Jennifer Lopez had to fight for the salary that helped her break barriers for Latinas in Hollywood.
The actress, 51, appears in Variety's latest Power of Women issue alongside former agent and current producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas — the same woman who helped her negotiate the $9 million salary for 2001's The Wedding Planner, that was a then-record for Latina actresses.
In the conversation between the two women, Lopez and Goldsmith-Thomas recall how the studio executives pushed back on giving Lopez the payday she requested for the popular romantic comedy. The role came as Lopez was trying to break out of always being called in for "the maid, the dishwasher" parts in movies.
"I was like, 'I don’t want to do that.; I had to kind of break out of that, and convince somebody to put me in the first romantic comedy, which was The Wedding Planner," Lopez said.
But when Lopez asked for a higher salary than any Latina actress had ever been given before, she and Goldsmith-Thomas faced unwilling executives.
"I remember [director] Adam Shankman put me in that movie. You were my agent, and you were asking for a certain price that you thought I merited, and they were buckling back," she said to Goldsmith-Thomas. "Then [Shankman] came to one of my record signings, and he said, 'Give her whatever she wants.' The line was around the block."
Lopez said the record-breaking salary proved the worth of other Latina actresses in Hollywood.
"It was just the idea that somebody like me, from my background, who was a woman, could garner that type of price in this industry, and it was a big deal," she said. "I don’t know if people know this, that you were Julia Roberts’ agent, and you got her the $20 million salary, which broke the glass ceiling for women in the industry to make as much as men did. And for me, because I am the [first] Latin woman who has made the most on a movie, you pushed just as hard."
"You know what I found in representing you and in partnering with you? I think that when you do more than one thing in this world, people marginalize you — especially if you’re a woman and especially if you’re a woman of color. And it infuriates me," Goldsmith-Thomas explained.
Lopez starred in the hit movie with Matthew McConaughey. It went on to gross over $94.7 million worldwide and quickly made Lopez a go-to star in the rom-com world.