Jennifer Lopez took a crash course in pole dancing to play Ramona Vega in Hustlers, the character based on the ringleader of a scheme to lure wealthy men to clubs and strip them of their money.
Lopez’s character was inspired by Samantha Barbash, who went by Samantha Foxx. The real woman was arrested, along with her crew, and charged with larceny and conspiracy. They largely avoided jail time, the most serious sentences involving four months in jail on weekends, followed by five years probation.
Lopez told Jimmy Fallon she personally called Cardi B to get some of her tips on stripping.
“She goes, ‘It took me years – years! to master, but now I’m great at it,” Lopez said.
Here’s what you need to know:
J.Lo’s First Appearance On Screen Was Pole Dancing to Fiona Apple’s ‘Criminal’
Lopez first appeared on screen pole dancing to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” It was an apt introduction for the character, who was inspired by Samantha Barbash. Barbash, who went by Samantha Foxx, was charged for scamming men out of their money, drugging them and luring them into strip clubs.
Barbash took a plea deal and was sentenced to five years probation.
“This is the first time you see my character. It’s sexy, it’s dangerous,” Lopez said on a video diary documenting her pole dancing lessons. “[Ramona] has the whole game on lock. From what she does [in the club], to how she treats these people and how she talks to them . . . I’m going for ‘get money.’ These guys come in here, and they want sexy, slutty, dirty fantasy.”
Lopez Learned to Pole Dance & Documented the Lessons on a Video Diary
Lopez’s character, Ramona Vega, trained a woman to pole dance who had similiar qualms as Lopez when she first learned.
“What if I don’t have muscles to do that?” Destiny, played by Constance Wu, asked.
“Every girl has muscles to do this,” she responded as she climbed high on the pole and spun.
Lopez worked for six weeks to learn pole dancing, which left her with bruises on her legs.
“It’s rough on your body,” she said. “I’m just trying to look convincing.”
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone… This was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done physically. But it was all worth it in the end,” she wrote on Instagram.
Photos of J.Lo Show Her Embracing the Stripper’s Character
Lopez donned a glistening outfit on the dance floor, clutching a wad of money with a look of bliss on Hustlers.
“Married to the money,” she wrote on Instagram.
Lopez channeled the inspiration for her character, Samanatha Barbash, in a photo she shared on Instagram.
“I’m a hustler baby… I just want you to know… #Ramona on fire ? On set and in character for #hustlersmovie,” she wrote.
Barbash shared a similar photo, which circulated on Twitter.
Lopez shared another photo in a lacy bra, holding a wad of sparking cash.
“Ramona taking off for the weekend…” she wrote.
J. Lo also shared an image of herself as Ramona, wearing a pair of gold hoops that resemble some of her own.
“Ramona is ready for ya!!!” she wrote.
The hoop earrings said “Ramona” across the center. Lopez has some of her own that say “Jennifer.”
“No matter where I go…” she wrote.