Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born on July 24, 1969, in the Bronx borough of New York City. Her parents, Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez, are Puerto Rican. She has an older sister named Leslie and a younger sister named Lynda. Her father worked the night shift at an insurance company. Her mother was a homemaker. The family lived in a small apartment in the Castle Hill neighborhood when Jennifer was born. A few years later, her parents bought a two-story house.
Jennifer started taking singing and dancing lessons when she was five. Her parents encouraged their three daughters to put on performances at home – singing and dancing in front of each other and their friends so that they would stay out of trouble. Lopez attended Catholic schools for her entire academic career. She did gymnastics, ran track on a national level, and was on her high school’s softball team. During her senior year of high school, Lopez auditioned for and was cast in the low budget indie film My Little Girl. This experience made JLo realize she wanted to become a famous movie star. Her parents thought that was a “really stupid” idea because “no Latinos did that.” To please her parents, she enrolled in Baruch College but dropped out after the first semester.
After that one college semester, Lopez moved out of her parents’ house and into an apartment in Manhattan over disagreements about her desire to pursue a career in dance and acting. She soon appeared in regional productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Oklahoma!. She was then hired for the chorus of Golden Musicals of Broadway, which toured Europe for five months. From there she got a job as a dancer, singer, and choreographer on the show Synchronicity in Japan. In 1991, she was a backup dancer for the New Kids on the Block and performed with them at the 18th Annual American Music Awards. Not long after that, she landed her job as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color. She beat out 2,000 applicants and moved to Los Angeles for the job. JLo remained a regular cast member through 1993 when she decided to pursue an acting career.