By Sarayu Pai
Jennifer Lopez — yup, as in “JLo” — was on campus on Jan. 11. One of the doyennes of singer-actresses in modern-day Hollywood, Lopez is famous for her role in movies like “Selena” and “Maid in Manhattan” and such hit songs as “On the Floor” that had us all going wild at middle school dances. During the first week of classes, Lopez graced us with her presence in none other than Memorial Auditorium. She was elegantly dressed in a jade-green sweater and bright white pants, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her makeup appeared to be artfully applied, as we could see the glimmer of highlighter on her cheekbones from about 20 rows back.
The star-studded event, organized by the Stanford Speakers Bureau, took place in the form of a panel in which Lopez’s most recent movie, “Second Act,” was discussed. JLo sat in on the panel accompanied by her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez (who also has a catchy sobriquet, “A-Rod”), a former Major League Baseball player, as well as “Second Act” producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Full Picture CEO Desiree Gruber. The movie depicts the life of a middle-aged woman, portrayed by JLo, who is more street-smart than book-smart, as she ventures on the journey of pursuing her second chance at a career.
Screenings of the movie were held on Jan. 9, and attendees of the screenings were guaranteed priority seating at the Jan. 11 event. Unsurprisingly, many students took up the Stanford Speakers Bureau’s offer and attended the movie, receiving special vouchers promising seats for them and a plus-one. I had an interview during the screening times, so I sort of finessed my way in as a plus-one with my friend. We arrived early, but to no avail; there were two queues (one for voucher-holders and another for non-voucher-holders) snaking around either side of Memorial Auditorium. Throngs of people — us included — began to join the lines and wait; the attendees ranged from JLo fanatics to people just interested in being in the same room as an international pop star.
Upon entry, we did have to wait a bit longer for the event to start. People filed in and the auditorium was brimming with tangible excitement. Phones were whipped out and Snap Stories were updated. At last, the panelists entered to loud cheers and applause, and the interviewing began. JLo answered questions about her character, while A-Rod expressed his feelings of wonderment for his girlfriend’s accomplishments, and Goldsmith-Thomas and Gruber discussed their relationship with JLo.
The panel as a bit tense at times, since Lopez definitely did not speak as much as was expected, despite playing the protagonist of the movie. The interviewer interrupted the panelists a couple times, perhaps due to a shortage of time and the desire to move on to the next question. As much of the audience probably remembers, there were a couple of tasteless comments made as well.
Isabel Gallegos ’22 secured a seat in the general line and says, “It was so inspiring to hear from such strong, driven and accomplished women. And now I can say I saw JLo in person!” Andrea Collins ’22 attended the event with a voucher, but she believes that, “as someone who is not a huge JLo fan… the event was overhyped. While Jennifer Lopez gave some quality advice about rising to the top from nothing, much of the event was off-topic and just weird.”
The most imperative fact is that we, as members of the Stanford community, get access to programs that feature professionals eminent in their fields, as well as possible encounters with celebrities. A couple of months ago, Phil Knight, a founder of Nike, stopped by to speak in a THINK class. In 2017, actress Reese Witherspoon (famous for her role as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde”) stopped by her old dorm room.
The night unquestionably didn’t reach my expectations in terms of quality, but it was still cool way to conclude the first week of winter quarter.
Contact Sarayu Pai at smpai918 ‘at’ stanford.edu.