Jennifer Lopez Says She Took This Powerful Life Lesson Away From Her ‘Hustlers’ Character

Jennifer Lopez has received critical acclaim for many of the roles she’s taken on over the years, but playing Ramona in the 2019 film Hustlers definitely put her over the top.

Fans, critics, even celebrities loved Lopez’s embodiment of the strip club employee and applauded her for not only taking on a challenging project but also shining a light on female bosses who hardly ever get recognized.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez | Roy Rochlin/WireImage

While this role was a hard task to tackle, the actress did it with ease and even learned some valuable life lessons along the way that she continues to embrace to this day.

Lopez learned a lot more than just pole dancing

Jennifer Lopez has starred in many films over the course of her career, but she considers her role in Hustlers to be her most challenging/ rewarding acting gig to date.

In the film, Lopez plays Ramona, a veteran strip club worker who, along with her fellow employees, embezzles money from her Wall Street clients.

Not only did the actress embody the essence of the savvy striper, she also owned every second of her screentime, which in turn landed her on the critics’ shortlist for this upcoming award season.

While many people can agree that Lopez did an amazing job starring in this film, she recently revealed that playing Ramona wasn’t easy in the slightest.

“Training for pole dancing was painful and really, really difficult,” Lopez told PEOPLE.

“I’ve learned a lot of different things for movies, (from) martial arts to shooting, but this was something totally different,” she continued. “I was bruised everywhere, chafed, burned – people don’t realize you can’t have body makeup or tights on because you have to slide and it has to be skin to pole.”

While this film allowed Lopez to step out of her comfort zone and gave her the chance to try out some new skills, the actress revealed that she learn a lot more than just pole dancing during her time on set.

“I also learned from playing that character — she was so independent, there was no man in her life and she was always telling Destiny [played by Constance Wu], ‘We don’t need anybody, we can do this on our own!'” she said.

“It’s that theme of being limitless, this whole idea that you can do it on your own,” the star continued. “There was a toughness to her that reminded me to be that way in my own life.”

She credits the movie for making her feel “empowered”

While Lopez has always made it seem as though she goes into everything with confidence, it turns out that wasn’t really the case when she first took on the role of Ramona.

“You had to see she was the star of the club. I just had to be a big girl about it,” she told The Sun on Sunday’s Biz column via Harper Bazaar. “The first time in the full costume – calling it that is a stretch – was very nerve-racking.”

Though she was completely out of her comfort zone acting as the veteran stripper, Lopez didn’t let those hesitations stop her from doing her job.

“It’s the first time I really got the vulnerability, the feeling of being exposed,” she explained. “But I pulled my G-string up and did what I had to do as an actress. This is my job, what I signed up for.”

After putting her fears of being exposed to the side, Lopez found that playing the confident and fearless Ramona actually had its own lasting effects on her.

“I’ve come to a place where I feel the most comfortable and most powerful I’ve ever felt,” she told People. “I feel more confident and at peace with who I am and more aware of what I bring to the table, but that was a huge journey.”