The Personality of Jennifer Lopez
Published 26 Dec 2016
This essay about Jennifer Lopez, she was born in a middle-class neighborhood in Bronx, New York (“Jennifer Lopez”). From the age of five, she was provided by her parents with singing and dancing lessons. As a matter of fact, the young girl embarked on her first dance tour when she was seven years old. Her professional career began during her teens when she assumed roles in various musicals, and also made an appearance in My Little Girl (1986), which happened to be her first film. After Jennifer had graduated from high school, she went on to study law. Soon after, she gave up her law studies in favor of dance studies. She got a job as a dancer in In Living Color, a television series, in the year 1990 (NNDB).
The fact that Jennifer began to learn singing and dancing at the age of five, never to give them up, reveals the truth of the psychoanalytical theory of personality, first developed by the father of psychology, Sigmund Freud, who claimed that the childhood of a person is an extremely important period in his or her life. Alfred Adler, an early associate of Freud, agreed with him that childhood is quite important to a person’s development. Jennifer has been deeply influenced by her childhood experience of singing and dancing. The humanistic theory of personality claims that people have the free will to choose their behavior.
Thus, Jennifer left law school to follow her dreams. What is more, she moved in the direction of her childhood aspirations, a time that most persons associate with satisfaction, happiness, as well as growth. Abraham Maslow had said that those who are “fulfilling themselves and doing the best that they are capable of doing” are always moving in the direction of satisfaction, happiness, as well as growth. These people often have “peak experiences,” that is, times when they actually do the best they can (Personality Psychology). In the case of Jennifer, it is obvious that she experiences the “peak” more often than most persons. Furthermore, she moves in the direction of satisfaction, happiness and growth by following her childhood dream, which has been crucial in her development.
It was easy to understand how Jennifer moved to dance studies by leaving her law studies. All changes require adjustment, and adjustments are sometimes difficult to make, which is why various personality theorists doubt whether personalities can be altered. George Kelly, the American psychologist who developed a personality theory called the personal construct psychology, explains change rather well. The psychologist did not talk about development from birth to adulthood. Rather, his theory sees human beings as forms of motion regardless of age. According to Kelly’s view, the human ‘becoming’ is a highly inpidualized process of psychological development. In this process, each child and adult continuously extends, revises, and reorganizes the system of meaning, emotion, and action schemes that he or she constructs.
With an emphasis on the inpidual ways in which humans construct and reconstruct the meaning of their lives, Kelly presents his theory with an image of persons as developing scientists. These scientists have their own distinctive theories of self and the world that enable them to understand and anticipate the repetitive themes of their lives. And, as mentioned before, these theories of self and the world are constantly undergoing change through construction, testing, revising, and expanding (Neimeyer). Hence, Jennifer was akin to a scientist as she tried out law studies. She realized soon enough that law studies did not suit her dreams. She wanted to move toward happiness, satisfaction, and growth.
According to her thoughts, her happiness lay in music and dancing. Therefore, she easily moved on to a new pattern of behavior – that of a dance student.After two years of work in In Living Color, Jennifer also left the television series and began to take some work in music videos. “Work as part of a team of dancers proved to be far from satisfying,” and therefore she moved on to the next stage of life (NNDB). One of the assumptions that personality theorists disagree on is that of uniqueness versus universality. The fact that Jennifer opted out of the team in order to find her own place in the world, rules out the assumption that all people want to be and will be like one another.
Celebrities thrive on uniqueness. Moreover, the Big Five theory of personality proposed by Lewis Goldberg, would describe Jennifer as one who is open to new experiences rather than one who is oriented toward monotony and traditions. The same theory would claim that Jennifer is an extravert, able to entertain the public and to work with many people while enjoying herself (Personality Psychology).
Open to new experiences, Jennifer began taking up secondary roles on many short television dramas after leaving In Living Color. The changes that happened in her life after this also reveal the importance of the personality traits we have identified. She acted in Mi Familia (1995), and then climbed the ladder of Hollywood success with high profile films such as Money Train (1995), Jack (1996), and Blood and Wine (1996). In 1997, Jennifer got the breakthrough that she had been seeking. She became the star of Selena, playing the Tejano singer (NNDB). The young actress was highly admired in the film. Strangely, however, in the year of the release of Selena, Jennifer married a waiter from Miami.
It is unusual for celebrities, representing the rich and famous of America, to marry waiters who are typically known to belong to low socioeconomic groups. But the fact that Jennifer came from a middle-class neighborhood in Bronx explains why she chose to marry a Cuban waiter. He reminded her of childhood, and that is where the satisfaction and happiness lie. Indeed, the psychoanalytical personality theory would affirm that Jennifer remained attached to her childhood, as well as the socioeconomic group that she belonged to in her childhood. All the same, the actress realized as Kelly’s developing scientist that her role as a waiter’s wife did not suit her. Therefore, she porced the Cuban waiter a year later (Jennifer Lopez).
Kelly’s theory suggests that inpiduals play different roles at different times according to their will. They change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, based on new experiences, thoughts, and feelings. So, Jennifer decided that she required a porce. After this change, she had two relationships with dancers. Once again, dance was her passion since childhood, and she associated the happiness of childhood with the dancers with whom she was intimately associated. Jennifer married one of the dancers that she had a relationship with. She also porced the man after a year of marriage (Jennifer Lopez). Kelly would explain that Jennifer had certain thought patterns that led to two of her marriages ending in the course of a single year each time, which is why the ending of marriages in the course of a year each time appears as a repetitive theme in her life.
Jennifer had a relationship with an actor after her second porce. She had been a rather successful actor herself, which proves that she associated acting with happiness, satisfaction, and growth in Maslow’s humanistic theory of self-actualization (Personality Psychology). After Jennifer had finished her relationship with the actor, she married a singer. Singing, too, has been a highly successful profession for Jennifer. As a matter of fact, she was the first singer-actress with a film (The Wedding Planner) and a music album (J. Lo) at Number One during the same week. Undoubtedly, Jennifer loves singing, just as she reaches her “peak” through acting (Jennifer Lopez). Once again, by marrying a singer, the lady showed that she wanted to move toward greater happiness, satisfaction, and growth, which she clearly associated with singing.
Lately, Jennifer has undertaken several business ventures. She has opened her ‘unique’ production company, trusting the fact that uniqueness is important, and universality may not work when it comes to the contribution of unique inpidual talents to show business. Jennifer has also started her own clothing line, plus her signature perfume series (NNDB). According to the cognitive theory of personality, Jennifer is able to start new ventures because she is high in self-efficacy, having the confidence that she would be able to perform successfully; and she has an internal locus of control, which suggests that Jennifer believes in herself as the maker of her world (Personality Psychology). Indeed, Jennifer has a unique personality, and her free will is expected to continue moving her upward on the ladder of worldly success.
- “Jennifer Lopez.” (2007). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Lopez. (6 April 2007).
- Neimeyer, Robert A. (2006). George Kelly. The Internet Encyclopedia of Personal Construct Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.pcp-net.org/encyclopaedia/main.html. (25 February 2007).
- NNDB. (2007). “Jennifer Lopez.” Retrieved from http://www.nndb.com/. (6 April 2007).
- “Personality Psychology.” (2007). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_psychology. (6 April 2007).