The 50-year-old entertainer opens up about how much Ramona -- the fierce and dynamic stripper turned entrepreneur -- means to her and what she wants to teach her 11-year-old daughter, Emme, after portraying her.
"Ramona was independent," J.Lo explains in a new interview with The New York Times published on Monday. "It wasn't about men. It wasn’t about: 'I need these guys to like me. I need them to be attracted to me. My goal is to get all of your money.' And her having a daughter, being a mama bear -- those things made it fun to play, because I could be a maternal Mother Earth, caring and loving, and then be like, I'll stab you."
"I love that you never see Ramona with a man," she continues. "Except when she’s in the club or working. When you do certain roles, you realize something about yourself. I’ve always been so much a romantic, so much about having a relationship, and this woman is the total opposite. And to play that, to live in those shoes, to walk in those very high heels, in that skin, made me realize I’m out here on my own. That’s what I need to teach my daughter, that aspect of it, that you can do it on your own. Women are not taught that all the time."
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Jennifer Lopez Teaches Constance Wu How to Pole Dance in 'Hustlers' Sneak Peek
While it may have taken time and a lot of hard work to get to where she's at, Lopez has always done it on her own and it has paid off! The Hustlers role has, so far, brought her a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Critics Choice Awards, won the Best Supporting Actress title from the LA Film Critics Association and earned her second Golden Globe nomination.
As for portraying badass Ramona, Lopez compares herself to Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. "I get to be Joe Pesci," she tells the NYT (and Wu gets to be Ray Liotta). "That didn’t exist for women."
"Every character I do, I feel like the physical parts of her are the most important," Lopez shares. "Maybe that’s the dancer in me. The gait, the shoulders, the chin, how that person is, where her confidence lives, her sexuality -- it’s all physical. With Ramona, the pole dance is part of the essence of who she is. She’s an actress and a performer, so the physical part of that made me know who she was and how she could be."
When she went to a club to do research for the film, Lopez recalls how the floor was covered with money around one of the women on stage and how she felt. "It wasn’t that she was the most beautiful or had the most bodacious or perfect body -- it was what she did up there. It was how she made people feel," the entertainer explains. "And that was Ramona’s gift. She made everybody feel exciting, special — like something amazing can happen.”
For more on Lopez's role as Ramona, watch the video below.