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Jennifer Lopez Opens Up About How It Felt For People To Constantly Be Focusing On Her Butt (Especially After She Wore The Green Grammys Dress)

jlo green versace dress
(Image credit: Photo by Sam Levi/WireImage)

There isn’t much that Jennifer Lopez can’t do. After starting out as a relatively unknown Fly Girl dancer on Living Color in the 1990s, she eventually climbed the proverbial ladder to become a Grammy Award winning singer and acclaimed actress with unquestionable range. During her initial meteoric rise to fame, though, the media nearly always put a huge focus on her body – namely, her butt – a point which gets discussed in her recently released documentary, Halftime. In it, JLo opens up about how she felt about that kind of scrutiny, especially after she wore that iconic green dress to the Grammys in 2000.

Netflix (opens in new tab)’s Halftime establishes how the star was largely treated as the butt of jokes (pun intended) in interviews, late night television and the tabloids in her come up. Found footage from the time period shows everyone from David Letterman (“her ass is in 3D”) to South Park (“slut with the large ass”) cracking wise about her figure, along with how Billy Bush once bluntly asked her in a press interview, “How do you feel about your butt?” It’s perhaps unthinkable nowadays to ask such a question in all seriousness, but Jennifer Lopez shared in the doc that she was acutely aware of how she differed from other female stars of the era, saying,

When I started working, the beauty ideal was very thin, blond, tall, not a lot of curves. I grew up around women with curves. So it was nothing ever I was ashamed of.

She wasn’t ashamed of her body but that didn’t stop spectators from commenting on it in a way she didn’t appreciate. And when she wore the navel-dropping, backless Versace gown as a Grammy presenter more than two decades ago (as seen above, next to then-boyfriend Sean "Diddy" Combs) it prompted even more jokes at her expense. Halftime flashes back to when men like NBC News’ Matt Lauer would even cosplay as JLo in “the dress” on national TV. Nevertheless, the now-52-year-old reflected that the joke is really on them,

It was hard when you think people think you’re a joke, like you’re a punchline. But I wound up affecting things in a way that I never intended to affect them.

The Hustlers actress is referring to where exactly the green dress (and, by proxy, herself) now sit in not just pop culture but the history books. The Netflix doc reminds us how millions of Internet searches of JLo at the Grammys that tell-tale year had in fact “created Google Images” as we know it today. Which is true, Google president Eric Schmidt confirmed as much in 2015. Furthermore, the dress continues to make headlines in present times, even appearing to much fanfare on a recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race with the Jennifer Lopez herself.

jlo green versace dress

(Image credit: Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Still, JLo was candid in the streamer about how the intense tabloid mania around her and her personal life “overshadowed” anything in her career in the past. Lopez added that at one point she had “very low self-esteem” and believed the public perception that she “wasn’t good at anything” and “didn’t belong” in the industry at all. Obviously, she persevered, but the interest in her non-work interests continues to make headlines, including her renewed engagement to Ben Affleck of late. The Batman star was even featured in Halftime, where he reflected on the unfair flak Lopez often received back in their 2000s “Bennifer” heyday:

I said to her once, 'Doesn't this bother you?' and she said, 'I'm Latina. I'm a woman. I expected this. You just don't expect it. You expect to be treated fairly.’

After a bad breakup and nearly 20 years apart, the couple’s upcoming wedding should be proof positive enough that they don’t much care about what the tabloids say anymore. JLo has in fact said that she feels more fulfilled now in their relationship than even in her career. But for good measure, Jennifer Lopez also makes it clear in Halftime that she’s claiming her icon status for all the naysayers out there. (Just like she did during her acceptance speech at the 2022 MTV Movie and TV Awards.)

And in the vein of Beyonce’s Homecoming or Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana, the Halftime documentary continues the growing tradition of female pop stars telling their story in a way that feels more authentic to them. Stream them all now on the platform, and check out the other Netflix movie premieres happening in 2022.

Lauren Vanderveen
Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.