she addressed the elephant in the room: Her 2020 Oscar snub of her critically acclaimed performance in Hustlers.

"The truth is, I really started to think I was gonna get nominated. I got my hopes up because so many people were telling me I would be," she said. "And then it didn't happen, and I had to ask myself, 'What does that mean?'"

But the performer says that she's not in it for the honors and awards. "I do this not for an award or to do my hits up there and seem like I'm the best performer in the world. No, I do this to tell stories and to affect change and to connect with people and make them feel things, because I want to feel something. That's why I do it. Because I actually want to make the world a better place in my own little way."

More important than any award, Jennifer has never forgotten where she comes from. (She's still Jenny from the block, after all.) And part of staying true to her roots includes ensuring that there is Latinx representation in everything she's involved in. She was passionate about making sure her culture and community were represented during her Super Bowl performance, which was chock full of symbolism and statements.

She chose to use the massive stage to make a statement about the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainment crisis in 2019 — even though the NFL told her not to. Light-up "cages" held young performers as a metaphor of the cages that children were being held hostage in at the border. When the higher ups at the NFL demanded she take out feature, J.Lo was persistent.

"For me this isn't about politics. This is about human rights," she said. "I'm facing the biggest crossroads of my life, you know being able to perform on the world's biggest stage. But to take out the cages and to sacrifice what I believe in would be like never being there at all."

During a final rehearsal with her dancers and crew, Lopez delivered a tearful speech in Spanish, saying, "Being Latino in this country has always been a matter of pride for me. My family means a lot to me, and representing Latinos to the world, I know that's something I do. Something that God has blessed me to do. There are many Latinos in this country, and they are not being treated well. And that's why this show is so important."

The premiere for her documentary was even held at a location close to her neighborhood where she grew up. The United Palace in Washington Heights, another predominately Latinx community, served as the backdrop for this momentous occasion. Robert De Niro, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder, told us that the location was a powerful choice.

"I thought it was a great idea," the iconic actor told InStyle on the red carpet. "The movie here opening up the festival in this neighborhood was perfect."

Lopez says that she's just getting started. There's lots more to come from the mega star, evident from the documentary's polysemous title. At 52, she's merely at the halftime of her life, with a whole second half still to play.

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