Jennifer Lopez‘s career trajectory could have looked very different had she taken another path.
The Hustlers actress, 50, graces one of the covers of W. Magazine’s “Best Performances 2020” issue in which reveals she once considered trying out stripping early on in her career.
“There was a moment in my life when my friends, who were also dancers, told me about making thousands of dollars at clubs in New Jersey,” Lopez said.
She continued, “They said, ‘You won’t need to be topless.’ It sounded awfully good when I was broke and eating pizza every day, but I never did it.”
Instead, her career took a different turn. Now a two-time Golden Globe nominee — for 1998’s Selena and last year’s Hustlers — Lopez’s star has risen and she’s cemented herself as one of Hollywood’s power players.
In Hustlers, Lopez plays Ramona, a tough dancer-turned-stripper who finds herself creating a scheme to earn big money all the while stealing thousands of dollars from her Wall Street clients.
“I was a little nervous about doing this movie because I had never played someone this dark or complicated,” Lopez tells W. “I liked that Ramona, the character I play, and the other strippers were looked at as equals to their patrons, the guys on Wall Street.”
She adds, “Ramona reminded me of that girlfriend we all have who is exciting but can also get you into trouble. You always miss that friend when she’s gone, but when you get together, you worry you might find yourself in some crazy situation. That’s Ramona.”
The singer and actress was named one of PEOPLE’s People of the Year after whirlwind 2019 that saw her experience some of her career’s biggest highs from her “It’s My Party” tour to Oscar buzz for her performance as a stripper in Hustlers.
“It just shows you that dreams come true,” Lopez told PEOPLE in December. “But you have to work at it and not give up. The key is the not giving up part. For me, it’s not a choice. You can’t stop.”
“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,” says Lopez, who calls being mom to her 11-year-old twins, Emme and Max, her “number 1 job.”
“When you find you, really find you, that’s when everything starts falling into place.”
The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony will air live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5 starting at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.