Grazia joins actress, entrepreneur, entertainer and philanthropist Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas on set of her new campaign for GUESS jeans to talk star quality, social media and her greatest fashion hits

Booking a GUESS campaign can turn a model into a supermodel, and a supermodel into a star. Just ask Claudia Schiffer or Alessandra Ambrosio. In fact, ask Gigi Hadid – who shot her first campaign for the brand at the age of two – or more recently, Hailey Baldwin. However, breaking with protocol – just as she’s smashed down many other boundaries before – here comes Jennifer Lopez, who’s already a bona fide brand in her own right, built in a time where you didn’t have to be on Instagram to be famous. Imagine. “I definitely have fun with it, but I grew up in a time when it didn’t exist, so it isn’t everything to me [in the way] that it is to some people,” Jennifer tells Grazia about her relationship with social media. “That can be a con so it’s important to remember the value and fun in it, but not let it consume you.”

At the age when Gigi and Hailey were curating content for their feeds, Jennifer was rocking her signature ‘black turtleneck and big hoops’ combo and carving out a career for herself in as dancer in the Fly Girls crew on ’90s comedy sketch show In Living Colour. “I had a lot of great moments on the show,” she recalls, “but I would say my debut in 1991 was a game-changing moment for me because I knew it was the start of something special.” With hindsight, and over a quarter of a century in the business under her belt, “the start of something special” turned out to be something of an understatement. In between giving the world some of the most memorable denim looks of the decade – who could forget the jeans with J.Lo emblazoned provocatively on the back pocket in Swarovski crystals, or the succession of halter-neck jumpsuits? – she found time to earn a Golden Globe nomination for her first leading part in the 1993 biopic Selena, while becoming the first Latina actress to be paid over US$1 million for a role.

Meanwhile, on the red carpet, citing bold, iconic women including Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, and Barbra Streisand among her style icons, it’s little wonder that every single look she serves is “sexy, feminine, and strong.” Searching to define that intangible secret of why the world finds her so compelling, she admits, “For me, feeling sexy is about feeling confident in what I’m wearing – whether it’s on the red carpet or in my everyday wardrobe. Your clothes can bring out your personality and exude your happiness or your confidence.” Although her appearance at the 2000 Grammy Awards in that slashed-to-the-navel Versace jungle dress – accessorised with P. Diddy – remains burned into our collective fashion psyche for all eternity, it’s the exquisitely embroidered blush Elie Saab Haute Couture gown embellished with pearls, stones, and sequins that she wore to the Oscars in 2015 that she counts as her best red-carpet moment: “It made me feel like a princess,” she recalls.

For me, feeling sexy is about feeling confident

When it comes to her off-duty wardrobe, she observes, “I would call my personal style glamorous and classic yet edgy. I’m a singer, dancer, entertainer on one side and then an actress on the other, so for me it’s about mixing those styles. Fashion is something that you can never really put your finger on. There are always trends, but for me personally, my style is always evolving and always changing. But what’s classic is classic, and that never changes – that always stays the same.”

Perhaps this innate sense of security in her own style was one of the reasons that made GUESS Jeans eschew its star-on-the-rise campaign-girl M.O. and opt for an out-and-out icon for Spring 2018. Shot by female fashion photographer Tatiana Gerusova, set against the glamorous backdrop of her Vegas residency, the campaign calls upon her showgirl persona, in dramatic, cold-shoulder floorsweepers, retro lace LWDs and of course, denim looks she can make her own – her favourite being the jumpsuit – what else? “I remember wearing GUESS denim for the first time and thinking they were the classic and perfect-fitting pair of jeans.” On bringing the collection to life for the campaign, she reveals, “Clothes can be a reflection of your personality, so personal style should vary for everyone. For me personally, clothes bring out a specific type of energy in any situation, from a red carpet to performing on stage. It’s about trying new things and experimenting with what looks match the way you’re feeling or the characteristics that embody who you are.”

Her Love Don’t Cost A Thing, profits from J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez, the lifestyle brand she founded in 2001 – which includes an accessible fashion collection for American department store Kohl’s and a beauty and fragrance deal with Coty – as well as last year’s collaboration with shoe supremo Giuseppe Zanotti, and no doubt her partnership with GUESS Jeans, have boosted her worth to US$38 million at the last count. And she’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. “This year, I’m continuing my Vegas residency, All I Have, in addition to shooting season two of World of Dance,” she discloses of the reality TV show she judges and executive produces. And without even pausing for breath, she continues, “I’ve also finished work on season three of Shades of Blue and my film Second Act, both of which I’m excited to share with everyone. I’m also always working on new music – currently both a Spanish-language album and an English-language album.”

With her trailblazing track record, what’s her advice for the likes of Gigi, Hailey and the next generation of multitasking millennials for attaining the longevity she’s achieved? “Working with passionate, creative people who push me to think outside the box and make me want to challenge myself to try new things always inspires me,” she muses. “And always listen to yourself and listen to your gut, because only you know what’s right for you.”

The GUESS Jeans Spring 2018 collection is available now in the Middle East

Photos: Supplied