Same block, different girl

After her racy Dubai World Cup performance, we meet Jennifer Lopez to get a glimpse inside her surreal world

By Mohamad Kadry (

Published: Tue 1 Apr 2014, 9:46 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:31 PM

Remember that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda Priestly’s arrival at the Runway offices instantly spreads fear and panic for everyone within a 1-mile radius? That’s sort of what it feels like when Jennifer Lopez is around.

“Make sure the light from the window is facing her,” one of her handlers commands as she joins the small army preparing for Lopez’s appearance in front of the media at Mohammed Bin Rashid City the day after her Dubai World Cup performance.

The room where Lopez will grace us with her presence is small; there’s enough space for a plush sofa and white orchids abound. But this is a press conference without the actual interaction between press and guest. An emcee who’s hosting the gathering has permission to ask Miss Lopez a few quick questions, but the rest of us are not to speak directly to her. We may applaud, perhaps even smile and nod, but we are mainly here to listen.

When she finally makes her entrance, Lopez is, of course, friendly and incredibly sexy, but Jenny from the block she’s not. Those infamous diva antics and rider lists precede her wherever she goes, and she seems to revel in her complete and utter inaccessibility to the real world.

Over the weekend she performed an extensive 90-minute set for thousands at Meydan, marking her second performance in Dubai in as many years. Staying in a luxurious hotel room overlooking the track, it’s fair to say that Dubai, more than most places, fits JLo’s personality best.

“The Dubai World Cup is like the Kentucky Derby back home, but on steroids,” she began. “Should I wear a hat? I didn’t know what to do so I decided to just save the flashy stuff for the stage.”

Exactly how much money she was offered to appear in Dubai is anyone’s guess, but bagging a star of her calibre takes some serious cash, possibly enough for her to gush about the city being one of her “favourite, most memorable stops” on her recent world tour in 2012. Maybe she really does love it here, but we’re not actually allowed to address her, so we’ll just take her word for it.

With record sales in excess of $75 million and a cumulative box office gross of over $2 billion, Lopez is currently promoting her eighth studio album, due out sometime this year. She’s already released the tracks Same Girl and I Luh Ya Papi, the former a nod to her Bronx beginnings and the latter, a sultry hip-hop number most likely inspired by her latest relationship with back-up dancer and long-time boyfriend Casper Smart.

Discussing her longevity in the music industry and changing direction on her latest album, Lopez said, “You start out doing one thing, and it’s all you, it’s all who you are...then you start experimenting a little bit and trying different things.”

“This album, musically and emotionally, is a picture of who I am and who I’ve always been.”

As Lopez sits there, charming and polite with that infectious trademark laugh, everyone in the room hangs on her every word - but maybe because that’s all we’re allowed to actually do. We are resigned to the fact that she loves to be in control - and given her history as the object of obsessive tabloid fodder, we can understand why. After a few minutes of speaking to us, she exits from the glare of the media spotlight and hops into a golf cart where Casper is waiting for her. After all, this is Jennifer Lopez’s world, a place where one does not simply walk while donning Louboutins.

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