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Jennifer Lopez reveals how being a proud Latina made her ‘feel special’ during start of career

Jennifer Lopez opened up about her heritage and revealed why being a proud Latina made her “feel special”, at the start of her career.

The 53-year-old actor discussed how she’s embraced her culture over the years during theToday Show on Tuesday, where she spoke to NBC News’ Morgan Radford.

During the interview, Lopez detailed how her mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez, and other family members taught her to be “proud of who [she] was.”

“It’s just who I was. I think my mother and my family raised me to be proud of who I was and so, when I went into these worlds, like Hollywood, where we were not represented at all, I almost felt like a unicorn,” Lopez said. “And I was just like, ‘You know what? I’m Latina. I’m Jennifer Lopez from the Bronx and my parents are Puerto Rican, I’m Puerto Rican.”

The Marry Me star then emphasised how “important” her heritage was, as it shaped “everything” about who she was.

Lopez also shared that while she didn’t look like some of the stars around her, there were “other types of beauty” that she was happy to grow up with.

“Even the whole, kind of, body thing was such a thing,” she sadded. “It was like, everybody was like size zero models, tall, blonde, you know, beautiful, a certain type of beauty, but there [were] other types of beauty that I grew up with.”

Regarding her success throughout her career, Lopez went on to note that even though she doesn’t have a “magic formula for” it, her values include working hard and “not giving up”.

“What I’ve learned, is that if you can follow your heart, if you can be true to yourself, and you can work really hard,” she said. “The difference between being successful and not being successful is not giving up. And I just didn’t give up.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Lopez opened up about the work she’s doing to help and support Latina entrepreneurs through her program, Limitless Lab. The foundation is partnering up with non-profit Grameen America, as they plan on investing 14 billion in Latina-owned businesses by 2030.

The Hustlers star says her philanthropic work is dedicated to “changing lives” for small-business owners.

“We want to take the Latino entrepreneur, empower them, give them opportunity where there wasn’t — you know, me growing up the way I did, we weren’t even in the conversation in that way. The opportunity to do something, that’s all anybody wants,” she said. “Nobody wants a handout, but that opportunity can change your life.”

In June, Lopez first opened up about her partnership with Grameen America and her decision to help Latina entrepreneurs during an interview withGood Morning America. When asked why she was doing her partnership, she said that after seeing some of the “injustices” that exist in this country, she was inspired to spread more “love and positivity”.

“When you get a little bit older, you understand the meaning behind things,” she said. “And you’ve seen enough, and you’ve had your own struggle and you’ve seen enough of injustices and then I just feel like this country needs more love and positivity. And people who want to do good things, and not fighting against each other. And just giving each other a hand up.”