It would seem as if Jennifer Lopez already had enough to do, what with starring in movies, shimmying in music videos and sparking tabloid rumors. But somehow the Bronx-born star also finds time to work as a style consultant—her own. “She is very involved in her look,” says Lopez’s hairdresser Oribe. “She wants to come up with new things.” While filming this winter’s hit The Wedding Planner, Lopez gathered pictures of hairstyles she liked, says director Adam Shankman: “She kept a file, and we would sit down and choose what to do for a given scene.” Similarly, before settling on bronzed skin and false eyelashes made of red-fox fur for this year’s Academy Awards, “we experimented for weeks,” says makeup artist Scott Barnes.
Whether Lopez, 31, ends up channeling Barbarella (with ’60s-style big hair at January’s American Music Awards) or a Greek goddess (with a one-shoulder dress at the 2001 Golden Globes), the results are never short of stunning. “Every time I see her, I feel, ‘Wow,’ ” says ex-boyfriend Sean Combs, the hip-hop music producer. And the effect remains high-voltage even when the 5’6″ star plays it low-key. As Wedding‘s pratfall-prone career woman, “we had some really tight ponytails, and her clothes were extremely simple,” Shankman says. “But Jennifer’s sexiness always came through.”
It helps that Lopez’s “complexion and skin tone enhance most any dress she wears,” says fashion designer Valentino, and that she has “a contagious smile,” in the words of James Caviezel, her costar in the upcoming romantic drama Angel Eyes. But in an era of waif-thin actresses, what really helps Lopez stand out is her curvy figure—and her willingness to embrace it. “She likes her hips, her butt,” says Radu Teodorescu, a personal trainer who has worked with Lopez when she’s visiting New York City from her home base in L.A. “She thanks God that he made her the way she is.”
Lopez has reason to be grateful. The second of three daughters raised by David, 59, a computer technician, and Guadalupe, 55, a teacher, she’s now the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood history—at $10 million per film. Moreover, after Wedding‘s January opening she became the only entertainer to have the top-grossing movie and No. 1 nonsoundtrack album—her sophomore effort, J. Lo—in the same week. And in the fall she’ll turn fashion designer with her own clothing line. “She’s the hardest-working person I know,” Oribe says.
Especially when it comes to looking good. “I get fanatic when I know I have something coming up to get in shape for,” Lopez, who keeps fit by running and lifting weights, recently told Allure. She should be feeling the burn for the foreseeable future.