Jennifer Lopez Says Learning to Pole Dance for ‘Hustlers’ Movie Was ‘One of the Most Challenging Things’ She’s ‘Ever Done’

Jennifer Lopez, who has conquered music, acting, and dancing counts learning to pole dance for her role as a stripper in the upcoming film, Hustlers, as one of the hardest things she’s ever done in her life. Continue reading to learn how Lopez, 50, prepped for the demanding role and why it proved to be so challenging for her. 

What is ‘Hustlers’ about and when does it premiere? 

Hustlers will hit theaters on Sept. 13, 2019. It’s based on a 2015 New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler about the lives of strippers in Manhattan, New York, who scammed wealthy clients by seducing and drugging them as a result of tough financial times in the wake of the 2008 recession. 

Not only did Lopez star in the film as Ramona, the ring leader of the group, but she also worked as an executive producer — seriously, there’s nothing she can’t do — and acted alongside Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, among others. 

Lopez on pole dancing: It ‘was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done’

As someone who is in great physical shape (Lopez seems to age backward) who conquers everything she does, it’s surprising to learn pole dancing proved to be difficult for Lopez. 

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lopez talked about entering uncharted territory in her career. She said she went to “stripper boot camp” where her decades of experience as a dancer didn’t help her because she “was using a completely new group of muscles.”

“It was tough,” Lopez said, adding, “My shoulder and back are still recovering.” 

Jennifer Lopez in 'Hustlers'
Jennifer Lopez in ‘Hustlers.’ | James Devaney/GC Images

Lopez trained with the help of a coach, Johanna Sapakie, and said developing the skill was extremely hard. 

“I have danced all my life and I work out every single day,” Lopez said. “And I can say without hesitation that learning to pole dance was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.”

Dedicated to her training, Lopez traveled with portable stripper poles so she could train on the road. 

Lopez did her research

Lopez, who is engaged to Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez, observed strippers while they worked to make her role more authentic by visiting strip clubs in New York City and watching exotic dances along with other cast members.

“I not only watched the ladies do their routines, I talked to them about what it was like to have a career as a dancer,” Lopez said. “I think it would surprise people that most of these women are students, or young moms just trying to get by in a world that doesn’t offer those on the fringe many chances,” she added.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez. | ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

She added that the film addresses the stigma surrounding the profession. “Women are constantly sexualized, but when they find a way to profit from it, suddenly it’s a problem,” Lopez said. “Strippers are painted as throwaways or background characters. Hustlers digs into stories of their lives; the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Lopez recently wrapped up her It’s My Party tour and is busy working on a fixer-upper she and A-Rod bought with the help of the interior designer, Joanna Gaines, who made a name for herself starring on HGTV’s Fixer Upper with her husband, Chip Gaines.