My iPhone rings on the way to work. The number’s American. My heart skips a beat.
“Hi,” an accented female says. “This rarely ever happens, but Jennifer Lopez is back from an event and running 15 minutes early. I think it’s 15 minutes. What’s the time there”
We still have a good 45 minutes by my clock. I madly scribble last-minute questions. The subconscious part of my brain doesn’t help things as JLo’s tunes that I listened to in high school – Love Don’t Cost a Thing and I’m Real – come flooding in.
Thirteen years on from those songs, JLo’s just released her 10th album A.K.A. and I’m interviewing her about it. I’m nervous.
“Hello Hello Hello!” It sounds like the caller’s standing under a waterfall. Then it’s quiet. The phone buzzes again. “Oh hello, that sounds better. I have Jennifer Lopez here on speaker phone. You have 15 minutes. Will you keep time”
Ah, sure. Smooth, rounded vowels and a warm, somehow familiar New York-Latino accent pipes up – “Hello” and, with the clock ticking, we are straight into it.
The cover image of A.K.A. has Lopez’s breasts strapped into nothing but a red gun holster. At 44, is she feeling the pressure to maintain a certain level of “hotness”
“Heh, hehehe,” she laughs softly. “I don’t feel pressure. “This is an expression of who I am and what I wanna do. As an artist you really want to be who you are and not put myself in a box,” she says.
“Of course there’s pressure and it’s not the most fun to be in the public eye.”
She’s still tucking her trademark booty into bodysuits and twerking and gyrating against male backup dancers on stage. But Lopez’s personal life is spent being mum to her six-year-old twins with singer Marc Anthony, Max and Emme.
She says she doesn’t feel the need to hide her raunchy side from them. “No, I don’t feel the need to protect them from my career, but from the media I do. I’m not one to really parade them in the media.”
But she doesn’t exactly hide them from the spotlight either. Emme sat in on a recent Lopez interview with USA Today, shyly showing off her natural singing voice and relishing being in the makeup chair.
“They’re becoming very aware now,” Lopez told the paper. “Just this past week, one of them said to me, ‘You’re famous.’