A Playlist For My Celebrity Crush: Jennifer Lopez

I’ve had many obsessive crushes through the years. I may have been deeply closeted, but did that stop me from putting a picture of Jennifer Garner in my locker in middle school? Absolutely not. On the topic of Famous Jennifers, when I sat down to make a playlist for a celeb crush, I knew I had to create one for none other than Jennifer Lynn Lopez. I can trace my love for all things J.Lo back to second grade when I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be her. That little girl grew into a full-ass adult who ordered herself custom engraved JENNIFER LOPEZ rings on Etsy dot com. If there’s one thing you can guarantee about me, it’s that I WILL thirst over famous women 45-years-old and up.

This playlist is part tribute to J.Lo, part retrospective on my angsty closeted queer adolescence. Enjoy!


“On The Floor”…by Jennifer Lopez

Look, she’s a Leo! The key to her heart is obviously her OWN music.

“Hot & Heavy” by Lucy Dacus

“Couldn’t look away even if I wanted / Try to walk away but I come back to the start” – me, rewatching Hustlers for the 75th time

“Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko

I’m just curious…IS it serious with Ben Affleck? Lmk.

“Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monae

I do realize this is increasingly the most tonally scattered playlist, but I just feel like this is literally the perfect crush mixtape banger. I’d like to dedicate this song to the intense feelings I felt when watching this scene from Shall We Dance. So good, so good, so fucking real indeed.

“Braid (remix)” by Perfume Genius

This song doesn’t really have anything to do with J.Lo, but I was thinking back to the days when I definitely would have never admitted to a crush on Jennifer Lopez but also was simultaneously obsessed with collecting magazine covers she was featured in. This was like peak Bennifer. I was so repressed and so horny all the time. And I developed a new obsession: asking cheerleaders to braid my hair. This song is not technically about braiding hair, but it IS called “Braid” and is a good gay yearning song.

“All The Things She Said” by tATu

While we’re walking down memory lane, whomst amongst us did not fully lose it while watching this moment at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards? This live performance is deeply embedded my psyche in a collage of early 2000s images that also includes the “Jenny From The Block” music video.

“Traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo

This song is NOT directed at Jennifer Lopez, but rather at the writer and director of one of the worst films to ever exist — Gigli. We got J.Lo playing a lesbian, but AT WHAT COST? “You betrayed me / And I know that you’ll never feel sorry” = my thoughts exactly.

“Hopelessly Devoted To You” by Olivia Newton-John

Grease was another cultural cornerstone of my closeted adolescence. Also, it’s a simple fact that I am hopelessly devoted to J.Lo.

“Criminal” by Fiona Apple

Okay, come on, like I couldn’t put this song on the list? After J.Lo stripped to it in Hustlers? Please.

Also, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this, it’s that I should never be allowed to make mixtapes and/or be handed the aux cord.


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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 307 articles for us.

1 Comment

  1. I used to work for a department store chain that carries Jennifer Lopez brand apparel, accessories, and bedding. The office I worked in was where her brand was designed, so she was (very occasionally) in our office for meetings. I never got to interact with her directly, but I can confirm that she is just as gorgeous in person even when not dressed up or wearing a lot of makeup. She is definitely a Leo though. One time she was there either on or very near her birthday so our EVP thought it would be fun to get her a cake from the team. We bought her an expensive cake from some fancy bakery that she had mentioned liking, and after we sang “Happy Birthday” to her she had her people box up the whole cake to take home with her! We didn’t expect her to hang out with us but we thought we’d at least get to have some damn cake! 😂😂😂

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