What Would Jennifer Lopez be Doing If She Wasn’t Famous?

It’s hard to remember a time without Jennifer Lopez. She’s been a mainstay in the pop culture world for more than two decades, and her career shows no signs of slowing down.

Jennifer Lopez at a press conference
Jennifer Lopez at a press conference | Photo by V E Anderson/WireImage

Though we’re used to seeing her everywhere, sometimes we can’t help but ask: What she would be doing if she never became famous?

Jennifer Lopez might not know herself

The “On the Floor” artist said in a 1994 interview that she did not have a backup plan if she didn’t make it as a star.

“I didn’t have anything to fall back on because I don’t plan to fall,” she told Extra. “I think that’s just the attitude that you have to have. 200% or nothing.”

But we bet she’d be a dancer. Lopez has long said that dance is her first love, and it’s what she used to do before she started in showbiz.

“I started when I was very young,” she said in a 2004 interview with Latino Review (via Movie Web). “I did ballet, jazz and flamenco from when I was five years old. And my professional career started with dancing in musicals.”

Those days weren’t easy, though. Lopez faced opposition from her parents, who wanted her to go to college. Eventually, she moved out and started sleeping in the building where she took dance classes.

‘My mom and I butted heads,’ Lopez told W magazine in 2013. ‘I didn’t want to go to college — I wanted to try dance full-time. So she and I had a break. I started sleeping on the sofa in the dance studio. I was homeless, but I told her, ‘This is what I have to do.’”

Jennifer Lopez’s claim to fame

It wasn’t too long after Lopez moved out until she booked her first gig.

“A few months later, I landed a job dancing in Europe,” she added to W. “When I got back, I booked In Living Color. I became a Fly Girl and moved to L.A. It all happened in a year.”

In Living Color is a FOX sketch series that ran from 1990 to 1994. It helped boost the careers of not only Lopez, but also Jim Carrey, and the Wayans family.

Lopez left the show in 1993 to pursue acting. Her breakout role was in 1995’s Money Train, in which she starred alongside Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. But it was 1997’s Selena that propelled her to stardom. Lopez played the late singer Selena Quintanilla, who was murdered in 1995. She received widespread praise for her performance, even earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.

The gigs only snowballed from there. Lopez went on to star in films like Anaconda (1997), The Wedding Planner (2001), and Enough (2002). Meanwhile, her music career had also taken off.

In 1999, Lopez released her debut album, On the 6, which featured the ever-popular hits, “If You Had My Love” and “Waiting for Tonight.” To date, she’s released a total of eight (hugely successful) albums.

Clearly, not having a backup plan worked for her.