When Jennifer Lopez set out to be an actress, she wanted to make sure she represented more of her culture in big movies.
Lopez, who has earned raved reviews for her performance in Hustlers, is part of The Hollywood Reporter‘s latest actress roundtable alongside Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong’o, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson and Renée Zellweger.
With such a diverse panel, the women were asked if Hollywood has become more inclusive over their years in the industry.
“When I first started, one of the things that I wanted to do, because I was Puerto Rican, Latina, was that I wanted to be in romantic comedies because I felt like all the women in romantic comedies always looked the same way, they were always white,” Lopez, 50, explained of her own fight to make change happen.
“And I was like, if I can do it and just show that I’m every girl — because I am the hopeless romantic, I am that — I am the single working woman, I was those things. And I remember thinking, I need to be the lead in a romantic comedy. And that’s one of the things I went for and that’s one of the things me and my agents talked about,” she continued.
“That’s the thing — when the race of the person in the romantic comedy is not the point,” Nyong’o agreed with Lopez. “There are moments when the cultural group or the religious group or the national group is the subject matter, and there are moments when it’s not, and both are radical, you know?”
Lopez went on to star in iconic romantic comedies like Maid in Manhattan (2002), Jersey Girl (2004) and The Wedding Planner (2001), while Nyong’o starred in Jordan Peele’s latest horror hit Us, featuring a black family in a genre that has largely centered around white characters.